Top of the Class

Nov. 22, 2004

Seven victories in seven games — including a 30-7 win over Wisconsin last Saturday in the annual battle for the Heartland Trophy — has pushed Iowa to the head of the class, Big Ten-speaking. The Hawkeyes checked in at No. 11 in this week’s Bowl Championship Series list, one position ahead of Michigan and nine spots ahead of the Badgers.

Iowa claimed a share of this year’s Big Ten championship when it dealt Wisconsin its second straight defeat of the season hours after Ohio State pinned Michigan with its first league loss of the season.

Iowa will likely accept its official invitation to the 2005 Capital One Bowl on Tuesday then will have to wait two weeks to learn its opponent.

The Wolverines were the only Big Ten team to beat Iowa in 2004 and will represent the league in the 2005 Rose Bowl. Iowa will likely accept an invitation to the 2005 Capital One Bowl on Tuesday, marking the third straight year that the Hawkeyes will have advanced to a New Year’s Day bowl game.

The BCS’s top five are Southern California, Oklahoma, Auburn, California and Texas. All of Iowa’s likely bowl game opponents appear in this week’s BCS poll — Auburn (3rd), Georgia (8th), Louisiana State (13th) and Tennessee (15th).

The Hawkeyes probably won’t know their SEC opponent until after Championship Saturday — Dec. 4.

Fans of the Hawkeyes do know this: Iowa has won 18 straight home games and will be seeking its second straight New Year’s Day victory. The Hawkeyes thumped Florida in last year’s Outback Bowl.