Iowa shocks Michigan State in final seconds

Even those that think they’re the most overrated team in college football have to admit how remarkable the Iowa Hawkeyes have been this season.

No. 6 Iowa stayed perfect on the season thanks to an improbable 15-13 win over Michigan State on Saturday. Both teams struggling generating any kind of offense until less than three minutes remaining when Iowa took a 9-6 lead on a 20-yard Daniel Murray field goal.

The Spartans then marched up the field (thanks to a great hook-and-ladder call) and scored on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to Blair White with only 1:37 remaining in the game to put MSU up 13-9. Iowa answered back with a drive of its own, capping it off with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Ricky Stanzi to Marvin McNutt on a 4th and goal as time expired.

Iowa is 8-0 on the season and in all but one of those wins (a 35-3 rout of Iowa State), the Hawkeyes battled some kind of adversity. Whether they’ve been trailing at the start of the game, at halftime or late in the fourth quarter, Iowa has found a way to win and for that, voters must keep them ranked high.

I would be willing to argue with anyone who said Iowa isn’t impressive. Are they dominating opponents? No. Are the playing top-notch teams every week? No. Should they have probably suffered a loss at this point? Yes, if not several. Did Michigan State choke several times on the final drive? Absolutely.

But isn’t the point of the lame, stupid, idiotic BCS system to win games? Isn’t the point to treat every week like it’s a playoff game where victory reigns supreme? It’s not like the Hawkeyes play in the Big East or the Mountain West – they play in the Big Ten, where Ohio State has made a living off playing in BCS games or the national championship with one or no losses.

Iowa could lose next week and be dropped so far down in the polls that they would need a sniper lens just to see the top. But for now, they’re undefeated, are the team to beat in the Big Ten and will continue to be in BCS contention.

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College Football Week 8 Odds & Point Spreads

No. 1 Florida at Mississippi State, 7:30PM ET
Thanks to a few beneficiary calls, the Gators escaped defeat last week at home against Arkansas. While UF’s defense has been outstanding this season (the Gators have the second best defense in the nation), their offense is lacking the same explosion it had in previous seasons. Jeff Demps and Tim Tebow have kept the ground game afloat for Florida, but the Gators have not been able to move the ball easily through the air. Mississippi State doesn’t pose much of an offensive challenge, but the Bulldogs have limited opponents to only 123.08 yards through the air so Florida might not solve its passing woes this week.
Odds: Florida –23.

No. 3 Texas at Missouri, 8:00PM ABC
The Tigers will face their third ranked opponent in as many weeks this Saturday when they host the No. 3 Longhorns. MIZZOU is coming off back-to-back losses against Nebraska and Oklahoma State, but could prove to be a thorn in UT’s side. The Tigers can spread opponents out with their offense and talented senior receiver Danario Alexander often gives defensive backs fits. That said, sophomore quarterback Blaine Gabbert has thrown five interceptions the past two weeks after throwing none in MIZZOU’s first four games. Texas’ defense played outstanding last week against Oklahoma and might overwhelm Gabbert with their pressure. Longhorn quarterback Colt McCoy should have an easier time moving the ball this week than he did last Saturday against the Sooners, although the Tigers’ secondary is only allowing 114.82 passing yards per game this season.
Odds: Texas –13.

No. 6 Iowa at Michigan State, 7:00PM ET
The Hawkeyes might be the least dominating team in the top 10 based on their margin of victories, but they continue to overcome adversity and find ways to win. After beating Wisconsin last week in Madison, Iowa will travel to East Lansing this Saturday to take on a pesky Michigan State team that has won three in a row. The Spartans are averaging almost 30 points a game but they’re going to find it tough to move the ball through the air against the Hawkeyes’ fifth ranked pass defense. Iowa quarterback Richard Stanzi has plenty of critics, but even they can’t deny how efficient he has been this season. He could take advantage of a MSU defense that ranks 90th in pass efficiency.
Odds: Iowa PK.

Oregon State at No. 7 USC, 8:00PM ET
While the Beavers have been a pimple on the Trojans’ ass over the past couple years, they’ve done all of their damage in Corvallis, not Los Angeles. The past two times Oregon State has traveled to So Cal, they were beaten 52-28 and 24-3. The Trojans’ offense has shown a spark the past two games with 30-plus point efforts against California and Notre Dame, respectively. Matt Barkley had his best game of his career last week in South Bend and he could build on that performance against an Oregon State defense that is allowing 373 total yards per game. If the Beavers are to have any success this Saturday, they must get Jacquizz Rodgers some running room.
Odds: USC –20.5.

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