Iowa vs South Carolina
New Years Day 11 AM ESPN
Line: Iowa -3.5
Iowa and South Carolina take the stage first on New Years Day in a Big 10 vs SEC clash. South Carolina finished the regular season on two bad losses and is looking to rebound with an eighth win for the season.
While the Gamecocks were slumping, the Iowa Hawkeyes were surging with a win over previously undefeated Penn State followed up by victories over Purdue and 55-0 blanking of Minnesota.
Keys to the Game
1. Pressure on the South Carolina QBs
The biggest reason Steve Spurrier has not had more success in Columbia is due to inconsistency at the QB position. The Gamecocks have gone back and forth with Chris Smelley and Stephen Garcia this year with neither one being able to win the job permanently (Garcia is starting the bowl game).
Both of these QBs have struggled with accuracy (combined 55 percent on the season) and neither are very mobile. If Iowa can get pressure in the backfield, I think they can force some turnovers in the passing game.
2. Slow Down Shonn Greene
Iowa will trot out Doak Walker Award winner Shonn Greene and let him tote the ball about 25-30 times in this game. The Hawkeyes average nearly 190 ypg on the ground led by Greene. South Carolina is giving up 129 ypg good for 36th in the nation but has been grossly out gained in their last two games in the rushing category.
The Gamecocks also need to get some semblance of ground game going themselves, but don’t count on it from the 109th rushing offense in the country.
I don’t think motivation will be a problem for either team. South Carolina has to be ecstatic about playing on New Years Day with a 7-5 record. Iowa was really improving at the end of the year and can use the bowl win to kick off the off season.
Iowa Covers -3.5
Bowls: 3-3 ATS, 3-3 SU
Confidence Ranking (of34): 19
19 confidence points on an Iowa win
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