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Iowa Football: Hawkeyes #22 In New CFP Rankings

It’s Iowa’s 27th appearance in the CFP rankings, and all thanks to defense and special teams.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

I had a whole intro written out in advance of tonight’s CFP rankings release in which I gave my own top ten list and would see how it held up against the committee’s. But after said playoff rankings were released my plans were for naught for the best of reasons.

I had Georgia at #1 with Washington beating out Florida State for the #4 spot, in case you were curious.

No, you’re eyes aren’t deceiving you. Your Iowa Hawkeyes check in at #22 in the second CFP rankings of the season. I was not expecting to see the Hawks jump back into the top 25 and I’m confident I wasn’t alone. But Iowa does boast a 7-2 record, with their only losses coming to #10 Penn State and the other...well, we don’t need to bring that up again.

Iowa’s offense is rightly a national punchline, but Iowa’s defense and special teams are playing at an elite level right now, and that should count for something in national recognition. Too often I think the big flashy offenses are given an outsized influence on how people determine who is a “good” team. USC started the year at #6 and only dropped out after last week, despite giving up 345 points this year and ranking 119th in total defense. But because their offense scored a lot - and because of that Trojan on their helmet - people still thought of them as one of the better teams in the country.

I get it, offense is exciting; I want more of it from the Iowa like the rest of you. I’m starving for more of it. But there is an excitement in watching a talented defense operating at a high level and shutting down opponents. That goal line stand last Saturday was just as exciting to me as any 80-yard catch and run touchdown. It was literally earth shattering.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Okay, now on to the rest of the Not-Iowa parts of the world which, it turns out, is pretty dull.

There’s no movement at all in the top six, with Ohio State still sitting at #1 thanks to its resume, followed by Georgia, Michigan, and Florida State. Washington and Oregon are the first two teams out at #5 and #6. Texas and Alabama follow with Ole Miss and Penn State rounding out the top ten. You may have already noticed the absence of the Sooners. They tumble all the way down to #17 after their Bedlam loss to Oklahoma State, who sit at #15.

While the top eight remained intact from last week we ought to get a little more movement after this Saturday. Michigan will play it’s first ranked opponent in Penn State, Georgia faces off against Ole Miss, and Washington will play Utah. Even if those higher ranked teams don’t get upset, they will be all-important ranked wins that will burnish their CFP resume.

And we’ll get to see if Iowa can defend their newly regained national ranking and continue being one of the most complex, baffling, intriguing, and infuriating teams in college football today.