For the first time in over a decade, the Iowa Hawkeyes and USC Trojans will clash with a bowl game trophy on the line. Both teams had solid seasons despite very different ways of getting to bowl eligibility, and will now try to finish strong with a win at the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl.
Heading into the Holiday Bowl, ESPN has released its prediction for the big game. Per ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, Iowa is expected to secure a close win over USC.
The Hawkeyes are tipped to win 33-31.
Clay Helton is coming back and USC tries to springboard toward a critical 2020 season with its first Holiday Bowl win since 2014. The game features strength against strength as USC’s pass offense (fifth nationally) faces Iowa’s pass defense (10th nationally). USC has more overall talent but Iowa boasts more balance and gets just enough offense from Nate Stanley, Tyler Goodson and others. The Hawkeyes win on, what else, a Keith Duncan field goal.
Prediction: Iowa 33, USC 31
The Trojans are currently riding a six-game winning streak against Iowa that dates back to the early 1960s.
But it will be the second chance at beating USC for Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz. His team lost 38-17 in the 2003 Orange Bowl.
Iowa and USC will kick off at 8 p.m. E.T. on Dec. 27.
The game will be on FS1.