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Iowa Football: Hawkeyes Open 2021 Season Ranked 18th in AP Poll

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For the 9th time in the Ferentz era and the 26th time in program history, the Hawkeyes enter the season ranked in the AP Top-25.

NCAA Football: Big Ten Conference Media Days
Kirk Ferentz has his 9th Iowa team ranked in the AP Top-25 entering the season, one shy of Hayden Fry.
Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

We are now less than two weeks away from the first college football game of the 2021 season and only a few extra days away from our first official game week for the Iowa Hawkeyes. On Monday, we learned just where the Hawkeyes will be ranked in the AP Poll for that season opener against the Indiana Hoosiers and Hawkeye fans should feel pretty good about how things sit.

This marks the third consecutive season the Hawkeyes will enter the season ranked in the pre-season AP Poll. Iowa came into 2020 ranked 24th and climbed throughout the year to finish at 16th. In 2019, the Hawkeyes entered the year at 20th in the AP, climbed as high at 14th and finished the year 16th in the nation.

The Hawkeyes have entered the season ranked in the AP top-25 a total of 26 times in program history. In 14 of those seasons, Iowa has ended the year lower than where they started with 11 teams ending the year unranked altogether. Notably, the last time came in 2016, which is the last time Iowa was ranked higher than 18th nationally entering the year (17th). Iowa’s highest preseason ranking came in 1961 when the Hawkeyes entered the year at #1 in the nation, but finished the season unranked in the first year after the end of the Forest Evashevski era.

Here’s a look at the full AP Poll for the opening of the 2021 season:

1) Alabama, 1548 points (47 first place votes)
2) Oklahoma, 1462 (6)
3) Clemson, 1447 (6
4) Ohio State, 1393 (1)
5) Georgia, 1364 (3)
6) Texas A&M, 1223
7) Iowa State, 1160
8) Cincinnati, 1014
9) Notre Dame, 1009
10) North Carolina, 999
11) Oregon, 968
12) Wisconsin, 743
13) Florida, 728
14) Miami (FL), 663
15) Southern Cal, 660
16) LSU, 631
17) Indiana, 549
18) Iowa, 513
19) Penn State, 456
20) Washington, 449
21) Texas, 350
22) Coastal Carolina, 232
23) Louisiana, 208
24) Utah, 176
25) Arizona State, 125

Others Receiving Votes (Big Ten-only): ~32) Michigan, 12; ~33) Northwestern, 8

Noted Notables

  • Iowa’s season opener is not only against a Big Ten opponent, but also a top-25 opponent as Indiana enters the year ranked #17 in both the AP and Coaches Poll.
  • In week two, the Hawkeyes head to #7 Iowa State, which is ranked 8th in the Coaches Poll.
  • The Big Ten has 5 total teams ranked in the AP Top-25 (OSU, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa and Penn State) with Ohio State the lone top-10 team at #4.
  • The Sun Belt has only one fewer team ranked in the top-25 (2) than the Big 12 (3); two of the Big 12’s three ranked opponents are slated to exit for the SEC while the lone remaining Big 12 team lost to one of those Sun Belt teams last season at home.
  • The SEC is tied with the Big Ten with five total teams ranked, but has three in the top-10 with Alabama at #1, Georgia at #5 and Texas A&M at #6.

As a reminder, here’s how things looked in the initial USA Today Coaches Poll, which was released just under a week ago.

1) Alabama, 1621 points (63 first place votes)
2) Clemson, 1508
3) Oklahoma, 1481 (2)
4) Ohio State, 1435
5) Georgia, 1386
6) Texas A&M, 1286
7) Notre Dame, 1139
8) Iowa State, 1131
9) North Carolina, 999
10) Cincinnati, 979
11) Florida, 870
12) Oregon, 842
13) LSU, 664
14) Southern Cal, 655
15) Wisconsin, 654
16) Miami (FL), 575
17) Indiana, 573
18) Iowa, 554
19) Texas, 427
20) Penn State, 422
21) Washington, 404
22) Oklahoma State, 216
23) Louisiana, 153
24) Coastal Carolina, 150
25) Ole Miss, 149

Others Receiving Votes (Big Ten-only): ~27) Northwestern, 120; ~33) Michigan 30

The AP and the Coaches have converged on several names, including the Hawkeyes. Do you agree? Where do they have it wrong?