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Machine Learning Week 4 - Updated Iowa Game by Game Projections, Season Record, and Championship Odds

Check out our recap of the Big 10 schedule in week 3, with updated game-by-game projections for Iowa following the waterlogged outing vs. Nevada, updated season record and championship odds, and a preview of week 4 in conference play.


Where We’ve Been

Not familiar with BizarroMath? You’re in luck; I’ve launched a web site for it where you can get an explanation of the numbers and browse the data.

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

All lines courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook as of 8:00am, Monday, September 19, 2022.

Last Week Recap

Iowa football continues to be the #1 supplier of high-quality material for the Sickos Committee.

How It’s Going

This week, BizarroMath went 4-8 ATS and 5-7 O/U. Combined with the prior record of 11-8 and 6-13, respectively, the algorithm is 15-16 ATS and 11-20 O/U on the season after three full weeks of play. Not a great outing in the second straight strange week of Division I NCAA Football, but we’re still learning about these teams.

Week 3 Recap

Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022

UConn (1-2) at Michigan (2-0)

Vegas Says: MI -46.5, U/O 57.5

BizarroMath Says: MI -64.10 (MI cover), 71.66 (over)

Actual Outcome: MI 59, UCONN 0 (ATS hit, O/U hit)

One Sentence Recap: Michigan ain’t played nobody.

Oklahoma (2-0) at Nebraska (1-2)

Vegas Says: OU -11.5, O/U 64.5

BizarroMath Says: OU -7.90 (NE cover), 60.03 (under)

Actual Outcome: OU 49, NE 14 (ATS miss, O/U hit)

One Sentence Recap: We should all be rooting for Mickey Joseph’s no-nonsense, “just play the damn game” style, which is a welcome departure from Scott Frost’s chesty preening, but Nebraska still seems mired in a deep hole of undisciplined play and softness at the point of attack.

S. Illinois (0-2) at Northwestern (2-1)

Vegas Says: n/a

BizarroMath Says: n/a

Actual Outcome: SILL 31, NU 24

One Sentence Recap: I watched the Salukis play many at a game at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls over the years and I was probably less surprised than many that they pulled off this upset.

Purdue (2-1) at Syracuse (2-0)

Vegas Says: Pk, O/U 58.5

BizarroMath Says: PUR -2.22 (Purdue win), O/U 47.9 (under)

Actual Outcome: SYR 32, PUR 29 (ATS miss, O/U miss)

One Sentence Recap: Much like the Penn State game, this game was there for the taking and Purdue simply refused, and I want to reiterate that I’ve been skeptical since before the season began that the 2022 Edition of Purdue would be able to maintain the momentum from last year.

W. Kentucky (2-0) at Indiana (2-0)

Vegas Says: IN -6.5, O/U 59.0

BizarroMath Says: WKY -12.90 (WKY cover), 65.99 (over)

Actual Outcome: IND 33, WKY 30 (ATS hit, O/U hit)

One Sentence Recap: BizMa’s prediction of a WKY upset damn near came true, but Tom Allen’s sweeping, “must win now” changing in the offseason seem to be paying dividends as the Hoosiers are figuring some things out and finding ways to win.

Temple (1-1) at Rutgers (2-0)

Vegas Says: RUT -17.5, O/U 44

BizarroMath: RUT -23.74 (RUT cover), 44.62 (over)

Actual Outcome: RUT 16, TEM 14 (ATS miss, O/U miss)

One Sentence Recap: I’m pretty sure Rutgers is close to its pre-season O/U win total already, as the Scarlet Knights, like the other Eastern Red Team, keep finding ways to win.

Penn State (2-0) at Auburn (2-0)

Vegas Says: PSU -3, O/U 49

BizarroMath: PSU -2.71 (Auburn cover), 44.70 (under)

Actual Outcome: PSU 41, AUB 12 (ATS miss, O/U miss)

One Sentence Recap: It just means more.

Colorado (0-2) at Minnesota (2-0)

Vegas Says: MN -27.5, O/U 46.5

BizarroMath: MN -23.95 (CO cover), 44.20 (under)

Actual Outcome: MN 49, CO 7 (ATS miss, O/U miss)

One Sentence Recap: Minnesota ain’t played nobody.

