Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Iowa Hawkeyes
Date and Time: Saturday, November 4, 2017, 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
Opening College Football Odds: Ohio State -17
Ohio State vs. Iowa TV Coverage: ESPN
Ohio State should heed the warning shot that the Hawkeyes gave to Penn State earlier this season. The Nittany Lions walked out of Iowa City as 21-19 victors, but that game easily could have gone the other direction.
The Hawkeyes might be 5-3 at this point, but their 44-41 win at Iowa State is looking better and better with each passing week. This is a team that is legit, having lost at home to Penn State and on the road to Michigan State and Northwestern. The three losses came by a combined 16 points.
Kirk Ferentz once again has a team that is struggling offensively but is far more efficient than 25.0 points per game would suggest. The raw defensive yardage stats aren't great, but the Hawkeyes sport the No. 12 scoring defense is America and have yet to allow a Big Ten foe to score more than 21 points against them.
In theory, Ohio State should be able to change all of that on Saturday. The Buckeyes have put at least 38 points on the board against every team not named Oklahoma this year, and the way they came back against Penn State should be commended.
J.T. Barrett completed his last 13 passes and went 33-for-39 for 328 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 95 yards. Do that against the No. 2 team in the country on national television, and you're going to turn a heck of a lot of heads. Barrett isn't quite the Heisman Trophy favorite yet, but his name is most certainly in the ring.
Matchup to Watch
Iowa finds ways to ugly games up and win in the end with just a play or two more than the opposition.
The one game in which it was really roughed up this year was that Penn State game. Saquon Barkley had 211 yards on 28 carries, an average of 7.5 yards per tote. It's not like there was just one huge run that bolstered that either; Nine of Barkley's 28 carries covered at least 10 yards.
Ohio State isn't going to win this game by running the snot out of the ball with Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins, though it certainly could if it wants to. The key is going to be holding the fort on the other side of the ball and making it so the Hawkeyes flat out can't keep possession.
That's what Penn State did when Iowa ran just 45 plays against the Nittany Lions. If the Buckeyes can keep the Hawkeyes in that 50-60 play range, there should be no doubt about the outcome of this one.
Ohio State vs. Iowa Free Picks
The easy thing to do in this game is sign in to your favorite online sportsbook and lay the points with the Buckeyes. They're the trendiest team in the nation at the moment, and no one doubts the fact that they have one of the more talented rosters in America.
Though plenty of sharps will look at the way that Penn State game ended in Iowa City and suggest that the Hawkeyes could do that again, we think there's a huge gap in talent between these two teams that isn't being demonstrated by this 17-point spread. The Buckeyes are at least two touchdowns better than most of the rest of the Big Ten, and we think that's going to be the minimum margin of victory in this one.
College Football ATS Pick: Ohio State -17 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Ohio State 38, Iowa 20