WHERE WE'VE BEEN
- SPAM - 2021 Pre-Season Preview
- SPAM - 2021 - Week 0/1 Preview
- SPAM - 2021 - Week 2 Preview
- SPAM - 2021 - Week 3 Preview
- SPAM - 2021 - Week 4 Preview
I had planned to take my kids to Oktoberfest on Saturday morning, come home, watch the game, and then go to Second Oktoberfest on Saturday evening. That's not how the day went, due to an incident involving my children's furniture that made my son's bed look like it had been shot through with a cannonball. So instead, I spent the morning fixing and rearranging. When the Iowa game started, I couldn't really focus on it. The last thing I saw while passing by my phone was Petras throwing what looked like a pick-six, so I shut it off.
I did go to my Second Oktoberfest and I did see that Iowa came back and won, but I'm not 100% sure how, as I still haven't watched the game. The game was on FS1 and we have Hulu for TV, which means I am forced to re-watch all the commercials EVEN WITH THE CLOUD DVR. I don't have the patience to sit through 6 and a half hours of Liberty Mutual and Dr. Pepper commercials to watch Iowa limp its way to a 24-14 win over Colorado State, so this game will just go down in history as Something That Happened that I never witnessed.
Elsewhere in the league, Minnesota's fraudulent streak of wins over non-conference opponents came to an overdue and deserving halt with a loss to Bowling Green. The Gophers have been barely skating by against non-con opponents for years, benefiting from inexplicable and annoying levels of absurd turnover luck in games in which they are thoroughly outplayed by glorified high school JV squads. I could not be happier to see this idiotic talking point about their "football" program end. It's even more delicious that the streak in question now passes to Iowa, whose non-conference slate is, while certainly not lethal, far less dubious than Minnesota's.
I have a gut feeling that when the History of the Rise and Decline of the Badger Empire is written, these last few seasons will appear in the final chapters. Wisconsin is a mess. It's possible that this program has been subsisting almost exclusively off slowly dissipating inertia from the Alvarez years and with him gone, it's going to slide into an abrupt and violent halt.
And then Nebraska. Man, that looks like a real defense. A real Big 10 defense. But the rest of it is ... a mess. Martinez is a gamer, and I have been critical of him in the past for not having his heart in the game for that team, but now he IS the heart of that team, and you gotta feel for that kid. Especially when, week after week, your Coach gets on TV and shits all over you and your teammates.
And it's not just non-Nebraska fans throwing that shade. My Twitter esssssploded this weekend with irate Nebraska fans fed up with Frost's blame-shifting. We've been there, haven't we, Iowa fans? The malaise setting in at Nebraska reminds me a lot of Iowa's fan culture from 2011 through 2014. We'd just had enough of the same old bullshit being recycled and shoved at us. The program did some soul-searching, changed some things up, and what happened? The Hawkeyes are 57-21 since then with a 0.730 win percentage, now riding a 3-game bowl win streak, an AP ranking in 4 of the last 6 seasons, a Rose Bowl trip, a Big 10 West championship, and a play away from the conference championship and a playoff berth.
So it can be done. I said when Nebraska hired Frost that they had to give him 5 years, and then sit down and ask themselves if he's the guy for the next five. We're in year 4, and while it looks much the same on paper, I think the team is better. If they had even mediocre special teams, they might be undefeated right now. Undefeated Nebraska with a road win over #3 Oklahoma? Hell, they'd be #3 themselves.
Whether Nebraska can actually turn that corner remains, of course, to be seen.
WEEK 4 PICKS - REVIEW
Game by Game
|@Iowa State||-1.1||W (2-0)|
|Kent State||9.0||W (3-0)|
|Colorado State||16.5||W (4-0)|
All of Iowa's opponents are gaining ground on the Hawkeyes, except one. These lines have been tightening week over week. The reason why is that Iowa's overall performance this year is worse than last, relative to its competition, and as the influence of last season's data is phased out, this team's projected performance is based more and more on its body of work to date, relative to that of its peers. And what SPAM is seeing in the data is that the rest of these teams are catching up to the Hawkeyes.
Except one. Wisconsin lost ground, reflecting the Badgers' generally poor outing and overall dubious season. I've been wondering aloud for a few years now if the chinks we've been seeing in Wisconsin's armor are signs of a system that is collapsing, and with Barry's departure, if the fall of the empire will be hastened. Perhaps?
I'm not reporting anything that's less than a 1% chance, so Iowa's practical floor here is 7-5. As always, with a win, you see the probability allocated to outcomes that are no longer possible redistributed based on relative team performance. 10-2 is, like last week, the most likely outcome, though by a plurality, not a majority. Interestingly, 12-0 is more likely than 7-5. I'm not sure I agree with that, but the point of SPAM is to give you data without the influence of the brand or the eyeball test.
Division Championship Odds
Big 10 West
Iowa's dominant defense, coupled with Wisconsin's generally dreadful outing this week has resulted in a TECTONIC SHIFT never before seen (that I can remember) in SPAM history. YOUR PURDUE BOILERMAKERS have the second-best odds at winning the Big 10 West. It helps that they have another B1G West win in their pocket, and we're going to see the 2nd-7th place rearrange itself a good deal over the coming weeks. Likewise, all it takes is a weekend where Iowa loses and anybody else wins to knock Iowa off the top. The margins at the top of the mountain are much like the air: thin. Also, please note that Nebraska's defense is legit. Despite the loss, Nebraska's odds improved this week.
Big 10 East