The Terrapins are catching the Hawkeyes just as they've become one of the hottest of the country's “hot” teams. At 7-0, 3-0 the Hawkeyes have gotten off to their best record since a 9-0 start in 2009. And every Big Ten team has already circled the date on the calendar they get their shot at dethroning the once and future kings.
Whether or not the Terrapins will be that team will be decided inside a hostile Kinnick Stadium where the Hawkeyes are 4-0 on the season and looking to move one step closer to an outright B1G West Division title and a trip to Indianapolis on Dec. 5.
Maryland leads the all-time series 1-0 since joining the B1G, including last season's 38-31 Terrapin victory.
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Maryland at Iowa
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)
TV Channel: ABC/ESPN2
Spread: Iowa –17.0
Three Things to Watch
1. An expectations switch-o-roonie
Kirk Ferentz and Greg Davis have been here before. Not at the same time or for the same teams, but they've been here in their own rights. The remaining coaching staff, and most of the players on this roster, have not. For the most part the Hawkeyes have been the B1G West's most overlooked team in the last several years, and played up to those low expectations. That is no longer the case, however, as Maryland finds itself entering this game as the prohibitive underdog, with nothing but it's pride on the line. How Iowa responds to the reversal of roles will be a test of the accuracy of its sudden rise to a top 10 ranking.
2. “Next Coach In” effect
A coaching change mid-season can sometimes spark something in the players that was otherwise missing. This season you need to look no farther than the changes at Illinois, South Carolina, or USC as examples of that trend. From the results on the field in their most recent game against a very talented group of Nittany Lions, that might be happening with the Terrapins as they adjust to new head coach Mike Locksley. In the Penn State game, the Terrapins dominated nearly every statistical category except one: the final score. And even there, it was the closest Maryland has come this season to putting a respectable product on the field against a quality opponent.
3. Who's healthy for the Hawkeyes
When last we saw the Hawkeyes, they were surviving on the talent of their second and third stringers. So what happens when the walking wounded once again find themselves healthy enough to play, which is exactly what is happening against the Terrapins? The only previously injured player not listed as likely on this week's depth chart is RB Jordan Canzeri, who may not be available for several more weeks. Truth be told, this may very well be the most healthy the team has been since all the way back in Week 2 against Iowa State. If as expected, they simply lace up and get the job done, it's one step closer to the B1G Championship game. If not, it's likely to mean a drop just as sudden as the rise into the title discussion.
Maryland probably played to its maximum potential against a talented Penn State team last weekend, and in the process exhausted the emotional bounce it was provided by the firing of Randy Edsall. Iowa on the other hand has yet to truly discover its potential as a team, given the nature of injuries from week to week. From that standpoint, this week is an opportunity to start an entirely new season for the Hawkeyes after a bye week and with a newly healthy lineup. Based on the results so far, a healthy team will more than likely mean even larger wins down the homestretch, and it starts with Maryland.
Prediction: Iowa 42, Maryland 10
— Written by Robert A. Boleyn, a member of the Athlon Contributor Network and a native Iowan currently based in Southern California. Boleyn attended both the University of Iowa and UCLA, and is a former contributing writer for The Daily Iowan and a die-hard Hawkeye. Follow him on Twitter @BoleynRobert.