New Mexico State (0-3) at Wisconsin (1-1)

Vegas Says: WI -37.5, O/U 46.5

BizarroMath: WI -38.71 (WI cover), 50.1 (over)

Actual Outcome: WI 66, NMSU 7 (ATS hit, O/U hit)

One Sentence Recap: There’s nothing interesting about this game other than two observations: (1) this is the most points Wisconsin has scored in the Paul Chryst era; (2) Wisconsin has the same problem as Iowa in that Chryst has probably hit his ceiling and isn’t going to elevate the program any further, but he wins too much to let him go.

Toledo (2-0) at Ohio State (2-0)

Vegas Says: OSU -31.5, O/U 61

BizarroMath: OSU -28.36 (Toledo cover), 66.12 (over)

Actual Outcome: OSU 77, TOL 21 (ATS miss, O/U hit)

One Sentence Recap: OSU’s opponent-adjusted yards surrendered this year is an absurd 2.28, which could be more a function of the small sample size we have for their opponents than anything, but this is why I blend data, folks.

Michigan State (2-0) at Washington (2-0)

Vegas Says: -MSU 3, O/U 57.5

BizarroMath: MSU -8.44 (MSU cover), 50.28 (under)

Actual Outcome: WA 39, MSU 28 (ATS miss, O/U miss)

One Sentence Recap: I’ve told you my numbers don’t like the Spartans, and Washington just showed us why.

Nevada (2-1) at Iowa (1-1)

Vegas Says: IA -23, O/U 40

BizarroMath: IA -2.48 (Nevada cover), 47.22 (over)

Actual Outcome: IA 27, NE 0 (ATS miss, O/U miss)

One Sentence Recap: Weird how when you inject a bunch of scholarship players back into your line-up, and play a defense of dubious quality, you can kind of, sort of, move the ball a little bit, even with an historically incompetent offense.

SMU (2-0) at Maryland (2-0)

Vegas Says: MD -3.5, O/U 69.5

BizarroMath: SMU -1.31 (SMU cover), 75.22 (over)

Actual Outcome: MD 34, SMU 27 (ATS hit, O/U miss)

One Sentence Recap: First Four Games Maryland has scored 121 points through 3 games; I put the O/U on how many more games before Iowa breaks that mark at 5.5.

Iowa Game-by-Game Projections - Week 4 Update

Now that I have the web site up and running, you can take a look at Iowa’s game-by-game projections and season projections yourself. I’m going to not post the images this week and leave it to you to visit the site if you want to see the data. This is not a clickbait money scheme. There are no ads on that site, I wrote the HTML by hand because I’m old and that’s how I roll, and I make $0 off you visiting that site.

If you prefer to have the data presented in-line here, let me know, I will do that next week. Please answer the poll below to help me figure out how best to do this.


Would you prefer to have the Iowa data posted in-line here?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    No, I prefer looking at it on
    (4 votes)
  • 21%
    Yes, but the link is fine.
    (16 votes)
  • 54%
    Yes, I don’t like going to another site to see it.
    (41 votes)
  • 13%
    Yes, as an image like before.
    (10 votes)
  • 4%
    Yes, but post it as text, not an image.
    (3 votes)
  • 1%
    Other (explain in comments)
    (1 vote)
75 votes total Vote Now

Also Caveat: If you come back to these links in the future, they will be updated with the results of future games, which also is a reason to post the data here for posterity, I suppose. Anyway, I may change the web site in the future to provide week-by-week updates showing the net changes. If you’re interested in that, please let me know.

On to the analysis.

We finally have two FBS games worth of data on Iowa and can we start jumping to conclusions. Iowa’s raw PPG against D1 competition are at 17.0, which is good for #108 in the country. Iowa’s raw YPG are 243.50, which puts the Hawkeyes at #115. Iowa’s raw YPP are 4.20, ranking the Black and Old Gold at #110. The team is very slowly crawling out of the Division 1 cellar, but didn’t exactly light the world on fire Saturday in a wet, frequently-interrupted outing against a Nevada team widely regarded as being Not Very Good.

