Iowa football is back in the top 20

Jan. 9, 2009

IOWA CITY, Iowa — By winning four consecutive games and six of its final seven, the University of Iowa football team cracked both top 20 polls released Friday.

The Hawkeyes finished the season 9-4 overall, 5-3 in the Big Ten Conference. Iowa was the lone Big Ten team to win a bowl game this season — 31-10 over South Carolina in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1.

Three Big Ten teams were listed in the top 20 by both the AP (media) and the USA Today (coaches) polls. Penn State was eighth, Ohio State ninth and Iowa 20th in the AP poll. Penn State was eighth, Ohio State 11th and Iowa 20th in the USA Today poll.

It is the first time a Hawkeye football team has been ranked since the first week of October, 2006. It is the first time Iowa has been ranked at the end of a season since being voted eighth in 2004.

Seven teams that played in postseason bowl games littered Iowa’s schedule this season, including Pittsburgh, Northwestern, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Penn State, Minnesota and South Carolina. The Hawkeyes also defeated Maine in its season-opener. The Black Bears qualified for the Division I Football Championships Series playoffs.

Florida finished first in both polls.

Iowa has played in a January bowl game five times in the last seven seasons, compiling an average of nearly 8 ½ wins per season during that span.