We’re now three weeks away from our first game week of the college football season (get out of here week 0!) and if there was any doubt about just how close we are to getting back to football, Monday proved as yet another reminder. The first USA Today Coaches Poll was released on Monday, marking the official return of college football.
This is Iowa so there shouldn’t be a ton of shock and awe noting that the Hawkeyes were not listed among the top-25 in the preseason poll. Iowa is fresh off an 8-5 finish in 2022 where they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory despite one of the most putrid offenses we’ve seen from a power five team in modern college football history.
But the Hawkeyes have addressed those offensive woes in a big way this offseason, adding former Michigan QB Cade McNamara and his teammate, TE Erick All. They also brought in former Ohio State WR Kaleb Brown and Charleston Southern WR Seth Anderson, as well as Miami (OH) OG Rusty Feth and Saginaw Valley State OT Daijon Parker. All that to say, the offense will almost certainly be better than a season ago. How much better remains to be seen.
The defense will be the defense. The special teams will continue to be special. The schedule is... not brutal. All of this has led Vegas to slap an over/under of 8 total wins on Iowa’s season. But none of it has garnered the Hawkeyes meaningful respect nationally as they enter the year unranked, though atop the teams receiving votes.
Here’s a look at the full USA Today Coaches Poll.
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Florida State
- Notre Dame
- Kansas State
- Oregon State
- North Carolina
- Texas Tech
- Texas A&M
- Iowa received 169 votes in the initial poll, placing them first among teams outside the top-25 and 80 votes ahead of #27 South Carolina. They were 27 votes behind #25 Texas A&M.
- The SEC leads all conferences with six teams ranked. Four are inside the top-10.
- The Big Ten, as it currently stands, has four teams ranked. Wisconsin is the only Big Ten West team in the rankings at #21. The Badgers went 7-6 last season.
- Fast forwarding to 2024, the Big Ten would have seven total teams ranked and six inside the top-15. That includes current Pac-12 members USC (6th), Washington (11th) and Oregon (15th). The SEC would remain on top with eight teams ranked adding in #12 Texas and #19 Oklahoma. The Pac-12, with only four total teams in the conference, would have a quarter of the conference ranked with Oregon State at #18.
- Tulane starts the year at #23, all but guaranteeing another top-10 finish given the only team they face with a pulse all season is Ole Miss. Every other matchup is a pay game for a second straight season.
College football officially kicks off on Saturday, August 26th in week 0. The Hawkeyes will start their 2023 season on Saturday, September 2nd with an 11am CT kickoff against Utah State. That matchup will be broadcast on FS1.