We don’t have enough data for opponent-adjustments for Iowa at this point (I require at least 3 adjustable games). Iowa’s blended data is what is used for the projections, and you can review that on the web site. Suffice it to say that Iowa’s outing against Nevada was similar in profile to what the team looked like last year. But, the schedule is a bit tougher this year, and Iowa needed some good fortune last year to make the Big 10 Championship game. I know nobody wants to hear it, but if this offense can climb up out of the triple digit rankings and get even to the 80th-90th range, that just might be enough to stay in the conference race.

But this season may simply boil down to schedule. Wisconsin’s cross-over games are @Ohio State, @MSU, and Maryland at home. That’s about as hard as it gets without playing either Michigan or Penn State. Minnesota’s cross-over games are @Penn State, @Michigan State, and Rutgers. Iowa’s are @Rugers, Michigan, @Ohio State. From most to least difficult, I’d say Iowa has the worst draw, then Wisconsin, then Minnesota. The Gophers also get Purdue and Iowa at home, and have Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Illinois on the road. The Badgers have Illinois and Purdue at home and go on the road to play Nebraska, Iowa, and (don’t laugh) Northwestern. The Badgers are 1-6 at Northwestern this Century. The schedule generally favors the Gophers, and with Iowa playing Michigan and Ohio State in October, we shouldn’t be surprised if the Hawkeyes are out of the division race before November.

That said, Iowa’s game-by-game odds are moving in the right direction. Iowa is a significant underdog vs. Michigan and Ohio State as expected, and a slight dog to Wisconsin and (stop traffic) Illinois. Perhaps most alarming is that the Hawkeyes have only a 37.92% chance to beat Minnesota. But! Recall that I am not doing opponent adjustments to the 2022 data yet for Minnesota, so their gaudy numbers are being taken at face value, and they’ll drop after the Gophers play Michigan State this weekend.

To give you an idea of how that works, consider Michigan, which has played enough adjustable games that I can run opponent adjustments. Their opposition has been so terrible that BizarroMath discounts the Wolverines’ raw 55.33 PPG by a whopping 22.54 points. This means that this Wolverine team is expected to put up just 32.80 points against an average D1 defense, to say nothing of what they can do against a Top 5 defense, which Iowa just so happens to have (again, before opponent-adjustments). Michigan’s adjusted data is thus actually worse than last year, whose offense was, opponent-adjusted, worth 42.17 PPG.

Minnesota’s adjustments will come soon enough, and we’ll see them return to deep below the Earth, where filthy rodents belong. But, so, too, will Iowa’s, and of Iowa’s three adjustable opponents after this coming weekend - Rutgers, Nevada, and Iowa State - the Cyclones are by far the best team.

Iowa Season Projections

The Nevada win and swing in the statistics towards something more similar to last year’s putrid but still-better-than-this-crap offensive performance has brightened Iowa’s season outlook somewhat. Iowa’s most likely outcome now is 7-5 (27.13% chance), with 6-6 being more likely (25.89%) than 8-4 (17.52%). There is a 92.11% chance that Iowa doesn’t reach 9.3, and a 78.42% chance that the Hawkeyes get bowl eligible this year.

The Championship Race

The Gilded Rodents’ flashy numbers have pulled them almost even with Wisconsin, as the Badgers and Gophers are both in the 35-40% range for a division championship. Purdue’s continued struggles drops the Boilermakers to the four spot, elevating hapless Iowa to the third place in the West, though the Hawkeyes’ chances of actually winning the damn thing drop to 8.40%, Iowa’s climb up the division ladder from 5th to 3rd is more a function of the poor play of the teams now ranked lower than anything Iowa is doing on the field.

I’m a bit puzzled by the conference race in the East, where Ohio State shot from last week’s 21.53% to this week’s 64.18% chance, but I think it’s because BizMa now has the Buckeyes with a 77.74% chance of winning The Game, which is the main shift that accounts for this change. Why? Well, this week we have opponent-adjustments for both teams and OSU has played a tougher schedule, so the Buckeyes’ numbers are not being discounted nearly as much as Michigan’s.

For example, on offense, OSU is putting up a raw 8.49 YPP, which BizMa is actually adjusting up to 9.58. Michigan, by comparison, is putting up 7.97 YPP, but BizMa is adjusting it down to 6.36 YPP based on the competition. As we move into the conference slate and the quality of each team’s opposition evens out, we’ll probably see those numbers flatten out a bit.

