One last time, into the
breach college football poll rankings... After Iowa wrapped up its 49-24 obliteration of USC in the Holiday Bowl to put the finishing touches on a 10-win season, we knew that they would be ranked in the season-ending polls. The only question was where they would be ranked. With the season in the books (congrats, LSU), now we know: #15.
Final AP Top 25
At #15, Iowa is behind four other Big Ten teams: Ohio State (3), Penn State (9), Minnesota (10), and Wisconsin (11). Top 10 Minnesota? What a time to be alive. That's the Gophers' first Top 10 ranking in the final AP poll in 60 years. Untangling the Penn State-Minnesota-Iowa knot is a bit tricky, considering that Penn State beat Iowa but lost to Minnesota. But Penn State and Minnesota both benefited from recording wins over more notable (or at least higher-ranked) opposition in their bowls, #15 Memphis and #9 Auburn, respectively.
Regardless, Iowa's #15 final ranking is their highest since being ranked #9 at the end of the 2015 season. It's the eighth time under Kirk Ferentz that Iowa has ended the year ranked and the sixth time under Ferentz that Iowa has finished the year ranked in the Top 15, after 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, and 2015. It's also the first time that Iowa has managed to wire-to-wire in the AP Poll under Ferentz and the first time they've done it at all since they did it under Hayden in 1991. Iowa was ranked #20 in the AP preseason poll and they were ranked every week of the regular season. Their high water mark was #14 at the end of September, while the closest they came to exiting the poll was falling to #23 after their loss to Penn State (and again after their loss to Wisconsin). This is also the first time that Iowa's finished the season ranked in the AP Top 25 in consecutive years since accomplishing that feat in 2008 and 2009.
Here's how the Big Ten teams stack up in terms of Top 10/15/25 finishes since Ferentz's arrival at Iowa (1999).
|TEAM||TOP 25||TOP 15||TOP 10|
* All of Maryland's Top 25 finishes occurred when they were in the ACC.
** All but two of Nebraska's Top 25 finishes occurred when they were in the Big 12; none of their Top 15/Top 10 finishes occurred in the Big 10.
*** Rutgers' only Top 25 finish occurred when they were in the Big East.
Only Ohio State and Wisconsin have more Top 10 finishes than the Hawkeyes. Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Michigan State are the only teams with more Top 15 finishes. Not bad.
The losses were frustrating this year and it stung to miss out on the Big Ten West again. But Iowa managed to have a lot of success this season and they ended things on a high note, which is a pretty satisfying way to wrap things up.