Hawkeye Historians are just starting to buy enough ink to write about the past decade of Iowa football and the 2019 season writ large. Hawkeye bloggers, however, are preparing to heave themselves from the bowels of their Cheeto Cave and repurpose posts they authored in August to plug any holes during a dead period of news.
But I’m not just here to write evergreen content! I’m also here to stroke my own ego and tell y’all about that time where I predicted Very Important Iowa Football Metrics With Astute Mental Clarity.
TL;DR, let’s revisit some made up gambling lines I posted before the football season started. I’m very proud of these.
Iowa Wins O/U: 7.5
This is actually a real and not made up wager that people could’ve put cheese on before the season started. The oddsmakers in Vegas thought seven wins would be the high watermark for Iowa football this year, and they were approximately 1 1⁄2 wins W R O N G.
As I said in August:
The problem is, I LOVE the over for 7.5 wins just because I think Iowa can cruise to 8 wins pretty handily as they’re wont to do. Things get hairy with that 8.5 number, however, because
you’re gonna need 9 wins to cash that ticket and I don’t really see that happening.
Forget about that last sentence I was still right about over 7.5 wins and that’s all that matters in my own echo chamber.
AJ Epenesa Sacks O/U: 11.5
I made up the 11.5 number because AJE was coming off a sophomore campaign where he put up 10.5 sacks as a backup. Oddly enough, Epenesa ended the season with approximately 11.5 sacks. HOWEVAH, if we want to get technical that doesn’t count because he had 2.5 sacks in the bowl game, and a total of nine in the regular season.
THEREFORE, I was correct in my original prediction of taking the UNDER in this super fake and super important wager:
I think by just about every measure we’re going to be disappointed by AJE this season. It pains me to say it, but he’s going to get double teamed by everyone and his stats will suffer a la Clayborn ... His impact will still be profound as teams have to scheme around him, but let’s be ready for when he doesn’t break every sack record under the sun.
Epenesa had 8 sacks in his final 5 games, and that’s going to be enough to get himself paid.
Nate Stanley O/U: Yards/TDs/Completion %
So for this, I set the number of yards at 2800, TDs at 26 and completion percentage at 60%.
I took the under in each category because it was so dang easy. Stanley ended the regular season with 2,738 passing yards but eclipsed 2,900 after an epic Holiday Bowl performance. He threw just 16 touchdowns this year, and that includes the 2 he tossed against USC. His completion percentage hovered around 59% all year long.
I’m 5-0 here for those of you keeping score at home.
Iowa Defense Total Sacks O/U: 30
Iowa had 29 sacks in the regular season. A 4-sack performance against USC brought that number up to 33, but this check still cashed HARD.
Here’s what I had to say back in August:
With the departure of Anthony Nelson, a guy who had 9.5 sacks himself, I think Iowa has a tough time reaching 30, especially with all the attention AJE is going to draw. I could see Phil’s defense still getting to the QB 28 or 29 times, but 30 sacks or more seems like a great white buffalo, but I’d like Amani Jones and Golston and everyone else to prove me wrong.
The biggest thing to take away from this year’s sack numbers is how everyone got involved. After Epenesa, Iowa’s second sack leader was true freshman Joe Evans who sort of became a specialist at rushing the passer as the season progressed. He got to the quarterback 4 times, while Kristian Welch, Daviyon Nixon and Chauncey Golston each recorded 3 sacks.
People had an opportunity eat on defense this year, and it was a feast. And that brings me to...
Iowa Scoring Defense: O/U 19 ppg
Even if Iowa doesn’t hit 30 sacks this year, this defense can still be downright salty. Iowa’s defense allowed 17.8 ppg last year, 20 ppg in ‘17 and just under 19 in ‘16. The 12-0 team allowed 20, and that includes the Fake Rose Bowl, so I like the trajectory we’re looking at here.
I’m going to be generous, set the line at 19 points ppg allowed by Iowa’s D, and take the UNDER.
Iowa’s defense was downright salty this year. The Hawkeyes finished sixth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 14 points a game. That’s almost an entire touchdown better than I predicted. Only Clemson, Georgia, San Diego State, Utah and Ohio State posted better scoring Ds, and that’s really good company to be in.
Iowa Scoring Offense: O/U 28 PPG
We knew the offense wasn’t going to be great, but the Hawkeyes propensity to score points was maligned all year. If Iowa did in fact average 28 ppg they likely would’ve punched a ticket to Indy as early as October.
Iowa ended the year averaging just under 26 points/game, and that includes the 49-point scoregasm against USC. Take that out, and Iowa is averaging like 22 points a game and that’s an entire touchdown worse even than my pessimistic ass predicted:
Iowa’s defense is going to be great this year, but it probably won’t matter, because this offense will cross the goal line about as often as I go on a date. I’m not holding my breath for a lot of scoring this fall.
ANYWAY, for context, last year’s team scored 31 ppg (that number drops to 26((!!!)) when you remove the Illinois game). The 2017 team was able to muster just over 28 ppg thanks to Akrum Wadley. I keep on thinking of this team as being close to 2014, so we’re gonna follow that lead and score UNDER 28.2 points a game.
Iowa Yards Per Carry: O/U 4 YPC
WOOF. I know it took a bit to identify Tyler Goodson as the best running back on the team, but Iowa’s rushing attack was pretty stinky all year long.
Iowa averaged over 5 yards/carry just three times this year: against Miami the Lesser, Middle Tennessee State and Nebraska, where the Hawkeyes averaged over 7 yards a pop against the vaunted Blackshirt defense (lol).
They rushed for approximately one yard against Michigan.
ANYWAY, Iowa averaged 3.7/yards a carry on the regular season, and bumped that number up to 3.9 after the bowl game. Close, but no cigar.
Live look at me, counting all my fake money: