Kirk Ferentz? Really?
In Ferentz's fourth through his seventh seasons during his tenure as the Hawkeye head coach, when his teams amassed a win-loss record of 31-7, it looked like he had established Iowa as one of the elite programs in the country and in the Big Ten. That record was leaps and bounds above the 11-24 record he led the Hawkeyes to in his first three seasons. However, since Iowa's 2004 season ended, Iowa has regressed over the past three seasons (2005-2007) to a state somewhere between the 1999-2001 seasons when they were horrible and the 2002-2004 seasons when they were excellent. In other words, they are now a mediocre team as their 19-18 record declares them to be.
Despite how their record regressed, it is hard to point out exactly why Iowa has struggled using the slightly advanced football statistics that I do. Outside of points scored per game, when from 2002-2004 Iowa scored 30.3 points per game and 24.4 points per game from 2005-2007, there was no other statistically significant difference between the two eras, offensively speaking. It is almost as if Iowa was lucky from 2002-2004 to score as many points as they did, maybe they had better field position due to special teams and defense, and from 2005-2007 the Hawkeyes are merely regressing to the mean or not converting the highest leveraged down and yardage situations.
On the defensive side of the ball, there was more of an advantage for the 2002-2004 Hawkeyes, but not exactly a decisive one. Those Hawkeyes held opponents to only 2.6 yards per rush, significantly better than the 3.4 yards per rush the 2005-2007 Hawkeyes did. Also, they held opponents to 6.2 yards per pass attempt to the 2005-2007 teams who held opponents to 6.6 yards per pass attempt and a significantly lower completion percentage (55.7% to 59.2%). However, since yards per pass attempt are more highly correlated to points than either completion percentage of yards per rush, that explains why the 2002-2004 Hawkeyes only allowed 2.1 less points per game than the 2005-2007 Hawkeyes (17.8 to 19.9). That point difference was enough to make it less likely for the Hawkeyes to win games since they were averaging 5.9 points less per game, which means the total point shift was a total of 8.0 points per game. Hence, mediocrity.
Still, the 2005-2007 Hawkeyes have solidified themselves as the second of the three three-year data sets I have by beating out the 1999-2001 Hawkeyes on defensive categories and also point difference. The 2005-2007 Hawkeyes have been significantly superior to the 1999-2001 Hawkeyes yards per pass attempt allowed (6.6 to 7.6), yards per rush (3.4 to 4.3), and yards per catch (11.2 to 13.5). Those differences go a long way into explaining why the 1999-2001 Hawkeyes were outscored 6.5 points per game and the 2005-2007 Hawkeyes have outscored opponents by 4.5 points per game.
Michigan football have already rid themselves of one coach who was unable to maintain an elite football program, despite having all the advantages needed to buy a dynasty program in college football. There is no reason why they should want to replace one coach who is only good enough to lead mediocre teams with another one, even if Ferentz did have three oustanding seasons as the Iowa head football coach. Remember, those three seasons were three seasons ago and his successive teams have yet to have a stretch that good.
Note: Statistical data do not include Iowa's 2001 game against Minnesota, which they won 59-16.
Labels: College Football