BHGP: Attacking with The Mathlete

Submitted by PeterKlima on August 17th, 2010 at 11:19 AM

As Brian predicted, yesterday's UV sent BHGP into a bit of a tizzy. His points do not support his level of indignation though. To summarize his points:

1. 5 is different than 3.

2. Iowa isn't lucky because other teams were lucky too.…

In addition to missing a main point of the Iowa argument (Stanzi in the 4th), I can't say that really undermines the (somewhat widely-held) belief that Iowa will return to its traditional role in the middle of the Big Ten.



August 17th, 2010 at 1:19 PM ^

There is probably more than one person who doesn't like gambling.  I have only negbanged personal attacks on me. 

I don't mind the intensive study done by some gamblers.  I find it interesting, sad yes, but better than "your team sux, no your's does."  But, just because a team "covers the spread" or "over/under" more often than not, does not make it an inherently good team.  

In fact, don't spreads try to eliminate imbalances between the teams.  In other words, try ot make them equal before kickoff?  If the spread is designed to make the game a "coin flip," then isn't saying Iowa usually wins that coin flip just like saying Iowa is lucky?


August 17th, 2010 at 5:19 PM ^

You make it sound like all gambling is the exact same, which is just silly.  Pulling a slot lever is not the same as playing Texas Hold 'Em or betting on sports.  Two of these require strategy and research, while the other is just playing odds that are against you.  Casinos make so much money because most people have no idea what they are doing, and play games that are heavily tilted against them.  Athletic betting can be somewhat profitable if you are well read on the topic.  No matter how much you read about a slot lever, your odds will not change.


August 17th, 2010 at 12:38 PM ^

Whether or not the luck graph is garbage, it was the Iowa fans were the ones who decided to use it.  And say it proved Brian's claim that Iowa was lucky in 2009 was wrong, despite the close proximity of Iowa to "Lucky 2009".


August 17th, 2010 at 12:54 PM ^

I don't think anyone mentioned Northwestern in this thread until you did, and no one has said that Iowa is not better than Michigan.

Are you really suggesting that Iowa could cough up 6 turnovers against Indiana, require going +4 in turnover margin against Michigan ,and blocking back-to-back field goals against Northern Iowa and still expect to win all those games again? Yes, they won each of those games, and maybe you covered, but that doesn't mean they weren't fortunate.

Out of curiosity, what do you think Iowa's record will be this year?


August 17th, 2010 at 1:01 PM ^

Probably 9-3

I am thinking they lose at Arizona, like all Big 10 teams do on the road at a Pac 10 squad.

Figure they split their Wisco, OSU showdowns, with one other loss--hopefully MICH--thrown in there.

Truthfully, I think they get by Wisco. They have a pretty good history against the Badgers. And, the Big 10 title again comes down to the Iowa/OSU game. Maybe at home, the Hawks win this one.


August 17th, 2010 at 1:29 PM ^

I wouldn't trust Stanzi at all and I think the losses of Angerer and Spievey are being ridiculously understated by Iowa people. Same goes for Bulaga and Moeaki, though I suppose the argument that the O-line was shuffled a lot last year implies that the drop off won't be huge this year (as long as they don't have to shuffle again) makes some sense; I just don't buy it.

It's not that I think Iowa will be a whole lot worse than last year, I just think that the rest of the league will be much better and they won't be able to get away with as many shenanigans as they did last year. They could easily lose to Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Ohio State. As you know Northwestern can be pesky, and Indiana's weak D matches up with what I consider to be a weak Iowa Offense; and, as the Wu Tang Clan says, the [Hoosier Offense] ain't nothin' to [mess] with.

I think Iowa would do well to go 8-4 this year.


August 17th, 2010 at 1:48 PM ^

"Obliterating Penn St"  Come on, did you watch that game?   Iowa could not move the ball at all for the first 3 qtrs of that game, they were completely shut down then they got a block punt for a TD and it flipped the game.   Relying on blocked punts is not an obliteration.


