Stephen Cohn: Iowa 31, Illinois 19
I think I’ll be scarred forever after the last matchup between these two teams at Memorial Stadium, but I am confident this team won’t be shut out again. Illinois probably has enough in the tank to stick around with Iowa, but like so many games in the Lovie Smith Era, until I see it with my eyes, it’s hard for me to think it will happen. And that goes for Lovie ending his skid against Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes. Look for a big game from Brandon Peters in potentially his final game in Champaign, though.
Tristen Kissack: Iowa 31, Illinois 21
After stumbling out of the gates, the Hawkeyes have won their last four matchups and vaulted back inside the top 20. Last time Iowa came to Champaign, it blanked the Illini 63-0 on Senior Day. I’m sure Lovie Smith hasn’t forgotten about it. But, I don’t think this team has what it takes to top the Hawkeyes. Quarterback Spencer Petras is far from special, but they have a well-balanced ground attack that Illinois won’t be able to stop.
Quentin Wetzel: Iowa 34, Illinois 21
Last week, I said that I have no idea how good Illinois football is. And after the OSU game got cancelled, we didn’t get to learn anything new about the team, so I’m still just as confused as I was before. The Illini thoroughly destroyed Nebraska, but just two weeks earlier they were humiliated on their own field. I can’t make any sense of it.
And I honestly can’t figure out how good Iowa is either. The Hawkeyes barely squeaked past Nebraska last week, and earlier in the year they lost to Purdue. But they also have three 20-point wins on their résumé. I can’t make any sense of it.
To recap, I know nothing, and I have absolutely no clue how this game will go. But Vegas has Iowa favored by 13, so let’s go with that.
Michael Berns: Illinois 38, Iowa 30
Illinois has not beaten Iowa since 2008. 2020 is the year the Illini erase the 6-game losing streak to the Hawkeyes. Sure, Iowa’s better than Nebraska (Iowa beat the Cornhuskers 26-20 last week), but the offense we saw the last time the Illini suited up — the one that put up 490 yards, zero turnovers and dominated time of possession against the Cornhuskers?! Where did that come from? Sustained drives. Running the hell out of the football. Measured playcalling. That offense in Lincoln looked unstoppable, and with an off week to prepare, I think the Illini get it done.
Jeff Horwitz: Iowa 34, Illinois 24
Big Ten football is a hot mess this year, with multiple teams playing despite widespread COVID-19 outbreaks on their rosters. So, anything could happen in this game. Starting QB Spencer Petras is nothing special, but Iowa has a very solid offensive line and two backs who are capable of breaking through the front seven. What gives the edge to Iowa is their defensive line. Daviyon Nixon is an absolute stud who could be a star in the NFL if he puts on a few pounds. Losing Alex Palczewski for the season was disastrous for the Illini, and I expect Nixon and fellow tackle Jack Heflin to take advantage of his absence. Anyway, let’s get some points!