WHO: #12 Oklahoma State Cowboys (11-3 overall, 5-3 Big 12)
WHEN: 8:00 PM CT (Saturday, February 12)
WHERE: Globe Life Field (Arlington, TX)
RADIO: iHeart Radio | AM 800 KXIC
STREAM: Flowrestling ($)
MOBILE: Flowrestling ($)
TWITTER: @Hawks_Wrestling | @IowaWRLive | @IowaAwesome | @IowaOnBTN
Iowa vs Oklahoma State is always one of the biggest dual meets of the year and while that's still generally true, it's fair to say that neither team is quite where they envisioned being before the season began. At 12-1 overall and 6-1 in the Big Ten, Iowa has been strong this year, but they've also ceded Big Ten and NCAA favorite status to Penn State. Oklahoma State has had an even rockier season; they sit at 11-3 overall and 5-3 in the Big 12, having lost to Missouri, UNI, and Iowa State. (Yes, Iowa is trying to complete a hat trick of wins over the 'Pokes by Iowa universities, something that has never before been accomplished, to the best of my knowledge.)
Of course, a key reason for a few of those losses -- and the overall struggles (relatively speaking) both programs have endured -- is down to some very high-profile absences. Both teams are without their defending national champions from last season, Spencer Lee and AJ Ferrari. Lee is out for the season after opting to have surgery to repair his torn ACLs. Ferrari is out of action after being involved in a car accident last month. Unlike Lee, he's not (currently) expected to miss the rest of the season, but he has been out of action for a bit and it doesn't seem likely that he'll be in action for this dual.
That said, this is still Iowa-Oklahoma State, one of the most incredibly even long-term rivalries in any sport, not just wrestling.
The Iowa-Oklahoma State dual series resumed in 1977 after a 14-year break. In the 47 duals since, the Hawkeyes and Cowboys have each won 23 times, along with a tie in 2011. They've wrestled 15 times since Tom Brands took over at Iowa in 2006 and they're 7-7-1.— Andy Hamilton (@Andy_Hamilton) February 11, 2022
Iowa has won five of the last seven duals, though, and won big (34-6) the last time these teams tangled, back in 2020. (Iowa didn't wrestle any non-conference opponents in dual meets last year due to the Big Ten's COVID restrictions.)
This dual is also notable for its venue; Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City and Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater are two of the most storied venues in college wrestling, but the Iowa-Okie State rivalry is taking a brief hiatus from those arenas to instead set up shop in a brand-new environment: a baseball stadium. Bout at the Ballpark, as this year's dual meet is called, is taking place at Globe Life Field in Arlington, TX, the regular home of the Texas Rangers. (The fact that they aren't calling it the Brawlpark still makes me sad.) Iowa and Oklahoma State have some history with unconventional venues -- see: Grapple on the Gridiron -- and this looks to add to it. It should be a very unique setting for a wrestling meet, as you can see:
hey, whats up, helllloooo— Cody Goodwin (@codygoodwin) February 12, 2022
Made it to Globe Life Field in Arlington, home of tonights Bout at the Ballpark. Gonna be a fun night of wrestling here.
Freestyle and Greco matches at 6pm CST, followed by Iowa-Oklahoma State at 8pm CST. Catch it on Flo.
Lets goooooo pic.twitter.com/ra8eD8ZmiS
More visuals available here.
Before we break down how the dual meet might play out, one last piece of housekeeping: how do I watch or listen to Bout at the Ballpark?
Unfortunately, this dual meet isn't on TV. Nor is it being streamed by BTN+ or ESPN+. The only way to watch the dual is through Flowrestling. You'll have to subscribe to Flo's service to do that and, to the best of my knowledge, Flo is currently only offering a $125 annual subscription. I know, I know: not ideal, to say the least. I'm not a fan of this move, either. In better news, you can listen to the dual meet for free via AM 800 KXIC on iHeart Radio.
#12 Drake Ayala (FR, 13-4)
Jesse Ybarra (RS FR, 5-4)
#7 Trevor Mastrogiovanni (SO, 12-1)
Cooper Birdwell (FR, 8-2)
#3 Austin DeSanto (SR, 13-1)
Cullan Schriever (SO, 15-5)
|vs||#2 Daton Fix (JR, 14-0)|
|141||#2 Jaydin Eierman (SR, 13-1)||vs||#21 Carter Young (FR, 8-4)|
|149||#10 Max Murin (SR, 7-2)||vs||#13 Kaden Gfeller (SR, 12-1)|
|157||#12 Kaleb Young (SR, 12-5)||vs||#18 Wyatt Sheets (SR, 10-4)|
|165||#5 Alex Marinelli (SR, 16-1)||vs||#8 Travis Wittlake (JR, 9-3)|
|174||#2 Michael Kemerer (SR, 6-1)||vs||#10 Dustin Plott (SO, 11-2)|
|184||#15 Abe Assad (SO, 10-4)||vs||#11 Dakota Geer (SR, 11-3)|
|197||#4 Jacob Warner (SR, 12-2)||vs||Gavin Stika (JR, 12-6)|
|285||#4 Tony Cassioppi (JR, 11-2)||vs||
#31 Luke Surber (SO, 8-6)
Austin Harris (SR, 10-3)
Iowa should be a strong favorite at 141, 174, and 285, and at 197 as well if Ferrari is indeed out of action for Okie State. At least some of those weights could yield bonus points to Iowa as well. Iowa is probably a slight-to-moderate favorite at 149, 157, and 165, but those all figure to be pretty close matches and could be decided by a single move. The same is also true at 184, although Okie State projects as the slight favorite there. That's a big match for Assad, though; if he does want to earn All-America status this year, he's going to need to beat opponents like Geer to do so. The uncertainty at 125 and 133 does throw a monkeywrench into predictions, though. Depending on who exactly competes for both teams, the score could be anywhere from 6-0 or 7-0 Okie State to 7-0 or 8-0 Iowa. Maybe we should just split the difference and give each side a decision win in those weights.
My score prediction? Something like 22-9 in favor of Iowa. I'm going with the split at 125/133, Iowa decision wins at 141, 165, 174, and 197, plus a bonus point win for Big Tony at 285. I also think 149 and 157 get split, with Iowa edging things at 149 and Okie State getting another narrow win at 157. And for now I'll go with Geer a 184 as well.
I'll be posting updates below and on Twitter and Discord; feel free to follow along and join the fun.