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Hoegher's 2013 Previews: IOWA HAWKEYES

Normally, I have a hard time getting my hate up for Iowa. My dad's family lives there, which means the best oatmeal cookies known to man originate from there (thanks Grandma!). Black Heart Gold Pants is an excellent blog that has far more intuition as to what makes something "funny" and "entertaining" than I could hope to aspire to. And Iowa has no professional sports teams, which means I don't really have to listen to Iowan's make un-original jokes about my sports allegiances and their relative lack of ultimate success (this is a major drawback with living in Madison).

However, that changes now because on my way back from Iowa this past weekend (love you Grandma!) a cop pulled me over and gave me the first speeding ticket I've ever earned. As someone who regularly drives 90 MPH, I suppose this was an inevitability. IRREGARDLESS: screw you Iowa. Screw you hard.

THE PAST

NOTE: all historical data is taken from James Howell's excellent resource and/or Sports-Reference (college football edition)

Iowa Overall Ratings

Iowa Adj Off/Def

Iowa Win Pct/Luck

Winning percentage and "Luck" are plotted on a win-pct basis (mind-blowing, I know). Adj Off/Def/Eff/Marg and Resume rankings are plotted on a percentile-ranking basis. Thus, a team rating out in the 99th percentile would be awesome, a team rating out in the 1st percentile would be not-so-awesome.

THINGS I AM NOW AWARE OF: Iowa has a national championship, y'all (1958 FWAA Poll)! In fact, I'm going to posit that the coach of that Iowa team (Forest Evashevski) is the premier coach in Iowa's history. Hayden Fry gets more love for this historical Hawkeyes, based on the rumblings around BHGP from what I've seen, but that's probably just because his name is easier to spell (that, or his kick-ass pants). While I give Fry much credit for resurrecting an Iowa program that had fallen to disappointing depths (Evashevski the athletic director was somewhat worse than Evashevski the coach), his enduring legacy of 3 Big Ten titles (followed by 3 Rose Bowl losses, and I'm fully aware of that pain) falls a bit short of the standard that Evashevski set in Iowa City (1 NC, 3 Big Ten titles, 2-0 in the Rose Bowl). Shame he retired so early.

NOTE: Also, apparently he was a dick. So there's that, I guess.

And while we're here, I know his star has fallen a bit in recent years, but Kirk Ferentz has a decent legacy to himself. His 5-year run from 2001-2005 would be envied by nearly every school in the country (Alabama excepted), and it's worth noting that Kirk Ferentz has four seasons of 10+ wins (2002, 2003, 2004, 2009) compared to three such seasons for Mr. Fry (Evashevski didn't play enough games in a season to qualify, if you were wondering).

And Ferentz has been here before. Though he netted more wins in 2007, that team was pretty similar to the one that took the field last fall: a decent-to-good defense trying to help out a horrific offense. The solution last time was to rid themselves of Jake Christensen (FOR THE AMERICANZI), the solution this time would seem to be removing Greg Davis from the offensive equation, but that seems to be a un-possibility at the moment. At the very least, 2012 didn't see a 6-5 Iowa lose AT HOME to Western Michigan, thus leaving them home at bowl selection time). Small miracles!

THE FUTURE

CFBStats.com and FBSchedules.com are used for reference here. I highly recommend both sites.

Projected Rating: 0.181 (51st)

Conf Proj Rec Conf Rec Adj Off rk Adj Def rk Adj Eff rk Adj Marg rk
B10 6-6 3-5 0.898 83 0.735 21 0.550 49 0.163 52

Schd SOS rk Conf SOS rk n-con SOS rk
rat/rk 0.126 32 0.307 27 -0.236 67

Week 1 (H) Week 2 (H) Week 3 (V) Week 4 (H) Week 5 (V) Week 6 (H) Week 7 Week 8 (V)
44 - NorIll 44% 124 - FCS 99% 60 - IowaSt 61% 92 - WeMich 81% 78 - Minny 74% 30 - Sparty 37% 0 - BYE 0% 14 - OhioSt 19%
Week 9 (H) Week 10 (H) Week 11 (V) Week 12 Week 13 (H) Week 14 (V) Week 15 Week 16
37 - justNW 41% 22 - Wiscy 26% 70 - ????? 69% 0 - BYE 0% 27 - FuMich 33% 18 - CORN 23% 0 - BYE 0% 0 - BYE 0%

The number next to each opponent represents the projected ranking for that team. The percentages represent projected likelihood of winning a particular game, helpfully color-coded for your benefit (no regard for home/away, though that status is noted). The team names have been adjusted to better fit your screen, I hope they are obvious enough. You are free to ignore everything and tell me why I'm wrong, you're probably right.

Iowa 2013 Profile

This is an attempt to quickly illustrate a team's outlook for the coming season. These aren't unique (my personal experience was a Pokemon Yellow Guide from my youth): maxing out the pentagon is better. Winning percentage should be obvious, but other than that: the numbers here represent percentile rankings. 99th percentile is good, 1st percentile is less so.

Now, a problem with using SOS to try and profile a team is that a team can't play themselves (except in spring games, obvs). Ohio State's SOS is necessarily going to be lower by not playing the Buckeyes, Iowa's SOS gets a bit of a boost by not playing the Hawkeyes. Of course, there are eleven other games on the schedule, and not-playing-Iowa can't explain everything about their SOS rating here. Their non-conference slate isn't that intimidating, though Northern Illinois definitely offers a higher class of MAC-tion than the usual standard. Being that Iowa managed to lose to Central Michigan last year, though...

