Iowa Win Total Prediction
Following a Big Ten West Division Championship in 2015, can the Iowa Hawkeyes put together another big year in 2016?
According to oddsmakers at Bovada.lv, the Hawkeyes are listed with an over/under of 8.5 wins for the upcoming season. The over has a money line of -140 to happen, while the under is set at +110 to prevail. Iowa is also listed with 55/1 odds to win the national championship this season and the Hawkeyes have 8/1 odds to win the Big Ten.
Kirk Ferentz is coming into his 18th season as head coach of the Hawkeyes. His 12-2 record last year was his best in his time with Iowa. Over his 17 years, Ferentz has amazed a 127-87 overall record with a 76-60 record in the Big Ten. Iowa opened last season at 12-0, but suffered a 16-13 loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship and then lost to Stanford in the Rose Bowl, 45-16.
This year Iowa returns starting quarterback C.J. Beathard to lead the offense. He threw for 2,809 yards and 17 touchdowns with just five interceptions. He also rushed for 237 yards and six scores. Beathard has his top receiver back this year in Matt VandeBerg, who had 65 receptions for 703 yards and four scores. He also has tight end George Kittle back, who led Iowa with six TD receptions in 2015. The team does lose leading rusher Jordan Canzeri, but they do have LeShun Daniels Jr. and Akrum Wadley back, who combined for over 1,100 yards and 15 touchdowns. The offensive line also has three starters back, which should allow the run game to stay impactful while protecting Beathard.
Defensively, Iowa held nine opponents under 20 points last season. Their run defense was especially strong, holding teams to just 121.4 yards per game. The pass game was still pretty good as well, allowing just 219 yards per game. Eight starters are back from last year’s unit, led by Desmond King, the 2015 Jim Thorpe Award winner. King has 72 tackles with eight interceptions and 13 pass deflections in 2015. Up front, Iowa is led by defensive tackles Jaleel Johnson and Nathan Bazata. The two combined for 10.5 tackles for loss, but were a big part of stuffing the opposing run game. The two will be backed up by middle linebacker Josey Jewell, who had 126 tackles a year ago.
Last year was a bit of an anomaly for the Hawkeyes. They went 12-0, which was the best start Ferentz has had. It was the first time Iowa had won 9 games since 2009. In his 17 years, Ferentz has won at least 9 games six times. The schedule doesn’t seem overwhelming this year, as they host Miami (Ohio), Iowa State and North Dakota State in non-conference play. Big Ten play features road trips to Rutgers, Minnesota, Purdue, Penn State and Illinois. Home games are with Northwestern, Wisconsin, Michigan and Nebraska. The game with the Bison could be real tough and Iowa was able to win a lot of close conference games in 2015. That won’t be the case this year. Don’t look for the Hawkeyes to repeat anything from a year ago. They should struggle to find consistency on offense, which will cost them games.
2016 COLLEGE FOOTBALL WIN TOTAL PICK: IOWA UNDER 8.5 (+110)