6:30 P.M. Lincoln, Nebraska, televised by BIG 10 Network & radio broadcasted by Hawkeye Radio Network, the #3 Hawkeyes of Iowa will take on the #6 Cornhuskers of Nebraska. While 184 heavily favors the red & white, all of the other nine matches should be well contested bouts. Let's take a look.
*All Rankings via Theopenmat*
|#5 Drake Ayala Vs #7 Caleb Smith
A great match here between two talented light weights. Drake Ayala recently upped his stock by winning the Soldier Salute with two important victories that propelled him up in the rankings. Caleb Smith with a strong 3rd place performance at CKLV. At the time the odds favor the Hawkeye for two reasons. First, Ayala already owns a 5-2 victory over Smith. Secondly, their common link this season is Jore Volk of Wyoming, whom Ayala recently beat & Smith recently lost two. Nevertheless in the grand scheme of things, we've often found that these factors mean very little. 125 lbs is the God of parity & as if it hasn't been insane enough this season. Wouldn't dare count out Smith, especially in front of a home crowd.
|#8 Brody Teske Vs U.R. Jacob Van Dee
Brody Teske recently defeated the young Husker in a tight 5-4 decision competing in front of a large audience of his fans, cheering for him at the Soldier Salute. Now he has to go into Lincoln, with fans cheering against him, to try and knock off the Husker once again. An issue not addressed often in wrestling, people screaming for you has to be a different feeling than people screaming against you. What a treat it'd be for the Scarlet & Cream faithful for JVD to pull this one off.
|#1 Real Woods Vs #8 Brock Hardy
I've been saying this a lot lately, Real Woods is real good. He's currently ranked #1 in the nation & he's been doing nothing but providing evidence that he stands a very, very good chance at winning the Hawks an individual NCAA DI title in March. He's already defeated Brock Hardy on three occasions. 2-1, 6-4 & most recently an 11-1 major decision at last year's NCAA championships. This dual favors the Hawkeyes, but it doesn't necessarily count out the Huskers. They'd have to win all of the tossups & they'd have to get bonus where they're heavily favored at 184. A tall order, but not an impossible one. This is what makes duals so exciting. Why gaining bonus or avoiding bonus can be utterly crucial. Of course Coach Manning, Hardy & the Husker fans want to pull off the upset over the #1 ranked wrestler. However, what may very well prove itself to be crucial is simply keeping this match to a decision & now allowing for Iowa to get bonus points.
|U.R. Caleb Rathjen Vs #1 Ridge Lovett
Now the odds are completely flipped from what they were at 141 lbs. Now Iowa is the underdog & Nebraska is the king a top the throne. Another factor that makes the dual exhilarating. Caleb Rathjen recently proved himself to be the man for Iowa's starting lineup at the Soldier Salute. Now he gets to test the waters against the rest of the NCAA DI competition at 149 and lucky him, he gets to start off with #1 Ridge Lovett. He'd really be proving himself "the man" if he were to come into Lincoln and knock off the NCAA DI champion hopeful on his home mats in front of his home crowd. Realistically though, this one favors the Huskers & this time it'll be the Hawkeyes who want to avoid bonus.
|#2 Jared Franek Vs #4 Peyton Robb
Here is our marquee match ladies & gentlemen. #2 Jared Franek Vs #4 Peyton Robb in what will be the third meeting between the two NCAA DI title contenders. Franek owns a 3-1 s.v. over Robb & Robb owns a 7-4 decision over Franek. This is the rubber match & it could very well have as much to do with the dual outcome as it will these two & their pride. For Robb, it'd be a way to shake off the recent upset he faced against Northern Iowa's Ryder Downey. For Franek it'd be another top quality victory. He's on a maximum of two smiles per month, so he has to be weary of when and where he cracks a grin. However a win over Robb would give good reason to fill half his quota.
|#7 Mikey Caliendo Vs U.R. Antrell Taylor
This match most certainly favors the Hawkeyes but I don't think we're going to see bonus here. Despite being unranked, Antrell Taylor is a tough wrestler with an 11-2 record, with impressive wins over both Garrett Thompson of Ohio & Tanner Cook of South Dakota State. He did give up bonus once this year, but a quick 7 point move puts a lot of points on the board in a short amount of time. I don't think he'll allow that to happen here, especially in such an important dual, in front of a home crowd. With that said, bonus is exactly what Caliendo will be looking for.
|#16 Patrick Kennedy Vs U.R. Bubba Wilson
Patrick Kennedy scored a 12-4 major decision over Bubba Wilson the last the two met. While bonus may be crucial for a Hawkeye victory, I don't know if we'll see them again here in Lincoln. Bubba Wilson wrestles with his heart on his sleeve & I can't see him giving up bonus in front of he scarlet & cream faithful. I'm not always right in my predictions, but I say this time Wilson gives Kennedy a much better match.
|#16 Zach Glazier vs #13 Silas Allred
If you read my often, you know that I believe in Zach Glazier & what he's capable of. You also know that I've been upset with a sect of Hawkeye fans for being so negative and pessimistic about him. He's a tough kid. He's got the talent & gawd knows he has the upper body strength. He may not be the most cut up of those at 197. He more or less has the Jacob Volkman thing going on where his build doesn't quite reveal his gorilla like strength. Nevertheless the dude is powerful. To be fair though to the critics, the best they'll do is meet you half way. If you want the "we won't settle for nothing less" sect of the black & gold faithful to get behind Glazier, he's gonna have to do his part too & pull of some big wins. Silas Allred, would be a great start. If Glazier can come into Lincoln & pull off a win over last year's BIG 10 champion, he might get a little praise from those who have been so eager to critique him. A win over Allred, might even get those all worried about the A.J. Ferrari situation to forget about the kid named after a car for a while. In other words, it'd be great for Glazier's career to get a win here.
With that said, Allred doesn't plan on losing wearing a mostly red singlet on a mostly red wrestling mat in front of a crowd dressed in a lot of red. He wants to illustrate why he won the BIG 10 title last season & why he should be taken as a threat to win another title this year.
|U.R. Brad Hill Vs U.R. Nash Hutmacher
Here's the absolute best part about duals. Unranked wrestlers going toe to toe in a match that could decide the dual. Little is better in terms of excitement and atmosphere than to watch to guys in a bloody battle, giving it all they have for their team. Iowa really took a blow this year losing out on Anthony Cassioppi's final season as a Hawkeye. Many have been quite depressed about that & poor Brad Hill has been caught in the middle of it. Thrown into the varsity spot when if we're honest, he wasn't expecting to be. What a treat it'd be for his confidence and demeanor if he were to pull off a big win here in Lincoln. On the other side of the coin, Nash Hutmacher is out to prove that even though it's rare, one can still excel on both the gridiron & the mat at the NCAA Division I level.
It's a shame in a way that Ben Kueter is redshirting, cause wouldn't that be the ' '? To see two football players duking it out on the wrestling mat? Hell maybe that will happen. Sure would be exciting. Heck, might even be worth the price of admission alone!
Gonna be a great dual between two great teams! If close, this is one to go to! If not close this is one to watch on T.V. or listen to via broadcast!