The core of the relatively brutal schedule comes from the conference games. Specifically, the cross-divisional games with Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Purdue. Okay, forget Purdue (who?), but Wisconsin and Ohio State offer about the toughest selection you could get out of the Big Ten East, depending on your opinions about Penn State (and I can't hear you over the sound of all these Rose Bowls*).

* and requisite losses attached to said Rose Bowls

Is 6-6 doable? Yes, but it'll require grabbing an upset somewhere (probably Michigan State or Northern Illinois), as well as protecting Floyd on the road against Minnesota. Of course, this is all moot if Greg Davis isn't fired the offense doesn't bring itself out of the crapper.

OFFENSE: About that. It's a bit more difficult to talk intelligently with words when only one person on the roster threw a pass last year. That person was James Vandenberg, and he's currently trying to make the practice squad of my favorite professional team. So large grains of salt, here.

Going off of what BHGP has to say about the spring game (it was an actual game this year, apparently!), the leaders for the QB in 2013 are Jake Rudock (SO, 3-star) and Cody Sokol (SO, 3-star). They were... okay in the spring game (and obviously have no college stats), so feel excited Iowa fans! BHGP has Rudock with an early edge (based on longer time in the program) and I have to agree, because Sokol has long greasy hair if this is any indication. But yeah, if Iowa insiders can only offer their guesses, then I'm going to be next to useless here. It looks like Iowa only recruited one QB in their 2013 class (Nic Shimonek, 3-star), which hardly gives me pause to assume anything is going to change from the spring game. Go Rudock!

Iowa running backs are always at danger of getting struck down by a vengeful god, but all those injuries at least mean (temporarily) that Iowa will tend to have some experience coming back. Jordan Canzeri apparently impressed in the spring game, and from what I've heard it seem like he could be a good one to fulfill a scat-back kind of role. Unfortunately, he was out all of 2012 with an ACL tear (DAMN YOU AIRBHG), and his 2011 stats (5 car, 6.0 yds/car vs LA-Monroe; 6 car, 6.5 yds/car vs Indiana; 22 car, 2.6 yds/car vs Oklahoma), don't tell a lot. Unless you want to read into that Indiana game, because only 6.5 yds/car? Unacceptable, sir. Mark Weisman needs no introduction, though let's hope he returns to his mid-season "WEISMAN FOR HEISMAN" form, rather than his late season/injury form. The only recruit I see worth mentioning is LeShun Daniels (3-star), who I think fulfills the role that Weisman does right now. With so many running backs returning for the Hawkeyes, I'd think that we rarely see Mr. Daniels if at all.

Receiving targets is where it gets interesting! Iowa doesn't lose a lot (just Keenan Davis, if I'm reading correctly), but they bring in a a host of new recruits (deep breath: Jon Wisnieski (TE, 4-star), Andre Harris (ATH, 3-star), Daamond Powell (WR, 3-star), Derrick Mitchell Jr. (ATH, 3-star), Derrick Willies (WR, 3-star). Ok done). So while C.J. Fiedorowicz (9.6 yds/rec, 433 yds), Keyvonte Martin-Manley (11.0 yds/rec, 571 yds), and Cameron Wilson* (SO, 3-star) are probably going to be slotted in the Iowa receiving corps, much of the productions (or lack thereof) is going to come from people you haven't seen yet. COMPLETELY UN-KNOWLEDGEABLE GUESS: Daamond Powel is going to go crazy (adjusted for an Iowa receiver).

* based on spring game performance, which can be mis-leading.

DEFENSE: Iowa's defense has taken a step back from recent years (2007-2010 was damn good), but even the last two years have not been seasons that anyone would label poor. Micah Hyde will be a pretty big hit, and Joe Gaglione takes some defensive production from him as well, but I can't see much besides those two that Iowa should miss much. I'm very much not a defensive mastermind, so I regret if I'm in error, there. Carl Davis (JR, 3-star) seems to have a good spring game, though his 2012 production was really nothing to bring any words about.

BHGP is worried about their defensive ends, and I have to admit that I lack the expertise to comment much on that, though I can certainly recognize it in my own teams, given enough time. I'm not going to be terribly worried, given Iowa's history and their relative lack of losses within the defense. I would be worried about the secondary a bit more (Greg Castillo and Micah Hyde are gone), and while I recognize the risk in looking too hard at interception stats, Iowa was much better at run defense than pass defense in 2012, and losses in the secondary aren't going to improve that. Granted, when your division contains immortals like Taylor Martinez, this is less of a concern.

HOEGHER'S BIASED PREDICTION

5-7. Sorry, Hawkeye fans, but I think y'all fall just short. I can't realistically give you better than 3-1 in the non-conference, considering that Jordan Lynch returns to a solid Northern Illinois squad, and Iowa State (in addition to being better than you) always gives you fits. Your most winnable games against the conference occur on the road (Minnesota and Purdue). While that means that you get the tougher opponents at home, that's not that helpful if you're trying to just get to bowl eligibility.

The critical stretch would be the Week 9 though Week 11 stretch, where Iowa plays Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Purdue. Go 2-1 through that stretch, and I think Iowa goes to the Heart of Dallas Bowl (just a random guess).

QUICK REFERENCE:

Adj Off - analogous to scoring offense, adjusted for opponent strength.

Adj Def - analogous to scoring defense, adjusted for opponent strength.

Adj Eff - analogous to scoring ratio, adjusted for opponent strength.

Adj Marg - analogous to scoring margin, adjusted for opponent strength.

Luck - difference between actual winning percentage and expected winning percentage.

Resume - analogous to win/loss record, adjusted for opponent strength.

For for information see here: HOEGHER'S PRIMER.

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