It’s the most wonderful time of the year as the bowl season is upon us. Not quite the season many fans were hoping for, but the Iowa Hawkeyes have landed in Jacksonville, Florida; preparing for SEC foe Tennessee. The Hawks are looking to secure their 8th win of the season, while Tennessee wants to put the exclamation point on an overachieving season.
You have to wonder if the Hawks will be able to keep their attention on their opponent and not themselves. Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz made it clear that all positions were open, including the quarterback spot. Returning starter Jake Rudock underwhelmed much of the season, creating a divide amongst players and fans as whether backup C.J. Beathard should be given more of an opportunity to win the job. Beathard has announced he is contemplating transferring if he doesn’t get a shot. January 2nd, we’ll find out exactly how serious Ferentz is about keeping Beathard onboard?
Offensive lineman Brandon Scherff picked up the Outland trophy and will try to up his 1st round draft status against a Vols defense that deserves a lot of credit for getting them to 7-5. Senior Mark Weisman will tote the rock for the Hawks once last time. Don’t worry about his speed, worry about his power. If Scherff and the o-line can get a push, Weisman will do the rest. Senior Kevonte Martin-Manley is approaching the record for all-time reception leader, hopefully some of which will be over four yards.
The Volunteers have a different mindset this bowl season and their fans are excited to be there. It’s been a rough stretch for Tennessee, but they look to be making a comeback. They’re young, but their hungry. In fact, Tennessee played an FBS-high 23 true freshman this season. The experience might not be there, but the talent is. Star freshman Jalen Hurd will look to expose the Hawkeyes corners; a glaring hole for the Iowa defense all season long. Sophomore Joshua Dobb is 3-1 since taking over at quarterback halfway through the season. Dobb’s is a mobile quarterback who has strong leadership on the field, a quality that every offense needs.
It’s often said that a bowl win can jump start your next season, and this is one that both teams desperately need. It’s not a feature match up, but you won’t know it from the effort from both of these squads. Turnovers will be the key to separating the two, and Iowa has been here before, they know how to prepare; know how to get it done. That advantage may come into play late in the game. It will be a competitive game, and Iowa will bring more excitement than you or Tennessee expect.
Make sure to arrive early to get a good seat for this matchup! Gametime is at 12:20PM sharp.
This week’s gamewatch will be at the Santa Monica location only. 40% off of food and drink during the game will still be honored.
Santa Monica: 1351 3rd St. Promenade, Santa Monica, CA
(Gamewatch host Justin Drake, Isaiah Scales, and Jake Krengel)
We look forward to seeing everyone. GO HAWKS!!!
LA Iowa Board of Directors