Iowa Hawkeyes (7-5 SU, 5-6-1 ATS) vs. Boston College Eagles (7-5 SU, 8-3-1 ATS)
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Date/Time: Wednesday, December 27th, 5:15 PM
Where: New Yankee Stadium
By Mike M., NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: IOWA -3 / BC +3
Over/Under Total: 46
Yankee Stadium plays host to the Pinstripe Bowl when the Iowa Hawkeyes and Boston College Eagles square off in the Bronx on December 27th. This will be the first all-time meeting between the teams and both will be looking to end a recent run of postseason letdowns, with Iowa having lost their last five bowl games by an average of 19 points per and BC posting a 1-5 record over their past six trips.
The Eagles season started with a disappointing 1-3 record and after the first month found themselves coming off three consecutive losses by at least 24 points in each. It was around that time when they made the switch to freshman running back AJ Dillon as the focal point of their backfield, and from then on their season did a 180 degree turn and they eventually ended their year with wins in five of their last six games while also going 7-0-1 against the number over their last eight, which included straight up victories against both Louisville and Florida State despite having been 20+ point underdog in each. The uptick in use of Dillon had a clear determining factor on the success of his team, with BC posting a 6-1 record when Dillon had over 18 or more carries in a game and after rushing for 1,432 yards and thirteen touchdowns on the season, it is no wonder that he earned 1st Team All-ACC recognition along with being the named the conference’s Freshman Offensive Player of the Year award.
The rest of the Boston College offense hasn’t been as lucky, with the team as a whole ranked 115th in the nation in passing, 82nd in scoring and 85th in yards per game. They were forced to make the change back to last years’ starter at quarterback Darius Wade after Anthony Brown was ruled out for the season due to an injury suffered in their loss to NC State, though it’s not like either one would have necessarily have lit up the scoreboard with not a single receiver or tight end on the team having surpassed three touchdowns or 400 yards receiving through their first twelve games.
Unfortunately for Eagles fans their defense has dealt with an even more serious case of maladies, with back Kamrin Moore and linebacker Connor Strachan lost for the season due to injury and most notably feature 1st round pick Harold Landry slowed all season due to with ankle issue. They have especially felt the loss of Landry over the past four weeks as they have allowed feature backs to find ample success against them with a combined 313 yards and two scores and an average of over 6.5 yards per carry, which is certainly not a good sign considering they have a date against Iowa’s Akrum Wadley on tap just days away.
Much like AJ Dillon for Boston College, how well Akrum Wadley does has had a clear correlation to the success of his team this season, with Iowa going 5-0 in games that Woodley had over 100 yards rushing or averaged over 4.2 yards per carry. The Hawkeye senior earned 3rd Team All-Big Ten recognition for a season in which he had over 1,300 total yards along with 12 touchdowns scored, and appears to have at least one noticeable advantage over Dillon going into their Pinstripe Bowl and that is the opposing defense that each will be facing, as Iowa’s rush defense ranks 38th in the country and Boston College’s just 102nd. This is especially key considering Iowa and Wadley went just 1-5 when facing a top 30 rush defense this season with their one victory coming in their monumental upset of Ohio State to start off November.
Iowa also benefits from a better offensive supporting cast, especially at quarterback where they are led by sophomore Nathan Stanley who threw for 2,333 yards this season while throwing for an efficient 25 touchdowns compared to only 6 interceptions. Wadley is obvious headliner on that side of the ball, but Stanley also has other decent options at his disposal including wide receivers Nick Easley and Matt Vanderbeg along with 3rd Team All-Big Ten tight end Noah Fant who had 10 receiving touchdowns this season despite only having caught 28 passes.
The Hawkeyes roster superiority extends to the other side of the ball as well, with their defense rated in the top 50 of every major category (yards allowed, rushing, passing, scoring), while also featuring two of the best players in the country with linebacker Josey Jewell and defensive back Josh Jackson both being named to the AP 1st Team All American team. Jewell has 125 tackles on the season after recording 124 last season and currently is ranked third nationally in the tackles per game with an average of 11.4, while Jackson finds himself tied for the NCAA lead in interceptions with seven and is considered to be one of the best available players at his position in next year’s NFL Draft..
With the game being played in New York you would think this would give Boston College a location edge, but unfortunately for the Eagles players this is unlikely to be true as their fans have a well-earned reputation as being some of the worst in the country. During the regular season the only reliable fans they have are the students, as most in the state don’t really care about the team unless they actually went there, and those who do end up going to their games are more the ‘arrive in the second quarter, leave in the third’ crowd that can make the stadium shots on national TV an absolute embarrassment with the amount of empty seats that you would never expect to see at any other supposedly legit Power 5 conference team. This lack of fandom extends into the bowl games as well, with BC fans consistently labeled as those that ‘don’t travel well’, which is why many bowls aren/t necessarily chomping at the bit to invite the Eagles due to their fans inability to venture outside of the state to see them play. With Iowa the more well balanced team on the field and their fans light years better in the stands, I am confidently taking the Hawkeyes to get the win and cover against Boston College in the Pinstripe Bowl.
Mike M’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Iowa -3 - Where are you betting this game? Wanna bet it for FREE? Simply deposit $100 to $1000 at MyBookie! and use promo code PRDCT14 and they will match your deposit with FREE PLAY loot!