After two straight weekends of 40-plus point performances, a 5-1 record, a burgeoning passing attack that more resembles a Big 12 Air Raid offense than a Kirk Ferentz run-heavy staple, and a second-consecutive wild weekend of upsets in college football, the Iowa Hawkeyes are back in multiple Top 25 rankings.
Iowa is ranked very generously at 19 in the AP Poll, ahead of Washington State, Michigan State, Wisconsin(!), Mississippi State, South Florida, and Cincinnati. That’s a lot of good teams! It’s the highest the program has been ranked since Week 3 of 2016, when they were ranked 13.
The Hawks are also ranked No. 22 in the Coaches Poll, ahead of Colorado, Stanford and Washington State, respectively. So, I know what you’re probably wondering: how long will this realistically last? How high can the Hawkeyes climb?
Well, I’m sure you know it, but for the sake of less clicks, here’s the next few games on the schedule: next weekend vs. Maryland, at Penn State, at Purdue, and vs. Northwestern. So many of us penciled in that Penn State game as an automatic loss, but who knows now? I also recall being skeptical that Nate Stanley would be able to follow up his performance from last year. Clearly so far, he has, so who knows whether that loss we all preemptively predicted will even occur. I’ve honestly stopped thinking too deeply about what can happen with this team. It’s more fun when my job drops to the floor at a trick fake field goal or Nate Stanley throwing downfield bombs late in the fourth quarter of a blowout.
For what it’s worth as well, Pat Forde wrote in his Sunday column that he considers Ohio State, Michigan, and Iowa as the Big Ten’s sole three contenders for a spot in the College Football Playoff. Is that a long shot? Absolutely. But hey, there’s something to be said about being in the conversation.
This has been a weirdly delightful two weeks of football after a devastating loss to Wisconsin, and this ranking is definitely earned. Honestly, the Hawks should have been there last weekend, too, but alas. This season is proving to be very interesting, let’s keep the good times rolling.