August 17th, 2010 at 5:02 PM ^

The exact same argument was deplyed against Michigan State last year (winning close games do to Luck/Shenanigans/whatever). Look at Iowa's games:

  • They were in position to lose against Northern Iowa. Good FBS teams don't do that. The fact that Michigan lost to App. St, is irrelevant to that point.
  • After "crushing" Penn State, they turned around the next week and "crushed" Arkansas St by a field goal.
  • They "dominated" Michigan by two points, at home, in mighty Kinnick, while benefitting from 5 turnovers a two true freshman QBs and a notoriously vulnerable defense.
  • They pulled out a 2-point vicotry against MSU, again benefitting from an opposing defense that was terrible.
  • They got away with SIX turnovers against Indiana.
  • They had a month to prepare their elite defense built to stop the run to defeat a one dimensional offense built never to pass.

Iowa fans are thumping their chests WAY too hard based on those particular details. Their defense should be very good again this year, but I don't think they'll be as good as they were last year. If the offense is still as sloppy as they were last year, they're losing a lot more games. 

All of their 2009 wins counted last year, but let's seem them do it again. I don't think they can. That's all. If they do, I'll be wrong. End of story.


August 17th, 2010 at 7:54 PM ^

Michigan was -5 to Ohio State and -4 to Iowa; we were -12 for the year.  Going -3 over ten games isn't egregious. As a fan base we cling to the turnovers! excuse way too much. We did suck at hanging on to the ball but we were only way out of balance twice.

Regardless, my point was that level of turnover margin is not consistently achievable; even more so when you have a guy dubbed Rick-Six as your QB. So, I consider it good fortune to end up with that many extra possessions in a game. I guess I'm in the minority on that point though.


August 17th, 2010 at 9:16 PM ^

You're only addressing part of my argument. I said ending up +4 in a game when your own team coughs up the ball a lot itself requires good fortune. Sadly, I agree that Iowa coming up with 5 turnovers against Michigan isn't all that surprising, but I wasn't arguing that it was. Congratulations, you've defeated a strawman.

You can isolate on what I brought up regarding their game with Michigan if you want, but that's not the point I've brought to bear regarding Iowa's good fortune in 2009. I doubt Ferentz wants to rely on squeezing 2 point victories out of +4 turnover margins, or blocking back-to-back field goals against an FCS team at the end of regulation, or overcoming 6 turnovers against Big Ten competition (any team) again.  Do you think BHGP would sign up to relive any of those scenarios this year or ever for that matter? Even Ohio State couldn't overcome 5 turnovers against Purdue, let alone 6.

Take the Michigan game out of it, Iowa still was REALLY lucky against Northern Iowa and Indiana. Turn those games into losses, as they easily could've been, and you have an 8-4 team who lost 5 starters that were taken in the first 4 rounds of the NFL draft. Point is, the luck Iowa benefitted from in two games (at least) drastically colors many people's perceptions on how robust Iowa actually is.

I think they're an 8-4 team, sue me.

steve sharik

August 17th, 2010 at 1:20 PM ^

Keep doubting Iowa people.


You think Iowa will go 4-0 as a road dog again this year?  How many times will they be a road dog?  At this point, never.  They play OSU, MSU, PSU, and Wisky at home.  

Graph or no graph, I have eyes, and they tell me Iowa was a very lucky team last year.  In addition, they weren't expected to be good so they snuck up on some people (ahem, Penn State).  They were also fundamentally sound and solid overall.  Add it all up and you get 11-2 Orange Bowl Champs.

This year they will still be fundamentally sound and solid overall, but they're sneaking up on no one (they'd better watch out when they go to 'Zona--Big Ten teams have never done well in early season Pac-10 trips) and they will be hard pressed to have that many narrow escapes two years in a row.


August 17th, 2010 at 1:39 PM ^

Iowa went 9-4 in 2008, finishing their regular season by giving the Minnesota Gophers their worst ever home defeat in Metrodome. If you didn't expect them to be good in 2009, you simply weren't paying attention, and it's not fair to blame Iowa for your inattention. Heck, if Iowa's 2008 team were named "MIchigan," they'd have started preseason top 5 in 2009. And unlike Michigan, Iowa actually escaped defeat against a FCS team in their opener. Doesn't matter how it happened - at some point, it stops being luck when a team continually wins in the same manner.

Everyone here just likes to call it luck because THEY. DON'T. RESPECT. IOWA. Which is fine, just be honest about it. When your team wins it's due to talent and execution. When the other team wins, it's down to luck and happenstance. That's intellectually dishonest and disrespectful, but it's also a way for the fanbase of a team that's gone 8-16 the past two years to feel good about itself.


