The bar for the 2013 Iowa Hawkeyes and their head coach Kirk Ferentz has to be considered low following their disastrous 4-8 record last season.
It would be surprising if anybody picked Iowa to win more than six games this season.
It is worth considering, however, what the over/under is on Iowa's win total based on the preseason previews which have begun rolling in.
Firstly, not all of the previews used indicated how they thought the Hawkeyes would finish record-wise.
In fact, one of them only predicted what the bowl lineup would look like—hint, Iowa wasn't picked to make a bowl. So there is some conjecture about where Iowa would finish record-wise in the preview.
Specifically, the Hawkeyes were considered a four-win team if they were in 11th or 12th place in the Big Ten. They were a five-win team if put in 10th place, and a six-win team if in eighth or ninth place.
No other preview that I could find had them any higher than eighth.
Secondly, different previews used different criteria for their predictions. Two used a formula, one used a computer and the rest used a holistic approach.
Lastly, most previews in general tend to be short sighted. They are often just a recycling of how the teams finished the previous season, teamed with a minor adjustment based on the strength or weakness of their returning starters and recruiting class.
After all, who predicted Iowa's collapse last year? Who predicted Michigan State would go 6-6? Northwestern 10-2? Wisconsin 7-5?
None of the "experts" even came close.
With that said, the following previews were used: Collegefootballnews.com, athlonsports.com, ESPN, Jerry Palm via CBSSports.com, Ohio State blog elevenwarriors.com, footballstudyhall.com, the Detroit Free Press, Andrew Logue of Hawkcentral.com, NewsnetNebraska and Tom Dienhart of BTN.com.
The two most generous previews—NewnetNebraska and Dienhart—have Iowa sitting at eighth place in the conference.
The least generous—elevenwarriors.com and footballstudyhall.com—have the Hawkeyes dead last.
The mean win total for all of the previews was 4.7. As betting firms use either whole or half numbers for their over/under tallies, I think it's fair to round down.
4.5 wins should be Iowa's over/under for the 2013 season.
Moreover, if I were a betting man, I'd take the over on the Hawkeyes.
This is not to say they will pull off seven-or-more wins, but, for whatever my opinion is worth, I am more comfortable saying they'll win five or more games than saying they'll win four or fewer.
Regardless, 4.5 wins is not where the Iowa over/under should be in the 15th year of Kirk Ferentz's tenure.