A Little Higher

Nov. 21, 2004

So, what does a team that’s won seven in a row, 37 games in its last four season, and its second Big Ten Conference title in three years get when the pollsters get done doing their business?

Or, how about a team that won three straight November games against teams that all were once ranked among the nation’s elite including two that climbed as high as No. 5?

Or, how about a team that won its 18th straight home game against an arch rival that had an opportunity to advance to the “Granddaddy of `em all” with a victory?

Well, according to the voters in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25, that team – the Iowa Hawkeyes, 9-2 overall and more than likely heading to the 2005 Capital One Bowl in Orlando on New Year’s Day – move up three positions to No. 14, just one notch back of the team they shared the 2004 Big Ten Conference title with – the twice beaten Michigan Wolverines.

Iowa racked up 704 votes, approximately 100 behind the Wolverines and about 200 better than its last opponent, Wisconsin. The Badgers are the only other Big Ten team included in ESPN’s list. Iowa defeated Wisconsin 30-7 to claim a share of the league title and deny the Badgers an invitation to the Rose Bowl.

Iowa expects to receive its official invitation to its fourth straight bowl game early next week.

Southern Cal, Oklahoma, Auburn, California and Texas are Nos. 1 through 5.

The Hawkeyes checked in at No. 12 in Associated Press’ elite list with 878 points, 25 points better than Michigan. Wisconsin checked in at No. 20.

AP’s top five is Southern Cal, Oklahoma, Auburn, California and Utah.