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Machine Learning Week 5 - Now Interactive! Make your picks and see if BHGP can out-pick BizarroMath + Updated Iowa Game by Game Projections, Season Record, and Championship Odds

The computer is undefeated, but feel free to try your own hand!

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. Prior week entries in this series are linked below.

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

All lines courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook as of 10:00am CDT, Sep. 26, 2022.

Last Week Recap

How It’s Going

This week, BizarroMath went 5-3 ATS and 3-5 O/U. Combined with the prior record of 15-16 and 11-20, respectively, the algorithm is now 20-19 ATS and 14-25 O/U on the season after four weeks.

Week 4 Recap

Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022

Chattanooga at Illinois (2-1)

Vegas Says: n/a

BizarroMath: n/a

Actual Outcome: IL 31, CHAT 0

One Sentence Recap: This is what Iowa vs. SDSU should have looked like and didn’t.

Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022

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)

Actual Outcome: MI 37, MD 27 (MD cover HIT, under MISS)

One Sentence Recap: Michigan is mortal but may make mincemeat out of Iowa’s moribund offense.

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)

Actual Outcome: PSU 33, CMU 14 (PSU cover MISS, under HIT)

One Sentence Recap: Penn State’s perennial penchant for putting forth phony pigskin progress picks up another point of proof.

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)

Actual Outcome: MN 34, MSU 7 (MN cover HIT, under HIT)

One Sentence Recap: I predicted that Minnesota would lay down some points on Sparty, and they did, and now that we have opponent adjustments, well, let’s just say we are going to have to contend with the possibility that Minnesota is good.

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)

Actual Outcome: CIN 45, IND 24 (CIN cover HIT, under MISS)

One Sentence Recap: The bottom line here is that Cincinnati is better than Indiana, who is probably still doing more than anybody expected with what they’ve got.

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)

Actual Outcome: IA 27, RUT 10 (IA cover HIT, under MISS)

One Sentence Recap: The announcers kept talking about how if you just look at the offenses, it’s a 13-10 game, except that the Rutgers offense scored a net of -4 points, so it’s an Iowa cover no matter how you look at it, and can we all appreciate Taylor and Korsak coming together after the game for what simply MUST become an Iowa-Rutgers football tradition: the Punter’s Photo.

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)

Actual Outcome: OSU 52, WI 21 (WI cover MISS, under MISS)

One Sentence Recap: I’ve been saying for years that Wisconsin’s football war machine is slowly rattling itself to pieces, as the Badgers have been coasting off slowly dissipating inertia from the Alverez years for a long time now, and I just don’t see how Paul Chryst elevates that program any further, but, as we’ll discuss below, Ohio State’s offense is, by far, the best in the sport, and even the mighty Wisconsin defense can’t do much about it.

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)

Actual Outcome: NU 14, MOH 17 (MOH cover HIT, over MISS)

One Sentence Recap: I saw somebody on Twitter ask if Coach Fitzgerald is on the hot seat, which is laughable because the inquiry inherently implies that Northwestern has enough highly invested fans to apply that kind pressure.

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)

Actual Outcome: PUR 28, FAU 26, (PUR cover MISS, under HIT)

One Sentence Recap: Is anybody on board with me yet that 2021 Purdue was a fluke and the Boilermakers aren’t going to contend for the B1G West?

Iowa Recap and Game-by-Game Projections - Week 5

Now that I have the www.BizarroMath.com web site up and running, you can take a look at Iowa’s game-by-game projections and season projections yourself. Last week I asked you to give me feedback about whether you’re willing to go look at the site or if that’s too much to ask. Community sentiment was clearly in favor of You People Being Lazy And Making Me Do More Work, so I will dutifully post the results here. Just know that it adds about 15 minutes to how long it takes to me to do this voluntary, thankless task. I hope you’re proud of yourselves.

Let’s talk for a hot second about that Rutgers game.

