It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a fan to admit that his team was lucky. I give you Iowa. Team Speed Kills flags Iowa as potentially overrated for the obvious reasons that they almost lost to a series of bad-to-mediocre teams in 2009. MGoBlog co-signs. As could be expected, Black Heart Gold Pants gets prickly and refuses to acknowledge the obvious. You know your argument sucks when you're fighting the notion that your team was lucky in 2009 and you cite a chart that shows your team to have been the second luckiest team in the conference.
For their next trick, BHGP will show a picture of Sofia Vergara to prove that Columbians are ugly.
Iowa finished tenth in the Big Ten in total offense, ninth in yards per play, tenth in scoring offense, tenth in rushing yards per game, ninth in yards per carry, sixth in passing yards per game, and tenth in passer rating. In short, their offense sucked. Iowa won 11 games because it had a great defense and it won a disproportionate share of close games. Maybe Hawkeye fans think that their team has some sort of magical, replicable skill at winning tight contests. If so, they might want to consider talking to a Notre Dame fan about the 2003 Irish.
As a result of Iowa's inability to demonstrate its superiority over Arkansas State and Northern Iowa, every ranking system that accounts for data beyond record and strength of schedule pegged Iowa in the lower part of the top 20. The Sagarin Predictor had Iowa 17th. Sports Reference's SRS measure had Iowa 19th, as did Football Outsiders. In short, you can accept what reams of research tells us about football, which is that points, yards, and drive outcomes are a better indication of a team's merit and contain less noise than the final record itself. Or, you can reject all of that, put on a dumb hat, and wait to be punked by Fire Joe Morgan.
Iowa played a bevy of close games in 2009 because it had a very good defense and a bad offense. Thus, every game became a defensive battle, although some of the games ended up with higher scores because of Stanziballs run back for touchdowns by Iowa's opponents. Regardless of whether they were playing Ohio State on ther road or Northern Iowa at home, Iowa's defense kept them in the game, but their offense prevented them from getting a substantial lead. Because 2009 performances provide the baseline for 2010 predictions, it makes sense to evaluate Iowa in 2010 by acknowledging that they were a 9-4 team that got enough breaks and made enough timely plays to go 11-2. (The reverse was true in 2008, when Iowa was better than their record.) Maybe Iowa will be better in 2010 because of returning starters, Stanzi learning to throw to the right team, etc., but now we're venturing into the unknown. What is known is that Iowa was not a top ten team in 2009.