August 17th, 2010 at 1:44 PM ^

Or when you know an oblong ball bounces 4 different times at the perfect angle to bounce into your guys hands it's luck.  Look no one here is saying Iowa isn't a good football team. They are well-coached, have a stingy defense, and a QB who performed under pressure. They also lose some pieces off of that defense and a chunk of their OL.  It is fine to doubt whether or not Iowa can repeat that success. It has nothing to do with Michigan's football record.


August 17th, 2010 at 1:49 PM ^

Iowa has gone 20-6 over the past two years, and like I just posted, lost those 6 games by 22 points total. You can question whatever you want, as long as you like, but the reasonable, intellectual position to take, is to assume that Iowa is going to continue winning 9-11 games a year until they do otherwise.


August 17th, 2010 at 1:46 PM ^

Oh, and another way to look at Iowa:

In 2008, they lost their four games by 1 (to Pitt), by 5 (NW), by 3 (MSU), and by 3 (Illinois). So, I count that they were 22 points, over six games, from going 26-0 the past two years.

Yeah - real lucky team. Maybe they're just really good.


August 17th, 2010 at 3:57 PM ^

Were thoseIowa numbers against the spread? If so, I don't see that they have any validity here. This is simply about w-l records, not about w-l against they spread.


August 17th, 2010 at 4:47 PM ^

Iowa is 20-6 SU the last two years with 2 postseason wins including a BCS Bowl victory. Is that valid enough for you?

The 13-2-1 number is the ATS record the Big 10 Picks diary series has over 2 years betting on Iowa. I'd have to double check, but I believe the games they lost, but still covered the spread or pushed during this stretch is 2. The OSU game a year ago. And, the push (the tie in the ATS record) on the +3 line to the Illini in 2008. Man, thats 14-2 SU in those games. That seems off by a couple games, so dont quote me on that.


August 17th, 2010 at 12:49 PM ^

..the column was pretty funny, considering how challanging writing seems to be for him.  If I were an Iowa fan, I would be laughing pretty hard.  However, I am not an Iowa fan, so I'm not, but it does bring up an interesting possibility:

If BHGP plans on making their "Maize Pants" podcast with Maize and Brew a weekly thing, they really need to invite Brian to be their guest this week, with "Hawkeye State."  This has the potential to be really, really funny.  Brian's logic would befuddle HS's ad hominem corn to a point where HS might not even know how badly he was defeated.

At any rate, this could be the beginning of a really fun blog rivalry.


August 17th, 2010 at 12:53 PM ^

A disporportional, personal attack responding to a fairly tame article from Brian.  Maybe he should see someone about his issues. 


August 17th, 2010 at 1:59 PM ^

So remember when people would post somewhat reasonable critiques up and not get mocked for it?  No?

Dissent is ok.  It is alright for somebody else on the vast internets to disagree with what I thought was a semi-throwaway paragraph in a daily UV.  All it is is Brian's e-pinion.  He can be wrong.  Iowa fans can disagree with him.  Going beyond that, I think Brian is a big boy who can handle his own business in BLOGWARS.

Brian said X.  BHGP says Y.  Hokay then.  If you bother to read the article, you'll notice that they read Mgoblog enough to know 2 of the all time greatest posts ("The New Math", and "You Were Killed By A Bear and I am Sad").  Clearly they are out to destroy Mgoblog as we know it.

It's not just this post, but can we not go all RCMB every time something like this happens?  it's getting kind of old.


August 17th, 2010 at 2:33 PM ^

I'm perfectly calm.......  Calmer than you are, dude.


Seriously though, your reply actually supports the discussion in this post.  Even though there are some people calling for a BLOGFIGHT, there is a lot of factual disagreement and dissent.

Reasonable critiques as you put it abound.  Ridiculous RCMB hate speech is hard to find in here.

We can have a good back and forth over an issue (Iowa in 2010) and that is what is happening.



August 17th, 2010 at 5:28 PM ^

Have you guys noticed Brain link BHGP ad nauseum? That they link him all the time? That they appear probably twice a year on Brian's podcasts? That Brian goes and appears on theirs?

Dudes, their e-friends. This is a disagreement. Not something I'm sure either of them are taking umbrage about, and certainly nothing YOU should take umbrage about on Brian's behalf.