As you know if you read me regularly, I’m not an X’s and O’s guy, and I have not yet listened to my usual plethora of post-game podcasts, so if I’m repeating obvious observations already offered up by others, I apologize:

• We have some legit running back talent.
• This defense is ridiculously talented. The only two touchdowns given up this season both came on the back of some questionable officiating (though, when you give up a 99 yard drive - dubious officiating or not - there were plenty of opportunities to put a stop to that).
• Is it just me, or did the Iowa and Rutgers players seem to have some Spidermen-Pointing-At-Each-Other fraternal energy going on? The national narrative on Tory Taylor and Adam Korsak and this game being the PUNTPOCALYPSE seemingly seeped into the locker rooms and added levity to what should have been a yawner. It felt like these teams were REALLY having fun playing each other, and I loved the Punter Picture Pose at the end of the game. That needs to become an Iowa-Rutgers tradition.
• I cannot heap enough praise on Rutgers QB3 (Evan Simon). That dude took hit after hit after hit from Iowa’s legendarily physical defenders and he got up without so much as a limp or a grimace after every one of them, and smartly avoided handing Iowa its third safety of the season.
• Our special teams are absurdly good. You know how we covet an even marginally competent, slightly below-average offense? I guarantee you that fans of all but maybe 5 FBS teams would trade a testicle to have Iowa’s level of consistent special teams excellence. Lavar Woods for president.

We now have a third adjustable game in the bag, which means BizarroMath can start looking at what Iowa’s numbers really mean.

It’s not good.

On offense, the Hawkeyes are putting up a raw 20.33 PPG, 254.67 YPG, and 4.48 YPP against non-FCS competition. However, those numbers are being adjusted downward to account for the level of competition, to 17.99 PPG, 213.57 YPG, and 3.95 YPP. This means that Iowa’s offense is underperforming even relative to its competition. This probably does not surprise you. Also, the blended numbers (which are used for the schedule analysis and season projections) are also falling as the math is leaning more on 2022 data.

What we are seeing here is a repeat of what I saw last year. Iowa’s 2020 team fielded one of its best scoring offenses in quite some time, notably due to an absurdly efficient red zone offense. Last year, the 2021 numbers tapered off week over week as the influence of the 2020 data fell out, and it became increasingly clear to me that the 2021 offense was much, much worse.

That’s happening again, folks. Meaning that the 2022 offense’s numbers are currently being artificially inflated by the holdover effect of the, relatively speaking, much better 2021 offense.

Oof.

The story on defense is a bit better. In 2021, Iowa gave up an OA 16.78 PPG, 297.05 YPG, and 4.44 YPP. These numbers were all adjusted down (i.e., better) due to the quality of the offenses Iowa faced. This year, despite Iowa’s gaudy defensive numbers, it’s going the other way on yards but holding steady on points. Iowa is giving up a raw 6.67 PPG, which isn’t being adjusted much (up a quarter point to 6.93), meaning BizarroMath expects Iowa to give up just 6.67 points against an average Division 1 offense.

But, on yardage, Iowa’s 275 raw YPG are adjusted up by 144.96 to 419.96 YPG. That is, the algorithm thinks Iowa would give up about 420 yards to an average Division 1 offense (though still only about 7 points).

“Bend, but don’t break,” indeed.

Likewise, on YPP, the Hawkeyes have been gouged with chunk yardage here and there, giving up a raw 3.73 YPP but an OA 5.22 YPP. But, with the blend to last year’s data, the numbers get pulled back down (except, notably, for PPG, which is being blended up to 13.09). It’s a bit of a hodge-podge with the OA and blended numbers on defense, but you have to like what we see in the most important stat: points.

Iowa Season Projections

As the inflationary impact of last year’s data falls away, we’re seeing Iowa’s odds of winning these games drop. This week, they dropped almost across the board, and Iowa is now favored to win just two of the 8 games remaining on its schedule: Northwestern and Nebraska. But, most of these games are still close to being coin flips, and with 3 wins in the bag, BizarroMath still has Iowa’s most likely outcome as a 6-6 or 7-5 type season, with about a 1-in-4 chance of going 8-4 or better.

Like last year, we’re trending the wrong way.

