Last week, Super Prediction Action Machine predicted a 28-24 loss for the Hawkeyes. I wrote of SPAM: "The gap [between IA and WI] has narrowed a little. Our unimpressive second half against Northwestern drags us down, but our stout defensive performance is stealing points. Regardless, SPAM says Iowa stumbles at home against the Badgers, 28-24."
The Hawkeyes lost 28-9, in a score that was more lopsided than the game. 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 @Purdue (31-18) (last week: W 31-19)
The hapless Boilermakers did nothing (literally) against an OSU team with which Iowa was tied, on the road, going into the 4th quarter. The gap has widened here by a point.
[Updated 11/7/2013: Iowa is giving up 14.5 in this game and the O/U is 45. SPAM says Purdue beats the spread but has 49 points scored. If you are a slavish devotee of SPAM, you take Purdue to cover and play the over.]
W Michigan (29-28) (last week: L 32-31)
This game has flipped once again. Michigan was a 2-touchdown favorite at seasons open in SPAM, but flipped to a 1-point Iowa win after the Minnesota win, a 4-point Iowa loss after the MSU game, and the gap has been creeping towards a push week over week. Michigan State's resounding drubbing of the Wolverines pushes this game over the edge and SPAM now likes Iowa to squeak out a victory. I am concerned that SPAM has us putting up 29 points ... something we haven't done yet against a Big 10 opponent. Iowa's performance against Wisconsin actually dragged us down relative to the Wolverines of last week, but the Wolverines' performance against MSU drug them down even further. This is still a coin flip as far as I'm concerned, but it's winnable.
L @Nebraska (31-25) (last week: L 31-26)
Nebraska's win against jNWU helped them out a bit, and the gap here has widened by a point. I'm honestly not sure what SPAM sees in the Huskers, it has favored them over us all year long, perhaps because the game is in Lincoln. If I run the same model with the game played at Kinnick, Iowa wins. Nebraska has no quality win over any decent teams, whereas Michigan beat Notre Dame, who beat Michigan State, who beat Michigan. Nevertheless, SPAM likes us to beat the Wolverines and to lay down for the Huskers.
The Hawks sit at 5-4 and SPAM has now two wins for us, putting Iowa at a very respectable 7-5 finish, which is just a hair below the historical average for this program under Fry and Ferentz.
Editorial: If this comes to pass, one way or another, I'm prepared to declare the season a success. I think most of us had low expectations coming in but the team has shown improvement week over week and the coaches have shown creativity that we just haven't seen over the last few years.
Wisconsin did feel a bit like a regression. Iowa once again was strong out of the game, failed to sustain drives, fizzled on offense, which then exhausted a defense which had otherwise given a very impressive and stalwart effort. Iowa was killed by mistakes from all quarters - senior receivers inexplicably dropping pitch-and-catch balls (KMM and CJF) and two young QBs making mistakes that young QBs make. Yet, once again we saw something new and different showing premise -- CJB made some plays. People complained that he went deep too much, but by the time CJB was in the game, the deep ball was the play, and he did complete one. And we saw Canzieri befuddle a defense which had become accustomed to Weisman's lethargic pace. Regardless, Iowa once again shot itself in the foot repeatedly against a very underrated Wisconsin team. Once again, Iowa played three competitive quarters of football against a superior opponent and had opportunities to win, and just ran out of gas.
It's a frustrating trend, but one at least sees signs of life. Nobody thought we'd be a 10 win team this year but we seem to have the raw material in place, a coaching staff that is beginning to gel, to be excited about next year.