Iowa vs


at Orlando
Mon, Jan 1
10:00 AM Pacific
Rotation: 275
Odds: Tennessee -6, Total: 35.5

Game Analysis

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Lean – Iowa (+6)  18   Tennessee  19

Iowa’s offense was more dreadful than normal this season and finally got OC Brian Ferentz fired for his years of ineptitude. I expect Iowa to be a dangerous team next season with a competent offensive coordinator to go along with their perennially strong defense, but for now it’s Ferentz still in charge of an offense that managed just 16.6 points per game and only 4.1 yards per play this season (against teams that would allow 5.6 yppl to an average offense). The offense is a bit worse with Deacon Hill at quarterback (-1.6 yppl) and they could be without star C Logan Jones, who’s been dealing with an ankle injury. Jones played against Michigan in the Big 10 Championship Game but is not listed on the depth chart for this game. Confusing matters is that Jones participated in interviews this week and there was no mention of him not playing (I’ll assume he’s 50% to play).

Tennessee’s defense was outstanding the first 7 games of the season, as the Vols yielded just 4.6 yards per play to teams that would combine to average 5.9 yppl against an average defense. However, an injury to star CB Kamal Hadden turned that unit into one that was barely better than average over their last 5 games of the season. Hadden led the team in interceptions (3) and total passes defended with 11 (next best is 7 PD) despite playing in just 7 games and the Vols allowed 70% completions and 7.8 yards per pass play in 5 games without star cornerback (to QBs that would combine to average only 6.6 yppp against an average defense). Making matters worse is that 3 other full or part-time starters in the secondary, along with a couple of backups, have entered the transfer portal and won’t play in this game. Neither will DE Tyler Baron, who was second on the team in sacks (6) and third in total tackles for loss (10.5). Tennessee’s defense was 0.8 yppl better than average for the season and I rate that unit at 0.2 yppl worse than average for this game. Iowa isn’t going to take full advantage of the depleted secondary and I project the Hawkeyes with just 280 yards at 4.3 yppl in this game.

Tennessee’s offense was not nearly as good this season without receiving talent they had in 2022, but the Vols still managed to rate at 1.2 yards per play better than average offensively, which ranked 19th best in the nation. That attack won’t be as good in this game, however, as starting quarterback Joe Milton and top two running backs Jaylen Wright and Jabari Small have all opted out (and starting OL Spraggins is injured). Nico Iamaleava will get the start at quarterback but losing Wright is just as detrimental to the offense, as his 7.4 yards per run won’t be replaced, although new lead back Dylan Simpson did average 5.5 ypr on his 86 runs this season and he is their best receiver among the backs. I rate the Volunteers’ offense at just 0.5 yppl better than average for this game.

Iowa’s defense was 2nd best in the nation in compensated yards per play, allowing just 13.2 points per game and 4.0 yppl (against teams that would combine to average 5.7 yppl against an average defense). That unit held every team they played to 4.5 yppl or less, including yielding just 3.5 yppl to Michigan. CB Cooper Dejean has been out since week 12 and will miss this game, but the Hawkeyes were even better in the 3 games that he missed – although I won’t assume they’ll be better than their season rating in this game. I project 349 yards at 4.5 yppl for Tennessee in this game.

The math favors Tennessee by just 1.7 points with a total of 38.1 points with the value appearing to come from the market not fully factoring in how important Hadden was to the Vols’ defense. Iowa also applies to a 78-28 ATS bowl situation that plays on the significantly better defensive team as an underdog. I’ll lean with the defensively superior underdog, which is historically a good play in bowl games.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Iowa
  • Tennessee


  • Run Plays 31.5 31.5
  • Run Yards 134.8 116.9
  • YPRP 4.3 3.7


  • Pass Comp 12.5 19.5
  • Pass Att 24.9 34.7
  • Comp % 50.1% 56.1%
  • Pass Yards 122.3 172.2
  • Sacks 2.2 2.1
  • Sack Yards 16.0 12.5
  • Sack % 8.0% 5.7%
  • Pass Plays 27.0 36.8
  • Net Pass Yards 106.3 159.7
  • YPPP 3.9 4.3


  • Total Plays 58.5 68.2
  • Total Yards 241.1 276.6
  • YPPL 4.1 4.1


  • Int 0.7 0.8
  • Int % 2.8% 2.2%
  • Fumbles 0.8 0.4
  • Turnovers 1.5 1.2
  • Points 16.6 13.2
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