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Outback Bowl Gives Iowa A Chance To Make A Statement Outside The Big Ten

Posted by Blake Frazier on 2/4/2014 5:33:27 AM

In the 2013 season, the Iowa Hawkeyes did better than most people expected. However, the Hawkeyes played in a weak Big Ten Conference. This game is not in the Big Ten.

2014 Outback Bowl
Iowa Hawkeyes vs. LSU Tigers (In Tampa, Fla.) – Wednesday, January 1
Sport betting line: LSU -8.5

Why Iowa Will Win

When the best online betting sites tackle this clash, they will point out that LSU will be playing this game without its top quarterback. Zach Mettenberger, who had been enjoying a very solid season, was knocked out of a Nov. 29 game against Arkansas with a torn ACL. He will not be able to make the playing field in this game, dealing a substantial blow to the Tigers’ offense. Mettenberger had learned how to make proper reads and decisions. His thought process on the field improved a great deal this season under the tutelage of new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, who replaced Greg Studrawa in the offseason. The change of coordinators greatly helped Mettenberger, who engaged Georgia’s Aaron Murray in one of the great quarterback duels of the 2013 season, a game won by Georgia in the final minutes. Mettenberger owns an NFL-level rifle arm, and his ability to stretch opposing defenses while fitting a ball into a small window over the reach of a linebacker is very impressive. LSU is going to miss this presence, and this is why Iowa’s defense – the strength of the Hawkeyes on a larger, overall level – is in very good position to shut down LSU and create a 17-14 kind of game that Iowa can genuinely win.

Iowa feels that it is receiving a lack of respect entering this game, since the Big Ten has been criticized a lot by the media this season. This perceived lack of respect is precisely what fuels highly energetic and motivated efforts in bowl games.

Why LSU Will Win

This is a game of strength in the trenches. The teams with more power at the line of scrimmage are generally the ones that win. Iowa might be getting LSU without Zach Mettenberger, but LSU still has the better lines on both offense and defense. LSU can pound the running game between the tackles with running back Jeremy Hill. As long as the Tigers establish some success with the ground game, they can then use play-action passes – safe passes – to move the ball without having to risk downfield throws with a backup quarterback. LSU shouldn’t be too worried about its ability to perform here… a month of preparation will also help the Tigers.

Who Will Win?

The Hawkeyes will put up a good fight, but what emerges as a point of differentiation in this game is that the Tigers have much more speed on defense and at running back. That combination of advantages will separate the two teams and enable LSU to win.

College Football Betting Pick: LSU -8.5

To get the inside slant on college football in the month of January, get a look at the online betting source you trust.

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