Yesterday, I had a post saying how Phil Steele was a college football sportswriter’s buddy because his magazine is chock full of statistics.
Guys like me — you know, the big-picture geniuses (yeah, right) — don’t have the time or inclination to search out such arcane details. But that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy having them at our fingertips.
Well, Steele’s daily countdown of his Top 30 got to Iowa Thursday, at No. 14. With it came a pdf file of his preseason magazine’s report on the Hawkeyes. Here it is.
It makes one’s head spin, especially if you don’t have the code for all of Steele’s abbreviations. But just in one gazing, I found 10 things that stuck out to me for one reason or another. Here they are:
1. Iowa held two teams to under 100 yards passing last season. They were good teams. Georgia Tech and … Ohio State.
2. The underdog has won the last five games in the Northwestern-Iowa series. Northwestern was that underdog four times.
3. Iowa was one of just six teams in the nation to hold opponents under 50 percent in pass completions (with 49.6 percent) in 2009. The Hawkyes had yielded 55.2 percent completions or more in each of the previous six years.
4. The Hawkeyes had just two fewer turnovers than their foes last year. That is a statistical anomaly for a team that went 11-2.
5. Statistics deceive, of course. In 2002, when Iowa went 8-0 in the Big Ten, its opponents had 102 first downs and it had just 66 in the first four conference games.
6. When Iowa played away from Iowa City, it covered the Nevada pointspread all six times.
7. Kirk Ferentz won 12 games in his three years as Maine’s head coach, one more than he did in all of last season.
8. The last team to hold Iowa to single-digit scoring was … think about this and I’ll get to it … was … not someone you would expect … Purdue. That was in 2007.
9. Iowa held no Big Ten team under 200 yards, but limited Georgia Tech to 155. The Yellowjackets averaged more yards per game than any Big Ten squad.
10. Iowa scored seven fewer points per game in 2009 than in 2008, 23.2 to 30.3. That 2008 team, which lost four games by a total of 12 points, was pretty good.