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Iowa Hawkeyes Betting - 2011 Iowa Hawkeyes College Football Preview

Posted by Blake Frazier on 6/23/2011 6:21:02 PM
iowa hawkeyes betting

Sometimes the best recovery from disappointment is a fresh start. That's precisely what Kirk Ferentz has on his hands in the coming season's version of the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Iowa was a trendy sports betting pick to win last year's Big Ten Conference, after closing the 2009 slate with an emphatic Orange Bowl win. Yet, after routing Michigan State in the final week of October the Hawkeyes hit the skids. Iowa edged conference cellar dweller Indiana, then dropped the next three and only salvaged the season with an Insight Bowl defeat of Missouri.

Six of the key figures behind the last two Hawkeye teams were selected in April's NFL Draft. The highly regarded rush defense that allowed just 3.24 yards per carry in 2010 must replace three top contributors off the line: Christian Ballard, Adrian Clayborn and Karl Klug. The trio combined for 152 tackles, 25 tackles-for-loss and 12 sacks a season ago. Also out of eligibility are two of the leading tacklers, linebacker Jeremiah Hunter and strong safety Tyler Sash. MLB baseball betting students know that Iowa should have done better than it did last year.

That’s a hefty load to replace, but one thing Ferentz-coached teams have had no lack of is defensive quality. Senior Mike Daniels becomes the leader of the line. The secondary is well-seasoned, returning Shaun Prater and Micah Hyde. The pair is coming off a season of eight combined interceptions.

The Hawkeye offense lost key statistical contributors at each of the skill positions: quarterback Ricky Stanzi, running back Adam Robinson and wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos. Stanzi is a particularly difficult piece to replace, having also been Iowa’s on-field leader since 2008. Stanzi’s successor is James Vandenberg, who spelled Stanzi late in 2009 when the latter suffered an ankle injury and failed to maintain the same level of consistency. An extra year-plus of seasoning should benefit Vandenberg.

Marcus Coker had a surprising emergence as the Hawkeyes’ No. 2 rushing option last season, and should transition seamlessly to the No. 1 role. Coker is working behind a talented offensive line that includes tackle Riley Reiff. The Hawkeyes’ play in the trenches will prove to be paramount in their attempt to be successful.

Representing the Legends Division in the inaugural Big Ten title game will be an uphill battle for a young Hawkeye team, particular with veteran opponents Nebraska and Michigan State waiting. Iowa handed MSU its only regular season defeat last season though, and again welcomes the Spartans to Iowa City.

The MSU game is Iowa’s final at home, a critical springboard into the final stretch at Purdue and then the finale at Nebraska. The Hawkeyes completely bullied the Spartan offense last year, holding it to just seven points.

Preseason All-American Riley Reiff is the quintessential professional tackle. He’s a powerful 6-foot-6, 300 pounds and moves quickly off the line. Reiff ran an impressive 4.94 40-yard dash. He will be among the first linemen selected whether he comes out in 2012 or 2013.

The sour memories of 2010 are gone past, and this fresh start should prove beneficial for Ferentz and Company. The 2011 Hawkeyes are reminiscent of a 2008 bunch that, despite its youth, won nine games. A good sports bet would say that Iowa can expect similar success this season and should finish in the top three of the Legends.

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