Pro Football Focus is high on the Hawkeyes going into the 2021 season.

Late last week, PFF released projected win totals for every Big Ten team. In that writeup, they gave Iowa a staggering 44 percent chance to win the Big Ten West.

The Hawkeyes nearly did so a year ago, but came up just short against Northwestern. The Wildcats’ 21-20 win over Iowa ended up being the difference in who advanced to the 2020 Big Ten Championship Game.

But this season, Iowa looks like the preseason favorite to represent the West. PFF projects Iowa’s win total to be 8.4 wins.

Here’s an excerpt from PFF’s preseason analysis on Iowa:

“Removing Iowa’s first two games of 2020 — the team’s only losses — propels its coverage unit to No. 1 in the Power Five in expected points added allowed per pass attempt. Meanwhile, the team’s passing offense was as average as it could be, ranking 33rd of the 65 Power Five teams in passing efficiency.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Hawkeyes produce similar results in 2021. And considering they have one of the easier schedules in the Big Ten (10th) and are in the easier division, that could get them pretty far.”

According to PFF, the next closest team to Iowa in the Big Ten West is Wisconsin. However, they give the Badgers just a 26 percent chance of winning the division. After that, it’s Minnesota (10 percent), Northwestern (9 percent) and Illinois (6 percent).

Ohio State is the overwhelming favorite to win the Big Ten East (69 percent) and the Big Ten Championship Game (48 percent).

Iowa opens the 2021 season by hosting Indiana on Sept. 4.