FedEx Orange Bowl: Iowa Hawkeyes VS Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Pick: The Hawkeyes had one hell of a run, and were quite possibly one starting quarterback injury away from a perfect season, which is something the Oklahoma Sooners might also say, but the Hawkeyes made it to 9 wins before running into that unfortunate event. For a team that wasn’t even thought of in the Pre-Season Top 25, the Hawkeyes beat up on a few of the best teams in the Big 10, winning by double digits in both Penn State and Wisconsin. They lost just two games, but it ended up being 2 of their last 3. They lost by 7 at home against Northwestern, a game in which Stanzi (their QB) got hurt. They lost their next game by 3, in overtime, @ Ohio State. And defensively, the Hawkeyes are easily one of the Top 10 units in the nation. They fly to the ball and keep everything in front of them. Very underrated.
But I don’t think you can completely stop the Yellow Jackets, as Georgia Tech has put up plenty of points against good defenses, and put up plenty of rushing yards against solid defensive fronts. If I believed the Hawkeyes could score with the Yellow Jackets, I think they’d be an easy pick here, but with Richard Stanzi playing a football game for the first time in two months, I just can’t see him being accurate enough to march the Jackets down the field.
He wasn’t a super-accurate passer to start with, as his 56% completion percentage and his 15-14 touchdown to interception ratio insists, but after two months off, most of that time getting healthy, it’s tough for me to see him torturing the Yellow Jackets’ secondary enough to keep this game close. Tech doesn’t play great defense, so anything is possible, but the Yellow Jackets are my pick to win and cover.
Iowa Hawkeyes VS Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-5)