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Making college football bowl picks on the Insight Bowl could be intimidating, as this matchup between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Missouri Tigers is one with a ton of ins and outs that could trip you up. However, we have all of the news and notes, along with the stats and analysis in this one to point you in the right direction for your Insight Bowl picks!
Insight Bowl Matchup: Missouri Tigers vs. Iowa Hawkeyes
Date: Tuesday, December 28th, 10:00 ET
Location: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ
Insight Bowl Line: Missouri -2.5
Tigers Notes: The Tigers have had a fantastic year, but they might be up against it in the Insight Bowl against a hungry Iowa team with a lot to prove. This was a team that was really built on its defense, something that you don't normally see in the Big XII, especially this year with any sort of success. No one in Columbia probably thought that Mizzou was going to hold teams to 15.2 points per game this year, but this was the difference for a team that probably underachieved on the other side of the ball when push came to shove. Sure, the Tigers averaged 30.3 points per game, but we're talking about a squad that didn't have a 500 yard rusher, a 3,000 yard passer, or a 1,000 yard receiver all season long. RB De'Vion Moore was the leading rusher at 485 yards with eight scores, but the man that carried the ball the most this year was QB Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert had 99 rushes for 239 yards and four scores. He only threw for 2,752 yards and 15 TDs this season, but he was only picked off seven times as well. Gabbert was through to be a shoe in for a 3,000 yard season, but he just never really got going and was never able to get the ball up the field all that much. The top two receivers on the team, WR TJ Moe and WR Michael Egnew only averaged 11.6 and 8.4 yards per reception. Yes, they had a combined 160 catches, but these aren't the types of numbers that the 'Zou figured to put up this year.
Hawkeyes Notes: The big problem for the Hawkeyes in this one is that they have lost the services of RB Adam Robinson and WR Derrell Johnson-Koulianos in this one. Between these two players, Iowa is losing 2,016 yards between rushing and receiving and 21 TDs. The good news is that RB Marcus Coker has had some good games this year and has averaged 5.0 yards per carry. WR Marvin McNutt also had a great year on the outside, catching 51 balls for 798 yards and eight TDs. QB Ricky Stanzi is going to be finishing up a fantastic career at Iowa, and many think that he is going to go down as the best signal caller in the history of this program. In 2.5 years as a starter, Stanzi didn't lose his first game until the third week of this season. He threw for 2,804 yards this year and had 28 TDs against just four picks, and he had one of the best TD/INT ratios in the entire country. Efficiency is the key of this Iowa offense, as keeping the ball is really the road to success. The Hawkeyes had some major ups and downs this year, but when they were on defensively, they were virtually impossible to score on. They held four of their first five foes to seven points or fewer, and they had two more games over the course of the year in which they kept teams to 13 points or fewer. There were some real duds, though, and if this unit puts up one of those blanks in this one, it is going to be a long, uphill climb to be able to take down the Tigers. Still, for a unit that allowed just 312.5 yards per game this year, one of the best 'D's that the Big Ten had to offer isn't one to overlook.
The Final Word: The Insight Bowl betting lines have moved just a bit in Missouri's favor after the notice of the suspensions. Perhaps against a team that didn't quite play as well on the defensive side of the ball, the Hawkeyes would be the pick in this one. However, they just don't have enough options available here on offense to be able to score enough points to win this game. If Gabbert and company can get to 24 in this one, that should be more than enough to beat the Insight Bowl odds.
Insight Bowl Free Pick: Missouri -2.5
Insight Bowl Prediction: Missouri 24 – Iowa 13