You can't say this wasn't entirely unexpected. Iowa finished 4-8 in 2012, and so, no, Vegas odds aren't going to favor Iowa.
So, when the Las Vegas casino released odds for six Iowa games on Friday, the fact that Iowa was listed as the underdog probably wasn't a surprise. Against Iowa State, Michigan State, Ohio State, Northwestern, Michigan and Nebraska, the Hawkeyes are underdogs.
Again, this shouldn't be a surprise. What might be a cold pitcher of water to the face is the size of some of these numbers.
And yes, these are college football odds in the single digits of June. Choose the size of your grain of salt.
-- According to Steelestats.com, the plus-12 hung on Iowa against Northwestern is the largest spread in favor of the Wildcats since 1992, matching the plus-12 the Cats were favored by in 2000. As recently as 2011, Iowa was a 6-point favorite over Northwestern.
Incidentally, here's probably why you've considered Northwestern a giant headache in recent years. In 2006, Iowa was a 20-point favorite over NU at Kinnick Stadium. The Cats headlocked Iowa, 21-7. Then, in 2009, Iowa was a 15-point favorite. The Cats knocked Ricky Stanzi out of the game and snapped Iowa's 13-game winning streak. In 2010, Iowa was a 10-point fave and lost 21-17 at Ryan Field.
You could argue that Pat Fitzgerald has made his career on bucking the odds and pushing the Cats to the point where they are a 12-point favorite over Iowa AT KINNICK STADIUM.
-- According to Steelestats.com (a Phil Steele production), Iowa State is favored over Iowa for this first time since 2000. Since '92, the Cyclones will now have been favored against Iowa just three times -- 1999, 2000 and this fall.
The big question is whether or not this number grows. ISU's biggest number over the Hawkeyes, since '92, was minus-4 in 1999.
Iowa QBs are 2-6 in their first starts at Jack Trice Stadium during the Kirk Ferentz era, with Stanzi and Nathan Chandler (2003) being the only to come out on top. As you know, Iowa will have a new QB next season.
So, 4 points is reasonable and, perhaps, a number that will rise.
-- Golden Nugget has Iowa plus-9 against Michigan State. This is a team that Iowa beat -- granted 19-16 in double OT -- last season in East Lansing. This year, the Spartans are favored by 9 points AT KINNICK STADIUM.
OK, the all caps might be overboard. Iowa did lose five games at Kinnick last year, the most since five in 1999 (when Iowa finished 1-10 in Ferentz's first season).
That's a big swing in one year.
As far the size of the underdog, Nebraska was a 14.5-point favorite going into Kinnick last season.
For comparison going into 2013, Michigan is only a 10.5-point favorite over the Hawkeyes at Kinnick. MSU lost Le'Veon Bell and is still in search of a QB and still is a 9-point fave? This one seems strange, but 4-8 will do that.
-- Iowa is a 23-point underdog at Ohio State. In 2009, when the Hawkeyes and Buckeyes faced off in Columbus for a berth in the Rose Bowl, Iowa was a 16-point underdog.
Going into Ohio State in '03, Iowa was a 3-point underdog. In '05, it was a 7-point spread at Ohio Stadium.
Even in 2004, Ohio State was a 1-point favorite in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes won 33-7.
-- Nebraska is listed as a 14-point favorite over the Hawkeyes. In 2010, when the Huskers joined the B1G and Iowa visited Lincoln, Nebraska was a 9-point favorite.It'll be interesting to see what Vegas' over-under number is for the Hawkeyes.