Saturday, August 30, 2014

ISU Football Projections 2014

Well, tough day for ISU.  I wanted to say "good guys" but there weren't many of those today.  This year, like the last couple, I used the historical winning percentages to project a number of wins for the football team.  Last year, I projected ~6 wins and the team finished with 3, and I had to look up the record.  The reasons for the disappointment are pretty obvious and I'll get into them below.  Here are my pre-season wins predictions.

I projected, based on probabilities, 5.817 wins.  Not enough for a bowl game, down from last year's 6.08 and 2012's 6.42.  This year's total was assuming they were favored in four games, one of which was the opener against NDSU.  Now the adjusted total is 5 wins, but that's based on them being favored in 3 more games (I'd guess maybe one now).  What happened?

For starters, Paul Rhoads' teams quit beating teams they were favored against.  Through four years, that was a hallmark of Rhoads teams, winning at a 77% clip.  ISU was 9-0 at home and favored.  And they upset teams at a reasonable pace, 36% again through the first 4 years.  Last year, ISU lost against UNI at home, favored.  And only won 2 of 9 games they were 'dogs in, 22%.

That's where we're starting this year.  A loss in which ISU was favored, at home.  In this post, I said the following:
The bad news – ISU needs to win EVERY game in which it is favored AND pick off 3 upsets a year to have a shot at a bowl game.
 It's the truth, and it's a lot to overcome just to be bowl eligible.

The Paul Rhoads tenure had been defined by winning games ISU is supposed to, and picking off a team or two each year they aren't supposed to.  The hope was as the upsets piled up, ISU would get more respect and be favored in more games.  Rhoads' teams would continue to win the favored games and still get upsets, eventually breaking through that 6 win ceiling.  Instead, they've regressed over the past year and a game.  ISU might pull off an upset or two this year (there will be plenty of opportunities) but without taking care of the teams they're supposed to, a bowl game isn't in the future.