Last week, Super Prediction Action Machine was basically off duty because our Hawkeyes were idle, but I ran the math anyway and called Iowa to beat Michigan but lose to Nebraska. Once again I plugged the performance of the Big 10 back into the machine, and here is how SPAM sees the rest of Iowa's season shaking out:
W Michigan (29-25) (last week: W 29-26)
The Wolverines' "win" over Northwestern did little to improve its fate in SPAM's eyes. Michigan continues to struggle against mediocre teams, whereas Iowa thoroughly wiped the floor with Purdue and has done the usual "still hanging around in the 4th quarter" thing that Ferentz teams are famous for. Looks like SPAM thinks Iowa hangs around long enough to hold off Michigan, but I actually see this one differently. I feel like this game might look out of control at halftime, something like a 23-10 affair, only to have Michigan storm back into it in the 4th and Iowa hangs on for dear life. Don't be fooled by the 25, it's basically a 26, SPAM rounds off fractional point predictions.
L @Nebraska (29-26) (last week: L 30-24)
The gap against Nebraska has basically narrowed to the margin for home field. The Huskers are a 3 point favorite but take way Memorial Stadium and this game is a coin flip. Nebraska's offense is still its strength, there is no doubt. The Huskers put up 28 on a great Michigan State defense, but their defense gave up 41 against a pretty blah offense. In the SPAM Calcultron, that doesn't impress. I think SPAM has the points about right, Iowa is going to need to put up 30+ to beat Nebraska on the road.
Overall SPAM still has Iowa going 1-1 to finish the season but the gap is widening with Michigan and narrowing with Nebraska. That means a 7-5 season, but both 6-6 and 8-4 are within reach. If I have the math right, an 8-4 Iowa squad finishes second in the Legends division behind Michigan State, with heads-up wins over Michigan, Nebraska, and Minnesota. Pair that with beating Iowa State on the road and this is a pretty tasty season, ain't it?
I've also started running SPAM predictions with Iowa's probable bowl opponents. Here's how they shake out. I've seen Iowa predicted to play Rice, Kansas State, Georgia, North Texas, Ole Miss, and Notre Dame. Here's the predicted results of those games assuming a neutral field:
Iowa BEATS Georgia, 28-26
Iowa BEATS Notre Dame, 25-23
Iowa BEATS Ole Miss, 26-25
Iowa BEATS Rice 27-24OT.
Iowa LOSES to Kansas State 28-24OT.
Iowa LOSES to North Texas, 24-22.
Folks, those are some TIGHT, TIGHT scores, and is that loss to North Texas not the most Iowa thing ever? Beat Georgia, beat Notre Dame, but go to overtime with KState and Rice? Lose to North Texas in the McCarneyBowl???
Folks, if you were a doubter before, believe it now. SPAM knows our Hawkeyes. What amazes me is that we can look at those scores and see Iowa written all over it, but SPAM pulled that out of raw statistics. Maybe it's not something to do with Ferentzball, but it really is just something in Iowa's matchups that isn't obvious to the eye test.
Anyway, SPAM knows these Hawkeyes. Whatever magic is in this thing, it's Hawkeye magic.
Season in Review
SPAM has called Iowa's overall record flawlessly to date (6-4), but whiffed on a few games. SPAM had us losing to Minnesota (which, in hindsight, maybe we should have!) but beating Northern Illinois. On points, SPAM has predicted total points scored to 91.22% accuracy. SPAM's final prediction for Iowa is 8-5 with a bowl win.
At season's end, I'll post SPAM's best and worst case scenarios for the next year and we can compare, though be forewarned that SPAM can't account for changes in personnel and what not in the off season, it's pure statistics only.