Iowa 2023 Season Preview and Win Total Prediction

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The Iowa Hawkeyes run out onto the field before playing the the Kentucky Wildcats. Carly Mackler/Getty Images/AFP

NCAAF Pick: Over 8 Wins -165 at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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The Iowa Hawkeyes won eight games last year despite having one of the worst offenses in the nation. Can the offense improve enough to earn at least nine wins this season?

Key Facts

  • Iowa was 6th in the nation in pass defense last season.
  • The Hawkeyes were also 11th against the run on defense.
  • The Hawkeyes addressed offensive issues from last year and added Cade McNamara at quarterback.

Will Iowa Be More Consistent in 2023?

The Iowa Hawkeyes finished 8-5 overall and 5-4 in the Big Ten. It doesn’t sound so bad. But after how well the defense played last year, it was disheartening for Iowa fans.

Iowa was challenged offensively last year. They didn’t have a quarterback that can make or extend plays. The Hawkeyes scored a lot of their points from their defense. Not the offense.

The defense held teams to 13 points or fewer in ten of 13 games. That’s remarkable.

But the offense must figure it out, too. If Iowa wants to compete for a Big Ten Championship again, they must score more on offense.

Let’s break down the Iowa Hawkeyes for the 2023 season.

The Offense

Welcome, Cade McNamara!

The Iowa Hawkeyes might have a competent quarterback this season. They brought in Cade McNamara from Michigan, who transferred out once J.J. McCarthy won the starting job over him last year.

McNamara is a veteran of college football. He’s also played in many significant Big Ten matchups throughout his career. That should all help him get accustomed to playing with the Hawkeyes. He’s a solid fit for the Hawkeyes moving forward.

He’ll have some huge targets to pass the ball to, including Erick All and Luke Lachey, who caught four of the seven touchdown passes last season.

Iowa’s offensive line is typically excellent, especially in the run game. However, it hasn’t been as remarkable over the last couple of years. Some believed that the offensive line struggled because nobody feared the passing game.

But that will be different with McNamara at quarterback. Therefore, it’s likely that the Hawkeyes’ offensive line performs better throughout the season.

The Defense

Just Replicate Last Year

All Iowa needs to do is replicate what it did last year. It sounds simple. Maybe not.

The team lost some major contributors, including Jack Campbell, Seth Benson, Riley Moss, and Lukas Van Ness. But this is still a defense that finished No. 2 in the nation in total and scoring defense. This program develops defensive talent like no other.

They’ll still have Cooper DeJean back at cornerback. He added 75 tackles, five interceptions, and three scores off those five interceptions. Deontae Craig led the team with 7.5 sacks. He’ll be back for another season.

The defense will also clog everything up in the middle with Noah Shannon and Logan Lee. They’ve also added Nick Johnson from Virginia.

The defense will just find other players that can make a significant impact.

Can Iowa At Least Win Big Ten West?

The top sportsbooks are giving Iowa eight wins this season, with the Over juiced to -165. The Hawkeyes will take on Utah State in their first game. That should be a win, as they’re over three-touchdown favorites.

They’ll play Iowa State next on the road. This is always a close, low-scoring game. However, I’ll admit that Iowa’s roster looks better than Iowa State’s. Give me Iowa in this matchup.

They’d be 2-0 with a matchup against Western Michigan on week 3. I like them to win that game at home as well.

However, at 3-0, the Hawkeyes will finally lose. They’ve got Penn State on the road. The Nittany Lions look like a National Championship contender this season.

At 3-1, the Hawkeyes will face Michigan State at home on Week 5. You can mark that one up as a win. They’ll also face Purdue at home (Week 6). You can give them a win there, too.

Iowa would be 5-1 halfway through the season. However, it gets more challenging. They’ll likely lose to Wisconsin (Week 7) on the road, but I still like Iowa to get through Minnesota (Week 8) at home. The Hawkeyes would be bowl-eligible after that Minnesota win, at 6-2 on the season.

After that, they’ll get Northwestern and Rutgers in Week 10 and Week 11, respectively. They’ll more than likely win both of those two games. With the eight-win total, Iowa would just need to win over Illinois (Week 12) or Nebraska (Week 13) in the final two weeks to earn at least nine wins this season.

Iowa would be home against Illinois and on the road against Nebraska. But one win is still likely. Let’s take the Over here for our top NCAAF picks.

NCAAF Pick: Over 8 Wins -165 at BetOnline

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.