Ahh, now here we have a thoughtfully and well-booked bowl game. The Boston College Eagles and Iowa Hawkeyes have reputations for crisp, hard-churning football, and their “street cred” among connoisseurs of college ball is perfect for the venue of Yankee Stadium.
What’s more, the schools have had similar seasons. In a good way. BC broke through and looked like a mean ACC contender with a legit offense, and Iowa shocked pundits by clobbering Big Ten stalwarts like Ohio State. Yet, neither team had the depth or the versatility to win more than 7 times in the end.
Betting odds are very tight, and each school is suffering from injuries along the OL. That’s one reason the O/U is so modest, and begs the question as to whether long drives or big, explosive plays will make the difference in the Bronx.
Who: Boston College Eagles vs Iowa Hawkeyes
When: Wednesday, December 27th, 5:15 PM
Where: Yankee Stadium, The Bronx, NY
Lines: BC (+3) vs Iowa (-3) / O/U Total (45)
A look at each team’s resume almost reveals underachievement relative to their ceiling. Iowa’s QB Nathan Stanley doesn’t throw many interceptions and has been excellent in the clutch. Darius Wade has been an excellent late-season, late-career find for Boston College. He is new to the starting role but hit on 80% of his passes for 200+ yards in the season-capper.
Both schools ended the schedule on a high note. A game Syracuse side fell 42-14 to the Eagles, and Iowa whipped Nebraska 56-14 to embarrass an underclass waiting on Scott Frost’s leadership.
Iowa has felt the pain of its bumps and bruises up front. But a team-wide sub-4 ypc average is deceiving, because the tailbacks are doing just fine. Akrum Wadley leads the way with 1000+ yards and 9 touchdowns. A.J. Dillon of BC has been even more prolific, with almost 1500 yards and double-digit scores.
Boston College might have a slight edge on defense. The squad has shut down dynamic offenses throughout October and November. Iowa has been up and down defensively and was physically controlled by Purdue just 2 games ago.
We’re liking the Eagles as a slight underdog in an evenly-matched game. The geography and even the weather – windy and cold – benefits the team whose best rusher can handle the most carries, and whose QB isn’t pitiful when he attempts to scramble. Wade should protect the ball, zing high-velocity short passes and wade through the freezing wind to prevail.