The Ubben Effect: Why Cyclone Fans Aren't Wrong for Complaining

***Note: Parts of this article have been sent to Ubben through his Mailbag, so you may or may not see some of this come Friday***

As an aspiring sports writer attending Iowa State, I try to stay as current as I can with what the media is saying about the Big 12 and such. As a born Hawkeye fan, I have roamed around Adam Rittenberg's B1G blog for a few years and have more recently been into Ubben's blogging of the Big 12. The two blogs seem to be covering the same types of things, but with seemingly much more bias in the Ubben department.

I am not saying it because I dislike Ubbs, because he seems to do a pretty good job covering events and overall is a pretty good writer. But when it comes to predictions and general team analyses, Iowa State fans feel like he is putting out some pretty biased material.

He has even acknowledged that ISU fans seem to give him more flak than other fan bases, although WVU fans seem to want that title for themselves as a new member. However, being somewhat biased towards Iowa State myself, I felt that if Ubben was truly giving Iowa State the short end of the stick, I would be able to prove it.

Seeing that Ubbs has Iowa State currently going 2-6 (0-5) through Week 10, I felt I needed to see how accurate he has been through the years. I went back to 2010 and figured out his weekly predictions for all eight Big 12 teams that have been around that long. Then, I compared each of Ubben's predicted record to their actual records to figure his overrated and underrated teams.... and now I understand the hate.

Team: Ubben's prediction (actual record) = +/- wins Ubben over/underrated (+/- wins per season Ubben over/underrated)

Oklahoma: 34-3 (30-7) = +4 wins (+1.3 per season)

Texas: 22-14 (20-16) = +2 wins (+0.7)

Oklahoma St: 29-7 (28-8) = +1 win (+0.3)

Kansas: 6-30 (6-30) = EVEN (+0.0)

Texas Tech: 17-19 (19-17) = -2 wins (-0.7)

Kansas State: 25-11 (28-8) = -3 wins (-1.0)

Baylor: 20-16 (23-13) = -3 wins (-1.0)

Iowa State: 11-25 (17-19) = -6 wins (-2.0)

Yes, that is Ubben predicting two less wins per season on average for the Cyclones. The closest to being so underrated are K-State and Baylor; two teams who had unexpected 9- to 11-win seasons in that span, and they were only half as underrated.

Oklahoma is no surprise as the overrated team, being one of the most nationally overrated teams of this decade. I don't blame Ubben so much for predicting 11- win seasons and only receiving 10-win seasons. Texas is no surprise either with the dip in wins in 2010.

But back to Iowa State..... what happened? Well, a lot of "I just don't see 5-6 wins" from Ubben and a lot more 5-6 win-seasons from the Cyclones. Here is the timeline of Ubben's failed predictions:


  • Predicted worse record (overall and conference) than Kansas and Colorado (predicted 4-8)
  • Finished ahead of both Kansas and Colorado in conference (3-5) and tied Colorado with 5-7 overall record


  • Predicted 3-9 regular season
  • Finished 6-6 regular season


  • Predicted 4-8 and loss to Iowa in Iowa City
  • Finished 6-6 and beat Iowa

And the man still refuses to come to Ames. Whether it's lack of confidence in the Cyclones or just overall bias, Ubben doesn't understand what is going on in Ames, and he doesn't seem to be willing to try to figure it out. One stop at an ISU tailgate and a chance to see 56,800 screaming as the Cyclone Weather Alert sounds can change a man's mind, in my opinion.



While observing how underrated Ubbs had Iowa State, I wondered if applying his own overrated/underrated spreads to his actual predictions would correctly pick teams' records.... and it actually did. I just rounded the (+/- per season) for each team to the nearest whole number and added or subtracted it from Ubben's predicted record. For example, in 2012:

Oklahoma: 11-1 (subtract 1) 10-2 = Actual record

Texas: 9-3 (subtract 1) 8-4 = Actual record

Oklahoma St: 8-4 (no change) 8-4 = 1-win off

Kansas: 3-9 (no change) 3-9 = 2-wins off

Texas Tech: 5-7 (add 1) 6-6 = 1-win off

Kansas State: 10-2 (add 1) 11-1 = Actual record

Baylor: 6-6 (add 1) 7-5 = Actual record

Iowa State: 4-8 (add 2) 6-6 = Actual record

For those of you not following, the first record is Ubben's predicted team record for 2012. The number in parentheses is the average wins over or under per year Ubben predicts each team. The second record is the new predicted record. The results? 5 out of 8 records 100% correct and only 4 wins off as a whole. Ubben: 0 out of 8 records correct and was 11 wins off.

So, I will be using Ubben's predictions this season to make my own based on his own past mistakes. If the trend continues, I predict at LEAST 4 wins from the Cyclones this year (yay?)!


And as a complete side question to Ubben if he happens to stumble across this: If you truly believe Iowa State will go 2-6 (0-5) in it's first 8 games, what makes you think this year will be different than the last 4 seasons? Under Rhoads, the Cyclones have gone 18-14 in their first 8 games of the season, never going into their 9th game with a losing record.

You have been slightly terribly wrong the past 3 seasons you have made predictions on your blog, yet each year you predict the Cyclones to lose, lose, lose. With the most anticipated Iowa State offense in Rhoads' tenure and a young but deep and fast defense (and possibly the best punter in the nation), what makes you think 2013 will be the year the Cyclones reach their low of lows under Rhoads?

FanPosts are written by members of the WRNL community, not the WRNL staff. Any opinions expressed in this FanPost are the author's only.