BOVADA SET IOWA'S WIN TOTAL FOR THE 2015 COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON AT 7.5. Of course, for entertainment purposes only. If you're a buyer on the high side, you likely believe Iowa will improve in several areas of offense or defense. And the opposite if you believe in the under. Here, at BHGP, we took a deeper look at the numbers and made a few of our own over/unders using past year's statistics. What say you?
POINTS. Iowa returned over 90% of the offense in 2014 and scored an average of 28.2 points per game (367 points in 13 games). It was the highest in the Greg Davis era and highest since 2010 (28.9). Gone is top rusher Mark Weisman, reception leader Kevonte Martin-Manley and quarterback Jake Rudock. Also gone, two offensive tackles drafted away by the NFL.
Iowa returns the leading receiver in yards Tevaun Smith. Jake Duzey and Matt Vandeberg also return. Same is the schedule, save the flip-flop of road and home games. Iowa averaged a sad 19.3 points per game and 26.3 ppg in 2013. The over/under for 2015 is set at: 27 points per game
PASSING YARDS. Jake Rudock spent two seasons as the starting quarterback and his numbers for both seasons were similar (204/346 2,383 yards in 2013, 213/345 2,436 yards in 2014). Iowa's last 3,000 yard passer, James Vandenberg accomplished that feat in the last year of Ken O'Keefe as offensive coordinator. Ricky Stanzi broke 3,000 the season prior with 345 pass attempts, also under O'Keefe. Vandenberg regressed to just 2249 yards under Davis his first year as coordinator. There's been much discussion of the difference of a Davis vs. O'Keefe offense and perhaps the biggest evidence shows up in the quarterback stats.
The over/under on passing yards for C.J. Beathard in 2015 is: 2450
BEATHARD RUSHING. The biggest difference between Beathard and his former teammate Rudock, isn't speed, but perhaps play making ability. Davis didn't design an offense around Rudock's running ability. In fact, in one half season of zone read option play calls, Rudock never decided to keep it. Beathard, on the the other hand, kept it and was able to make plays when given the chance. Rudock rushed for 218 yards in 2013 and another 176 last year. Beathard scrambled for only 49 in 2013, most against a very terrible Western Michigan team. He also added 156 in limited playing time in 2014. His most, 82 yards against Tennessee, was the most a Hawkeye quarterback ran in a game since the 1970s. Albeit a good chunk of that came late in junk time. There's also the loss of two tackles to consider since college football counts sacks against rushing yards.
The over/under for Beathard's rushing total in 2015 is: 245 yards.
1,000 YARD RUSHER. The last Iowa rusher to eclipse 1,000 yards in a season was Marcus Coker in 2011. Coker hit 1,384 yards while carrying the ball 280 times. Coincidentally, Jordan Canzeri was second on the team with 31 carries. Most of which came in the Insight.com Bowl against Oklahoma. Canzeri has been second on the team in carries all three seasons of eligibility. The other two behind converted fullback Mark Weisman. Canzeri had 481 yards in 2013 and followed it up with 494 on 102 carries last year on a bum ankle. He'll again have competition in the backfield with LeShun Daniels, Akrum Wadley, Derrick Mitchell and maybe freshman Eric Graham. It's his last chance to be the man.
Will Iowa have a 1,000 yard rusher: yes/no
Over/Under on Jordan Canzeri's rushing total: 850 yards
TEVAUN SMITH RECEIVING YARDS. Smith's career began to take off half-way through the 2013 season. He'd end 2013 second on the team in receiving yards and third in receptions. In 2014, he'd finish the leader in receiving yards with 596 yards and second to KMM in receptions with 43. Iowa coaches talk of a need to get Smith involved and expect a load of targets for Iowa's best threat at receiver this year. Marvin McNutt hauled in 82 passes for 1315 yards in 2011 but Smith has not shown anything to that level yet. Keenan Davis complemented McNutt with 50 catches for 713 yards. That may be closer to Smith's skill level.
Over/Under Tevaun Smith's receptions in 2015: 65
Over/Under Tevaun Smith's receiving yards in 2015: 750 yards
FRESHMEN WR RECIEIVING. Smith can't do it all and Iowa's open practice and spring practice showed an immediate need for a new face at wide receiver to step in. Iowa's history shows freshmen wide receivers can't be considered for much as their contribution is usually minimal. But times are different and perhaps desperate. Emmanuel Ogwo, Adrian Falconer and Jerminic Smith could all see playing time this year. At least one of the three. A better bet would be two.
Over/Under on receptions for:
Emmanuel Ogwo: 5
Jerminic Smith: 5
Adrian Falconer: 5
DEFENSIVE SACKS. In 2009, Iowa started four defensive linemen that would go on to play in the NFL. That unit led Iowa to a BCS Bowl victory and racked up 30 sacks on the season. The highest sack total for Iowa since came last year with 26. An inexperienced back seven proved to be Iowa's weakness as the defense allowed 2,188 yards rushing against or 168.31 yards a game. Woof! Still, Iowa does replace two defensive tackles that are now property of the NFL. They do have two seniors at defensive end that can get up field and rush the passer. Drew Ott's 7.5 sacks last year were the best at Iowa since Adrian Clayborn recorded 11.5 in 2009. Ott did it mostly with one arm.
Over/Under defensive sacks team: 25
Over/Under defensive sacks Drew Ott: 9
DEFENSIVE POINTS AGAINST. The opponent can't win if they don't score. Memories of an Iowa defense that kept opponents from doing so is a distant memory. Iowa's last seven season average for points against per game looks like this: 13 in 2008, 15.4 in 2009, 17 in 2010, 23.8 in 2011, 22.9 in 2012, 18.9 in 2013 and 25.6 in 2014. The 2014 number is more concerning when you see Iowa played one of the worst schedules in the nation. Iowa retuns three of the four in the secondary and five linebackers with experience. There's also the senior defensive ends previously mentioned. It has to get better, right?
Over/Under on points allowed per game: 20
FINALLY, SOME MISCELLANEOUS. We'll throw out some others for just because.
Over/Under on Iowa's highest ranking (others receiving votes included): 35
Over/Under on ranked teams Iowa plays against in 2015: 1.5
Over/Under on number of Iowa players named 1st team all-Big Ten offense or defense: 1.5
Over/Under on number of NFL Draft picks from the 2015 team: 2
Over/Under on place of finish in Big Ten West: 3rd
Over/Under on number of game appearances for Tyler Weigers: 1.5