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College football win totals: 2012 Iowa Hawkeyes

College football win totals: 2012 Iowa Hawkeyes

Last week we took a look at how Kirk Ferentz and Iowa, despite solid recruiting and player development, aren’t winning enough games on the field. I thought a perfect follow up to that story would be for me to project Iowa’s college football win totals for the 2012 season.

5Dimes has yet to post a number for Iowa’s college football win totals for this upcoming season, so this exercise will give us a perfect opportunity to estimate their season win totals and then debate the number.

College Football Win Totals: Iowa 2012

In previous articles we have estimated college football win totals for Oregon and Alabama. Using a similar method let’s take a look at Iowa’s college football win totals for 2012.

The first thing I like to do when evaluating college football win totals is take a look at who did that team lose, who’s coming back, who’s replacing the lost starters, what positions got hit hardest, etc.

In Iowa’s case, for the 3rd season in a row, they had 6 players taken in the NFL draft and 5 more players signed free agent contracts. Add in the loss of starting RB Marcus Coker and I calculate that the Hawkeyes lost 6 starters on both sides of the ball.

Not as much talent on the 2012 team

According to a few of the early 2013 NFL draft projections, the Hawkeyes do not appear to have any NFL first round talent on hand this season. Per CFN and CBS Sports, Iowa’s best prospects for this year appear to be:

James Vandenberg

QB – James Vanderberg

OC – James Ferentz

LB – James Morris

WR – Keenan Davis

CB – Micah Hyde

However, none of these players are projected any higher than the third round. The real concern for Iowa, and the main reason they do not appear to have as much talent and depth on hand in 2012, is the Hawkeyes are having an attrition problem.

“Unfortunately, the problem hasn’t gotten any better since then (the Iowa State loss); if anything it’s gotten worse.”

Schedule and Projected Win Probabilities

Iowa End Zone

Iowa End Zone

The next important factor when estimating college football win totals is to take a close look at the schedule. Not only do you need to look at each opponent, but you need to analyze the makeup of each game on the schedule.

Which games are at home or on the road? Are there any possible let-down spots? Are they playing an opponent coming off a bye?

In Iowa’s case the schedule sets up quite nicely for the Hawkeyes. The non-conference schedule is embarrassingly easy . They play two MAC schools (NIU at a neutral site and CMU at home), depleted rival Iowa State at Kinnick and an FCS opponent (NIU).

The Big 10 schedule is also very manageable with only trips to East Lansing (Michigan State) and Ann Arbor (Michigan) appearing as likely losses.

The first thing I do is calculate the probability of Iowa winning each game. I have placed this number, in bold, to the right of each opponent.

Below is Iowa’s 2012 football schedule.

09/01                   vs NIU (Chicago)  (85%)

09/08                   vs Iowa State  (65%)

09/15                   vs Northern Iowa (95%)

09/22                   vs Central Michigan (90%)

09/29                   vs Minnesota  (70%)

10/13                   @ Michigan State (35%)

10/20                   vs Penn State  (50%)

10/27                   @ Northwestern  (50%)

11/03                   @ Indiana (70%)

11/10                   vs Purdue (60%)

11/17                   @ Michigan (35%)

11/23                   vs Nebraska (50%)

Iowa Hawkeyes Football

Iowa Hawkeyes

The total number I come up for Iowa is 755, or 7.55 wins based on the win probability numbers.  As you can see, only two games appear to be likely losses on Iowa’s schedule — a road game at Michigan State and a road game at Michigan. There are six likely wins and four toss ups.

Iowa Over 7.5 Wins

Based on these numbers I have Iowa winning between 7 and 8 games.  I’m not too confident in Iowa’s returning talent and experience, however, I do like that 3 of the 4 games I project as a toss-up  are at home (Penn State, Purdue & Nebraska).

I have to believe that Iowa’s season win totals will be released at over/under 7.5, at which point, depending on the odds I will make my decision as the whether or not I want to wager on the Hawkeyes going over 7.5 wins. If however, Iowa’s college football win totals are set at 7 (or less), I will definitely be taking a shot on the Hawkeyes.

What do you think Iowa fans? Any reasons why the Hawkeyes will overachieve this season and win more than 7 or 8 games? Or will Iowa and Ferentz continue to underachieve? Let me know what you think – Pez.


7 Responses to “College football win totals: 2012 Iowa Hawkeyes”

  1. Willand says:

    I believe they will surprise people this year. New coordinators and coaches have given to a new revival for Kirk Ferentz. I think offensively they will be much better than last year, and I believe the defensive line will be a big surprise!

    • Pezgordo Pezgordo says:

      Thanks for the comment Willand. The Hawkeyes definitely have the schedule to surprise. They should be able to go 8-4 minimum, and with a few breaks, 9-3 isn’t out of the question. However, I am still a little skeptical as to how much better, if at all, the offense will be.

      Why do you feel the DL will be a big surprise? They lost 3 pretty good starters and are projected to start 2 redshirt-freshmen this year.

      Still tough to see them beating either Michigan school on the road, so those 4 “toss up” games should be the difference between a really good season (10-2, 9-3) or an average season (7-5, 8-4).

  2. Crapgame says:

    Nice capping
    I like your % on possible wins?

    • Pezgordo Pezgordo says:

      Thanks Crapgame. We’ll see how good the capping is at the end of the season. 5Dimes still hasn’t released a season win total on Iowa yet, so at this point I really don’t even know if I will make the wager.

      To get an approximate win/loss % the first thing I did was set an arbitrary point spread to each game. Then I converted that point spread to an approximate money line and then convert that money line into an implied probability.

      From that % number you can add (or subtract) any potential mitigating factors that you believe could be important to come up with a number you feel comfortable with.

      Using Michigan State as an example, I figured Iowa will be an underdog anywhere from 7-10 points (Iowa was a 9 point dog @ Nebraska last season, which was their largest Big 10 underdog spread). A 7 point dog is usually anywhere from +225 to +275 on the money line, which is an implied probability of 27% to 31%.

      Instead of using 31% (or 27%), I rounded up to 35% because despite both teams losing quite a bit, Sparty did lose QB Cousins and Iowa (hopefully) will have a senior QB available in this game.

      Both teams are also very familiar with each other and in a game that at least at this point shapes up to be a defensive battle, I thought a slightly higher win% in Iowa’s favor was warranted.

      Thanks for leaving your comment.


  3. Pezgordo Pezgordo says:

    Iowa season win totals are now out at 5Dimes.

    Over 7.5 (+120)
    Under 7.5 (-140)

    I like the over odds and will be on the Hawkeyes to get to 8 regular season wins this year.

  4. Richard B. says:

    There are more question marks at Iowa this year than I can ever remember. New O Line and D Line coordinators and shuffled around and new assistent coaches. We lost lots of good players on both sides of the ball,but have some good talent coming back and some good new talent coming in. Vandenburg is one of the best Quarterbacks in the Big Ten and perhaps the country. Keenen Davis is very good wide receiver if he can stay healthy. Lots of other good players like The James Gang (Morris and Ferentz). Then, also the players will have to stay out of trouble with the law. And remember games are won and lost up front on the line! It could be anywhere from a 3 or 4 win season to a Big Ten Championship (I really mean that). It all goes on how the coaches and players adapt and how hard the players are willing to work and put their heart and souls into the game. GO HAWKEYES!!!!!!

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