Us. Are. Behind.
We are back! Week 0 of the college football season is in the books and now the real fun begins with the first week of games of the 2022 season. The Hawkeyes open the year with a home matchup with FCS South Dakota State.
Yes, that is the state of SOUTH Dakota, as in the one south of the state of NORTH Dakota. You know, the last FCS team to defeat the Hawkeyes inside Kinnick Stadium in a fest of frustration 23-21 in 2016 when the Hawkeyes entered the year ranked inside the top 15 nationally.
Heading into the first game on Saturday 2022, the Hawekeyes are No ranked nationally, sitting just outside the top 25 in both AP and Coaches polls. Iowa closed out the 2021 season with a pair of postseason losses. After winning the Big Ten West and earning a trip to Indianapolis, the Hawkeyes were demolished by Michigan in the Big Ten Championship Game and ultimately lost to Kentucky in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl.
South Dakota State is also coming off a successful season that ended with some disappointment. The Jackrabbits finished 2021 11-4 and fourth in Missouri Valley after closing out the season winning two of their last three regular-season matchups. That helped build momentum heading into the FCS playoffs, where SDSU won three straight to earn a showdown with Montana State in the semifinals. The Jackrabbits would fall 31-17 in their season finale as Montana State moved on to the championship game where they lost to national champion North Dakota State.
Going into 2022, the Jackrabbits are again expected to finish in the top 4 in the Valley, entering the year ranked #3 nationally in FCS, and look to kickstart their season in a big way with a road win over a FBS opponent. They were able to do it a season ago when they traveled to Colorado State and defeated the Rams 42-23, a larger margin than the Hawkeyes managed in their 24-14 victory over the same CSU team inside Kinnick a few weeks later.
Here’s an early look at what you need to know about this week’s matchup.
Date: Saturday, September 3
Weather: 11:00 a.m. Central Time
Match: South Dakota State Jackrabbits (0-0, 0-0) at Iowa Hawk Eyes (0-0, 0-0)
Location: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
Preliminary weather forecast: sunny with temperatures in the mid 80s, 5% chance of rain
DraftKings Opening Line: N/A
Fees/lines subject to change. Terms and conditions apply. Watch draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Saturday’s matchup between the Jackrabbits and the Hawkeyes will be the first between the two programs on the grid. While it is the first meeting between the two programs, it is not the first time this SDSU team has faced an opponent from FBS. As noted, they won their only FBS matchup a season ago against Colorado State. The Jackrabbits did not play an FBS opponent in 2020 as the season was postponed to spring 2021.
That makes for an interesting scheduling note, as SDSU played an impactful 25 games in the 2021 calendar year. That includes the 15 regular and postseason games for the fall 2021 schedule, as well as 10 games in the spring that were previously scheduled for fall 2020.
South Dakota State has covered the spread in its last six matchups with FBS opponents. While there is no publicly available lineup on the Iowa-SDSU matchup as of Monday, it should be a good indication that the Jackrabbits will be looking to play a close contest in Kinnick.
That could spell bad news for the Hawkeyes this season. Tip of the hat for ours @BoilerHawk for leg work in an incredible stat: Big Ten teams that win by fewer than 21 points against an FCS opponent have won more than 8 games in a season only once in the last ten years. In the other 17 occurrences, the Big Ten teams won fewer than 8 games. Notably, only three of the 17 Big Ten teams that even scheduled a week one matchup against an FCS opponent have won more than 8 games.
The Hawkeyes will need to turn the tide if they hope to have full-season success in 2022.
Pre-season prep work
As we head into the kickoff, be sure to check out our preseason preview for this week’s matchup. There are plenty of important details and unique insights into this week’s opponent, including this great set of stats:
10 consecutive FCS playoff appearances: The only thing Coach Stieg hasn’t brought to Brookings is a national championship trophy. They have been to the FCS semi-finals (or higher) in 4 of the last 5 tournaments. They are one of two teams that have a current streak of a decade.
2 wins against FBS opponents: they hit a shared opponent at Colorado State last year and Kansas in 2015. Last season’s win against Colorado State was the season opener and it wasn’t pretty, at 42-23.
3 games with 20 points or less: Last season, the Jackrabbits averaged 36.1 points per game (10th in FCS), largely due to their ability to limit poor offensive outings. Iowa had 5, which is even more (9) when defensive/special teams touchdowns are removed.
27 conclusions: The state of South Dakota had a top 4 billing margin at a clean 1.00/game, mainly because of his ability to intercept passes at 21 (he led the country there, as far as I can tell). Part of the elite’s turnover leeway is not delivering it themselves, and they only had 12 on the season.
If you’re on the go, there’s also a detailed look at the matchup from the official Hawkeyes podcast here:
In terms of predictions, both the BHGP staff and Hawkeye fans in general were feeling pretty confident heading into the season.
Staff prediction: iowa Trump, Unanimous
Fan Prediction: Iowa Win, 97% of the vote
BizarroMath Prediction: N/A (FCS opponents are not supported)
Check back throughout the week as all pre-game and post-game stories will be posted on this stream.