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Hawkeyes vs. Gamecocks Preview/Pick: Outback Bowl

Outback Bowl Iowa Hawkeyes vs. South Carolina Gamecocks

It’s interesting that both of these teams, which have recognizable names in college football, went 6-6 last season, yet did not go to a bowl game. With additional post-season contests this season, that hardly seems like something that is possible.  

BetUS NCAA Football Betting Odds: IOWA -4, Total 43  

Here are some of the NCAA college football betting trends as they relate to this matchup:

* IOWA has covered five of its last seven games
* IOWA has won five of its last six games SU
* IOWA has played four of its last six games OVER the total
* SC has won six of its last nine games SU
* SC has played five of its last seven games OVER the total

Iowa is generally known as one of those programs that never challenges seriously for a national title, and very rarely for a conference title, but gets to a lot of middle-of-the-road bowl games like the Capital One or the Alamo Bowl or the Outback Bowl. Well, here they are again. But this Iowa team probably has something a little different about it than other recent editions. This team has lost four times, and that was by a total of 12 points. Then they built some very serious momentum coming down the stretch, scoring a 22-point win over Wisconsin, an upset win over Penn State (dealing the Nittany Lions their only loss) and blasted Minnesota by a 55-0 score. All told, the Hawkeyes won five of their last six games.

They have the best player on the field in this one, without question. Running back Shonn Greene gained 1729 yards and scored 17 touchdowns, winning the Doak Walker Award and a spot on the first-team Associated Press All-America squad. He is the only player in all of Division I to top the 100-yard mark in every game this season. He helps this team get balance in its offense, averaging 185 yards on the ground and 182 through the air. No one would argue that Richard Stanzi is one of the nation’s finest quarterbacks, but the Iowa signal-caller, who completed 58% of his passes, did bring some stability to the position, with 13 TD passes against just seven interceptions.

All of Iowa’s offensive weapons will be tested by the South Carolina defense, which has allowed just 3.6 yards per rushing attempt and ranks 12th overall in the nation. Iowa was pretty stiff on the defensive side too, permitting only seven TD runs and eight TD passes. So the question becomes who has enough offense to penetrate the other’s stop unit enough. For us, that answer is Iowa, hands down.

South Carolina, even with coach Steve Spurrier, struggles for every yard. There is very little to brag about in the quarterback situation, and the starter for this game is going to be Tampa native Stephen Garcia, who threw six TD’s and five interceptions and generally has not yet lived up to the hype he got as a recruit, as might be expected from someone who has had as many off-the-field problems as he has. The Gamecocks are only 109th in the country running the football, so you can imagine that it is often a frustrating experience for Spurrier getting his team to move the ball.

As usual, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz is the subject of a rumored departure to the NFL, so there’s no real distraction there. Fundamentally he has a better team here. South Carolina can bring it on defense, but the quarterbacks have given it away 24 times. Greene is the irresistible force that is going to have a slight advantage over the hard-to-move object that is the Gamecock defense. So we lay the points with the Hawkeyes, the four-point favorite in the BetUS NCAA college football sports betting odds.

Our PLAY: IOWA -4 ***


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Ben Burns is throwing a MAJOR HAYMAKER with this one. H-U-R-R-Y!

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