Week 4 Projections

I love week 4. Because the number of games I have to track is cut in half.

Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022

Chattnooga at Illinois (2-1)

Vegas Says: n/a

BizarroMath: n/a

One Sentence Prediction: Your Fighting Illini are going to be 3-1 going into conference play, and they have been competitive, if a bit raggety.

Maryland (3-0) at Michigan (3-0)

Vegas Says: MI -17, O/U 62.5

BizarroMath: MI -3.81, O/U 58.01 (MD cover, under)

One Sentence Prediction: BizMa sees this game as being much closer than Vegas does, and I think the difference might be a function of where we are in the season, as I just don’t see Maryland’s defense holding Michigan down, and I don’t buy that under for even a second, folks.

Central Michigan (1-2) at Penn State (3-0)

Vegas Says: PSU -26, O/U 60.5

BizarroMath: PSU -30.47, O/U 58.97 (PSU cover, under)

One Sentence Prediction: I don’t know a thing about Central Michigan this year but a final along the lines of 45-13 sounds about right.

Minnesota (3-0) at Michigan State (2-1)

Vegas Says: MN -2, O/U 51.0

BizarroMath: MN -8.75, O/U 45.49 (MN cover, under)

One Sentence Prediction: We’ll soon know if the Gilded Rodents are fool’s gold, but not this week, as I think Minnesota is going to put up some points here in something like a 42-23 affair.

Indiana (3-0) at Cincinnati (2-1)

Vegas Says: CIN -15.5, O/U 54.0

BizarroMath: CIN -25.04, O/U 53.90 (CIN cover, under)

One Sentence Prediction: The Hoosiers either crash hard back down to Terra Firma in an embarrassing road rout, or this winds up being an unexpectedly knotty game.

Iowa (2-1) at Rutgers (3-0)

Vegas Says: IA -7.5, O/U 35.5

BizarroMath: IA -9.85, O/U 32.09 (IA cover, under)

One Sentence Prediction: “In Assy Football, the MVP is from one of two separate, yet equally important, groups: the punt team, which establishes poor field position for the opposition; and the punt return team, who try to field the ball outside of the 15 yard line without turning it over; this is their magnum opus.”

Wisconsin (2-1) at Ohio State (3-0)

Vegas Says: OSU -17.5, O/U 56.5

BizarroMath: OSU -15.32, O/U 51.53 (WI cover, under)

One Sentence Prediction: Since I’m not sure how good Notre Dame is, I’m also not sure how good Ohio State is, and since I’m not sure how good Washington State is, I’m not sure how good Wisconsin is, but my gut says that Ohio State is definitely better than Wisconsin and they’re getting the Badgers at home, so let’s just hope Iowa loses to the Buckeyes less embarrassingly than the Badgers when its our turn to visit the Spank Machine in October.

Miami (OH) (1-2) at Northwestern (1-2)

Vegas Says: NU -7, O/U 50.5

BizarroMath: NU -5.01, O/U 51.00 (MOH cover, over)

One Sentence Prediction: When Northwestern beat what looked at the time like a salty Nebraska squad, I was a bit worried that my pre-season argument that 2020 was an outlier and this wasn’t going to be Even Year Northwestern was not going to hold up, but for once my instincts appear to have been right, and I might actually take MOH to cover or even upset here.

Florida Atlantic (2-2) at Purdue (1-2)

Vegas Says: PUR -20.5, O/U 60.5

BizarroMath: PUR -29.49, O/U 50.66 (PUR cover, under)

One Sentence Prediction: Another of my pre-season hunches that is (maybe?) panning out is that Purdue wouldn’t be able to recreate last year’s lightning in a bottle, but then, this Purdue team is two plays away from being 3-0, innit?

The Fine Print

Data Source: The betting lines are from DraftKings. Depending on your degenerate web site of choice, your mileage may vary.
Gambling Caveat: I do not bet on sports. I run these numbers because I’m a nerd who loves math and football and this is my idea of fun. This should go without saying, but if you do bet, you should do so based on your own independent assessment, not the half-baked statistical musings of an Internet rando.

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.