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Iowa Football: Hawkeyes Ranked in Final AP Poll

For the fourth straight time, Iowa finishes the year ranked inside the top-25.

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Kentucky at Iowa
Will the Hawkeyes be better in 2022?
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Iowa Hawkeyes ended their 2021 season with disappointment. It was a somewhat fitting finish to an up and down season that saw the Hawkeyes outperform through the first half of the year, climbing to as high as #2 in the AP poll before dropping back-to-back games to Purdue and Wisconsin to drop precipitously.

But Iowa rattled off four straight wins to finish the regular season at 10-2 and win the Big Ten West for the second time since the conference split into divisions. Then the Hawkeyes were blasted by the Michigan Wolverines in the Big Ten Championship and any luster for the season wore off. That stigma carried into the Citrus Bowl where the Hawkeyes squandered a 4th quarter lead with the offense blowing an opportunity at a game-winning drive on a Spencer Petras interception.

That’s football.

After the back-to-back losses, the Hawkeyes again find themselves falling the final polls. The AP announced their end of season rankings on Tuesday morning after the world watched the Georgia Bulldogs end their national championship drought by taking down Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide 33-18 on Monday night.

The Hawkeyes come in at #23 in the final poll. That’s down six spots from the pre-bowl season poll and eight spots from the final regular season poll. Iowa entered the 2021 season ranked 18th in the AP and never dropped out. The final ranking is Iowa’s lowest of the year. The Hawkeyes are the lowest ranked 10-win team from a power five conference.

Here’s a look at the full AP poll to end the season.

  1. Georgia (14-1)
  2. Alabama (13-2)
  3. Michigan (12-2)
  4. Cincinnati (13-1)
  5. Baylor (12-1)
  6. Ohio State (11-2)
  7. Oklahoma State (12-2)
  8. Notre Dame (11-2)
  9. Michigan State (11-2)
  10. Oklahoma (11-2)
  11. Ole Miss (10-3)
  12. Utah (10-4)
  13. Pittsburgh (11-3)
  14. Clemson (10-3)
  15. Wake Forest (11-3)
  16. Louisiana (13-1)
  17. Houston (12-2)
  18. Kentucky (10-3)
  19. BYU (10-3)
  20. NC State (9-3)
  21. Arkansas (9-4)
  22. Oregon (10-4)
  23. Iowa (10-4)
  24. Utah State (11-3)
  25. San Diego State (12-2)

As has been the case really all season, the SEC finishes the year with more teams ranked than any other conference. They finish with five teams in the top-25 and while they only had two in the top-10, those two played for the national championship.

The Big Ten and ACC tied for second with four teams each ranked in the top-25. For the Big Ten, Iowa was the lowest ranked team and the only one not ranked in the top-10. The ACC, by contrast, had all four of their ranked teams outside the top-10. That’s sort of the reverse of the Big 12, which had three teams ranked, all in the top-10.

This marks the tenth time in Kirk Ferentz’s 23 seasons at Iowa the Hawkeyes have finished the year ranked inside the top-25 in the AP. It’s also the fourth consecutive year Iowa has done so. The Hawkeyes finished 2020 ranked 16th, 15th in 2019 and 25th in 2018. That’s the longest streak since Hayden Fry had Iowa ranked from 1983-1987 (all in the top-16) and the second longest streak in program history. Iowa will look to tie Fry’s stretch by finishing the 2022 season ranked in the top-25.