Jan. 5, 2004
Eight turns out to be the magic number for Iowa’s 2003 football team as Coach Kirk Ferentz’s squad ends the season ranked eighth in both major college football polls.
The Hawkeyes’ finish matches that of last year’s Big Ten Conference championship squad and marks only the second time in school history that Iowa has finished in the top 10 in two consecutive seasons. The 1956, ’56 and ’57 teams finished their seasons ranked among the nation’s top five.
Iowa moved up five positions from 13th in the pre-bowl Asssociated Press Top 25 to finish eighth. The Hawkeyes earned 1,107 points from the voters in that elite list.
Southern Cal, winners of the 2004 Rose Bowl over Michigan, was crowned winner of the AP national title, edging Louisiana State by a 1,608-1,576 tall. USC received 48 first place votes to LSU’s 17.
Iowa moved up four positions from 12th in the pre-bowl ESPN/USA Today Top 25 to finish eighth. The Hawkeyes received 1,119 points from the coaches who vote for the ESPN list.
Iowa’s victory in the 2004 Outback Bowl was its 21st in 26 games. The 2002 and 2003 seasons are the two most successful back-to-back seasons in Iowa football history. The Hawkeyes’ victory in the Outback Bowl was its first in a January bowl game since the 1959 Rose Bowl victory over California.
LSU was crowned national champion by ESPN/USA Today — which is tied to to finish of the annual Bowl Championship Series national championship game. LSU received 60 of a possible 63 first place votes.
In each poll Iowa was the third highest rated Big Ten team. Ohio State winners of the Fiesta Bowl — finished fourth in both polls. Michigan — which lost the Rose Bowl as the Big Ten’s representative — finished sixth in the AP poll and seventh in the ESPN list.
Minnesota (20th by AP, 17th by ESPN) and Purdue (18th and 19th) were the only other Big Ten teams included in either poll.
Florida, Iowa’s 37-17 victim in the 2004 Outback Bowl, finished 24th in the AP poll and 25th in the ESPN list.