The Big Ten Media poll for 2013 was not kind to the Iowa Hawkeyes, but then again I haven’t found a publication or group of pundits who have been.
Two writers who cover each of the 12 Big Ten schools plust two ESPN writers who focus on the Big Ten were polled by The Cleveland Plain Dealer voted and here is what it looked like:
1. Ohio State (all 26 votes)
3. Penn State
3. Michigan State
12 writers picked Ohio State to beat Nebraska for the title
11 writers picked Ohio State to beat Michigan for the title
2 writers picked Ohio State to beat Michigan State for the title
1 writer picked Michigan to beat Ohio State
I’d love to weigh in and say that Iowa is undervalued here and everyone is overlooking the Hawks, but I can’t come up with a scenario by where I’d feel comfortable picking the Hawks to finish any higher than 5th. If they finished 4th, they will have overachieved and one of Nebraska, Michigan, Michigan State or Northwestern underachieved.
Michigan plays a tougher schedule this year. Michigan State retools on offense, especially in the backfield as they have some questions marks there. Northwestern has was less than six minutes away from going undefeated last year.
Before you start firing off hate mail or posts directed to/at me or others, take a look at this; the preseason magazine consensus has Iowa no better than 5th in the Legends and 6th in a few instances.
Here is your homework assignment, should you choose to accept it; can you find some publication/media outlet who picks Iowa to finish higher than 5th? If so, come back and post the link.
EDIT: My friend Dave Bartoo at CFBMatrix.com has Iowa better than 5th. He doesn’t exactly have his standings posted, but he thinks Iowa should win between 7 and 8 games, based on his advanced statistical modeling that takes into account recruiting, home effect, coaching effect and more. Check out his Iowa report here, with one caveat; Iowa’s net coaching effect has a NEGATIVE impact on the schedule, as he sees it.
Also, Scott Dochterman of The Gazette is calling for 7-5 while Marc Morehouse is calling for 6-6. You can listen to their in depth, game-by-game breakdown at their On Iowa podcast linked here. I’ll be tossing out my game by game prediction here in a few days.