History. Iowa is 9-0 for the second time in program history, and also the second time in seven seasons. That's a seriously big deal. You'll hear plenty of intrepid souls tell you it's "not good enough for the committee" or somehow otherwise cheapened, but if 9-0 weren't worth celebrating, why doesn't it happen way more often?
Since Iowa's first 9-0 start in 2009, Ohio State is the only other Big Ten team who can claim two 9-0 starts (2012, 2013) and nobody else can even claim one.
Of course, setting the Wayback Machine to 2009 doesn't really give you much of a sense of history, and it also just so happens to be the most flattering parameter for Iowa. So if we push it back to 2000, here's the updated list:
5: Ohio State (2013, 2012, 2007, 2006, 2002)
2: Iowa (2015, 2009)
1: Penn State (2008*)
1: Michigan (2006)
1: Rutgers (2006)
1: Wisconsin (2004)
1: Nebraska (2001)
Still some rare air. Let's go one step further and look at how far back you have to go to find two 9-0 starts for every Big Ten team.
LESS THAN 10 YEARS
Ohio State (2013, 2012), Iowa (2015, 2009)
LESS THAN 20 YEARS
Penn State (2008, 1999), Wisconsin (2004, 1998) Michigan (2006, 1997), Nebraska (2001, 1997)
LESS THAN 40 YEARS
Rutgers (2006, 1976)
LESS THAN 70 YEARS
Maryland (1976, 1955) Michigan State (1952, 1951)
OVER A CENTURY
Minnesota (1904, 1903)
ONLY DID IT ONCE, AND DURING WW2, WHEN COLLEGE FOOTBALL WAS WEIRD
HAVE NEVER STARTED A SEASON 9-0 IN RECORDED HISTORY
Illinois, Indiana, Northwestern
I almost feel like Rutgers shouldn't be on the list, as it was playing a preposterously easy schedule in the '70s as an independent, where most of the I-A teams it faced were Ivy League foes with losing records. Rutgers went 11-0 and wasn't invited to a bowl. Yeah. But I guess it counts.
Also, there were decades straight where these teams played eight-game schedules, so while Minnesota's last 9-0 start was in 1904, the Gophers won 18 straight games between 1939 and 1942, including two consecutive 8-0 seasons.
But this? A totally unblemished run with a national championship on the table, this deep through a season? There are a whole lot of Big Ten fans who'll just have to take our word on what it's like, as they've never personally witnessed it for their teams.
Feels good, man. Feels good.
As for the game itself, look. the last time Indiana got the ball back with a chance to tie or take the lead was with 10 minutes left, down 28-20. The Hoosiers went backwards seven yards and punted from their own 18, and their win probability was never heard from again. That's a pretty decent showing by the Hawkeyes against #CHAOSTEAM, who were on Ohio State's doorstep at the end of regulation before a botched snap ruined a chance to tie, and who punted away their last chance to tie or take the lead against Michigan State with virtually the same time remaining (9:19) as it did against Iowa (9:13). When Nate Sudfeld is running that team, it makes teams work, and Iowa worked. When that onside kick was sitting free for a split-second, it's okay if you barfed. But Iowa did what it had to do.
This should be a week of decent news for the Hawkeyes. Barring some exquisite disrespect from the Playoff Committee, Iowa's ranking should rise on Tuesday. Jordan Canzeri is close enough to returning that he went through limited warmups against Indiana; Iowa would appreciate his presence in the backfield, especially with Akrum Wadley's ankle slightly dinged up. LeShun Daniels Jr. does what he does, but he doesn't do everything and Canzeri's big-play ability and passing game versatility help Iowa's offense keep pressure on opposing linebackers, especially since C.J. Beathard's mobility is effectively shot for the year. And perhaps the best news of all is that Iowa goes from facing the Big Ten's best offense (Indiana, 461 yards per game, No. 30 nationally) to one of its worst (Minnesota, 359 yards per game, No. 102 nationally). So while it certainly wasn't fun watching the Hoosiers top 400 yards and sustain five scoring drives, Iowa fans shouldn't expect to go through all that again on Saturday.
Go Iowa Awesome.