Preseason predictions: Iowa

July, 22, 2009
7/22/09
10:30
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Three predictions for Iowa in 2009. 

1. The Hawkeyes split their Big Ten road schedule -- Most teams would gladly take a 2-2 split after having to travel to Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin, and two wins probably will be the ceiling for Iowa. Things could change if the Hawkeyes upset Penn State in Happy Valley on Sept. 26, but they get no easy trips in league play. The rough road schedule keeps Iowa out of the Big Ten title race, but the Hawkeyes will remain in position for another New Year's Day bowl. 

2. Quarterback Ricky Stanzi earns All-Big Ten honors -- The run game figures to take a hit without Shonn Greene, especially if Jewel Hampton isn't 100 percent healthy, and Stanzi will be called upon to step up. Those around the league really like what they saw from the junior in 2008, and in many ways it was the perfect introduction to the spotlight. Stanzi endured growing pains last year but showed impressive resiliency after making some mistakes. He should be a more polished quarterback this fall.

3. Takeaways continue to surge, but run defense takes a step back -- Defensive coordinator Norm Parker couldn't pinpoint why Iowa had so many takeaways in 2008, but the trend will continue. Cornerback Amari Spievey and defensive end Adrian Clayborn should create more havoc this fall, and Iowa returns Big Ten interceptions leaders Pat Angerer and Tyler Sash. The Hawkeyes won't be as stout against the run after losing standout tackles Mitch King and Matt Kroul.   

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