(12) Missouri (10-2) vs. Iowa (7-5) (+3)
I miss the Insight Bowl. It’s such a crap bowl game, but I miss it. Indiana’s appearance there against Oklahoma State seems like it was eons ago instead of three years, and the Hoosiers got their asses kicked that night too. That’s how it is when you’re an alum of a school with one of the worst football programs in the FBS.
I only bring this up because neither of these schools have much reason to be happy, and neither do their fans for that matter. When IU went, the game was on New Year’s Eve 2007, so there was a huge party going on in Tempe after the game. Not so much on December 28th.
Missouri had a wildly successful 2010 season, but they ended up in the Insight Bowl because the Big XII was really loaded this year. Even Baylor made a bowl, people.
There has to be a twinge of disappointment for the Tigers. The loss to Nebraska is tough, but at least the Huskers were good. It’s the loss to Texas Tech that’s got to eat at them. If they don’t drop that game, they might not be in Tempe on not New Year’s Eve.
If any of the teams are going to, um, indulge, I would have highly recommended The Library Bar and Grill, but I hear it’s closed since 2007, which sucks.
Anyway, don’t bother watching anything Iowa does on offense. They’ve lost all their running backs to injuries, discipline, or transfers and their big-play receiver to drugs. What’s Ricky Stanzi without all of his help on offense? Just Ricky Stanzi. You think about that.
Blaine Gabbert is the guy to watch, and apparently NFL scouts will be watching as well. The junior quarterback is only behind Andrew Luck in Scout.com’s ratings and he has all the measurables you’d want except maybe a consistent deep ball. He’s like a taller Chase Daniel with a bigger arm, and if Daniel can stick in the league as a backup, I’m thinking Gabbert might have something.
I would be saying something about Missouri’s Achilles Heel defense, but I already mentioned how Iowa might redefine offensive decrepitude, so let’s just avoid redundancies.
Iowa’s defense should be able to hold Missouri’s offense under their averages and keep the game close, but there’s no way Iowa scores enough without special teams and defensive touchdowns. Missouri just has to play it smart, and they’ll be fine.