Iowa No. 9 in 1st College Playoff Rankings
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Kirk Ferentz came to Tuesday’s press conference amply prepared for the question. He even provided research.
Asked earlier Tuesday about the College Football Playoff Poll being released that night, Iowa’s coach downplayed its significance. The man who preaches the one-game-at-a-time approach and the 24-hour rule pointed out that three of the four teams in last year’s initial rankings failed to reach the playoff. The eventual national champion, Ohio State, sat at 16.
As it turned out, the Hawkeyes (8-0 overall, 4-0 Big Ten) came in ninth in the first poll Tuesday night. Two one-loss teams – Alabama and Notre Dame – were ranked ahead of them.
"I throw it kind of in the category of August polls. Doesn’t mean a lot right now. But it’s been great for the game. It’s been really good for a lot of people to talk about. College football is at an all-time high. That’s all positive," Ferentz said Tuesday afternoon.
The coach and his players have focused all season on the task at hand. They planned to do the same this week as they prepared for Saturday’s game at Indiana.
"My only two observations are that, A, (the rankings) don’t mean a lot right now. Then B, people spend a lot of time, people that get sucked into conversation that I’ve witnessed not only with these polls, but the BCS stuff, they tend to get nailed pretty quick soon thereafter. We’re going to try to avoid both of those plights," Ferentz said.
Clemson topped the poll voted on by a 12-member committee. LSU, Ohio State and Alabama rounded out the top four in a process that will end with a final ranking on Dec. 6.
While the Hawkeyes’ place in the poll doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, it’s a nice acknowledgment for the second best start in school history. And the recognition of being discussed along with other top programs in the country can offer benefits, such as in recruiting.
"I’m not against it. Don’t get me wrong. That comes with winning. You learn that in third grade. The better you do, the more people are interested typically. In sports, that’s for sure the deal. For us it’s about how we’re pursuing it. It gets back to that Slight Edge. What are we doing? How much are we investing, how much consistency can we show in our performance? We haven’t been perfect this year. Our record is, but we haven’t been perfect," Ferentz said.
Jerry Palm of CBS Sports advocated for Iowa Tuesday. He put the Hawkeyes in his Top 4 using this argument:
"Iowa may seem like a surprising selection for the top four, but they are the only team among the unbeaten with three wins over major conference teams that are already bowl-eligible. LSU also has three wins over currently bowl-eligible teams, but one of those is Western Kentucky. The other nine undefeated teams have a combined total of six wins over teams that are already qualified for a bowl. Clemson and Memphis have two each. Michigan State and Ohio State have the others," Palm wrote.
If it didn’t before, it certainly seems clear that Iowa must with its final four regular season game and then the Big Ten title game against, most likely, Ohio State or Michigan State to push its way into the Top 4. Even then, with the way the committee members are voting this year, the Hawkeyes may fall short in the eye test.