So after a slog of a win over now 1-3 Colorado State, was Iowa punished by either the pollsters for either the AP or Coaches Poll? Friends, they were not. Iowa even went up in the Coaches Poll rankings, inching from #6 to #5 in the newest rankings. Welcome to poll logic, where winning is (usually) the only thing that matters.
The new AP rankings:
While Iowa didn't move from the #5 spot in the new AP rankings, there was movement elsewhere in the Top 10. Penn State and Oklahoma flipped spots, with the Nittany Lions jumping to #4 (and becoming the highest-ranked Big Ten team in the AP rankings) and Oklahoma slipping to #6 after a narrow win over West Virginia. Why was Oklahoma punished more than Iowa for a close win? It may have been a market correction based on a few weeks -- OU scuffled against Nebraska last week before scuffling against the Mountaineers this week. And if you're just looking at the final scores, Iowa won by 10 and Oklahoma won by three.
As for Penn State jumping Iowa... so be it. For one, that situation will obviously sort itself out directly in a few weeks when Penn State visits Iowa on October 9th. But even based on the existing results, Penn State has probably looked a bit better in dispatching their opposition than Iowa has -- and their win over Auburn carries a bit more luster than Iowa's wins over Indiana and Iowa State, since (1) SEC and (2) the Hoosiers and Cyclones are each 2-2 now. Behind Iowa, the Top 10 welcomed Arkansas back to the Top 10 for the first time in a LONG time and Notre Dame also bounced back into the Top 10 after their blowout win over Wisconsin, even if their final margin of victory was padded by a few late pick-sixes
And the new Coaches Poll rankings:
Texas A&M was a big tumbler here, going from #5 down to #13 after losing to Arkansas. Iowa replaced them at the #5 spot in the rankings, with Penn State sliding up two spots to #6 as well. Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Florida, and Ohio State finished out the Top 10 here.
The absurdity of the Coaches Poll rankings can really be felt near the bottom of the Top 25, though. Clemson tumbled 12 spots to #19, but remains ranked in the Top 20 despite being just 2-2 on the season and looking unconvincing even in their wins because... Clemson. Meanwhile, the team that knocked them off on Saturday -- NC State -- isn't even in the Top 25, but is third in the Others Receiving Votes category. Oh, and UCLA remains ranked ahead of Fresno State, even though the Bulldogs, well, beat the Bruins two weeks ago. Do not look to the Coaches Poll for anything resembling logic or good sense.
Speaking of the Others Receiving Votes category, Iowa's next opponent, the 4-0 Maryland Terrapins, is sitting high there in both the AP and Coaches Polls. The Terps got 70 points in the AP rankings, good for an unofficial ranking of 27th, while they had 59 points in the Coaches Poll rankings, worth an unofficial ranking of 30th there. They're going to be a legitimate test for Iowa, especially on the road, at night, and with a short week to prepare.