The Championship Race

The Illini have climbed into the three-spot, dropping Iowa back to 4th in the B1G West race. Iowa’s odds of winning the division continue to tumble and Purdue is nipping at our heels. Nebraska and Northwestern are, for all practical purposes, out of it. But, somebody has to win these conference games and just one upset can change the odds dramatically.

On the other end of the ladder, the Gophers’ dominant play coupled with the Badgers’ struggles have catapulted the Gilded Rodents into the clear #1 spot in the West, but, again, those odds can change quickly and dramatically once we get into intra-divisional play, and Minnesota has yet to face the inevitable Flecking that seems to plague them every year.

In the East, Michigan’s struggle with Maryland, compared to the Buckeyes’ seemingly easily dispatching of the Badgers, has advanced the Buckeyes into a commanding lead in the pole position, and, interestingly, Penn State is now drafting in second place, with the Wolverines right behind in third.

The reason for this disparity is simple: Ohio State is beating better teams by bigger margins.

The conference championship race is academic on paper. It is, as always, Ohio State’s to lose, with a few other teams having a puncher’s chance, but not much else.

Week 5 Projections

Sweet Jesusberries, Ethel, would you just feast your eyes on that slate of B1G-on-B1G action!?

Some new things this week. First, I’m switching my “One Sentence Predictions/Recaps” to the “BizarroMax One Sentence Hot Take” because I don’t always have a prediction or recap to offer, usually just some off-the-shelf Smartassedness.

Second, I am giving YOU the chance to Beat the Box - vote for who you think will cover and whether to take the Over/Under, and we’ll see if the collective wisdom of the BHGP fan community can out-smart a computer algorithm written by a guy who flunked calculus four times.

The polls are open until 10:00am CDT on Saturday morning. Vote early, vote often, and good luck!

Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022

#4 Michigan at Iowa

Vegas Says: MI -10.5, O/U 42.5

BizarroMath: MI -9.06, O/U 36.87 (IA cover, under)

BizarroMax One Sentence Hot Take: Hope springs eternal; give me the Hawkeyes by 4.

Poll

Who you got?

This poll is closed

Illinois at Wisconsin

Vegas Says: WI -7.5, O/U 44

BizarroMath: WI -5.84, O/U 37.05 (ILL cover, under)

BizarroMax One Sentence Hot Take: When Illinois wins this game, I’m sticking a fork in Wisconsin; they’re done.

Poll

Who you got?

This poll is closed

Wisconsin cover, under

Vegas Says: NE -3.5, O/U 61.5

BizarroMath: IN -6.60, O/U 59.44 (IN cover and upset, under)

BizarroMax One Sentence Hot Take: If Nebraska doesn’t win this game, do they win any more games this year?

Poll

Who you got?

This poll is closed

Purdue at Minnesota

Vegas Says: MN -10, O/U 67.5

BizarroMath: MN -5.59, O/U 50.45 (PUR cover, under)

BizarroMax One Sentence Hot Take: Hard to imagine Purdue holding serve with Minnesota, but The Flecking Cometh.

Poll

Who you got?

This poll is closed

Rutgers at #3 Ohio State

Vegas Says: OSU -41.5, O/U 59.5

BizarroMath: OS -55.79, O/U 73.01 (OSU cover, over)

BizarroMax One Sentence Hot Take: Ohio State should be grateful to Iowa for softening Rutgers up for this game, it’ll make it easier on the Buckeyes

Poll

Who you got?

This poll is closed

Northwestern at #14 Penn State

Vegas Says: PSU -25, O/U 52.5

BizarroMath: PSU -34.92, O/U 40.42 (PSU cover, under)

BizarroMax One Sentence Hot Take: Nothing would make me happier than for this to turn into a Fitzing for the ages.

Poll

Who you got?

This poll is closed

Michigan State at Maryland

Vegas Says: MD -7, O/U 60.5

BizarroMath: MSU -0.56, O/U 56.91 (MSU cover, under)

BizarroMax One Sentence Hot Take: I’m with Vegas on this one, and a little annoyed that my algorithm, which has been shitting on Michigan State going back to last year, suddenly doesn’t agree.

Poll

Who you got?

This poll is closed