Iowa needs to start scheduling real Power 5 opponents

Iowa took some real grief this past week from guys like Colin Cowherd, but frankly it was well-deserved. The Iowa Hawkeyes can’t say much here – they need to start scheduling real nonconference opponents. Until they do they’ll get little respect.

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Rough day for Iowa fans

Do they look happy? Not really . . .

Iowa fans took a lot of grief last year as they tried to defend their undefeated team against all the critics, and then had to watch the Hawkeyes get demolished in the Rose Bowl against Stanford.

Today things got even worse as 13th-ranked Iowa lost 23-20 against FCS power North Dakota State.

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Iowa’s win against Michigan was just so … Iowa

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz (L) speaks with an assistant coach on the sidelines during his team’s play against Georgia Tech in the FedEx Orange Bowl BCS NCAA football game in Miami, January 5, 2010. REUTERS/Hans Deryk (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Coming off a loss at lowly Minnesota, Iowa looked to be lost. But really, it was just Iowa.

The Hawkeyes are consistent this year. That’s not necessarily a good thing. They’re awful on the road (0-3) and good at home (6-0). Teams playing better at home than on the road is not at all out of the ordinary. But when you lose at Minnesota then win at home against Michigan, there’s something major going on. Does the team bus have a carbon monoxide leak?

Iowa picked up a 24-16 win against the Wolverines by shutting down Denard Robinson and playing better defense than it probably has all year. The Wolverines had four plays from inside the 5-yard line as time was running out, but couldn’t punch it in (cue Michigan fans claiming Junior Hemingway did actually score on one of the plays — he pushed off, folks).

So just so we’re straight, Iowa held Michigan to less points than it did Minnesota. To be fair, I guess, Michigan State did the same thing, eking out a win against the Gophers today.

So now Iowa, which has lost to a team that is 2-7 and another that is 5-4, controls its own destiny in the Big Ten Legends Division. It has Michigan State at home next week, then plays at Purdue and at Nebraska to close out the year.

If things go as they have so far this season, that means a 1-2 finish for Iowa and a middling bowl. But with a well-balanced offense and a defense that can apparently stop people every once in a while, there’s a decent chance Iowa will be playing in Indianapolis. Yes, Iowa, the team that lost to Minnesota.

2011 College Football Program Power Rankings

Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor hands off the ball to tailback Dane Sanzenbacher in the third quarter at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans during the 77th Annual Allstate Sugar Bowl January 4, 2011. The Buckeyes won 31-26 UPI/Dave Fornell

Almost a year ago we decided to try to quantify the stature of college football programs so that we could rank them against one another. (Click here for the 2010 Rankings.) Then our football guru, Anthony Stalter, wrote a little bit about each program and the direction that it’s headed.

Here’s how the total points are determined — 20 points for a national championship, 10 for a BCS title game loss, seven for a BCS bowl win, five for a BCS bowl loss, five for a BCS conference championship, three for a mid-major conference championship, two for a BCS conference runner-up and one for a major bowl appearance (i.e. a bowl that has a recent payout of more than $2 million, so for 2011 that would be Capital One, Outback, Chick-fil-A, Cotton, Gator, Insight, Holiday, Champs Sports and Alamo.) You’ll see the total points in parenthesis after the team’s name.

We put some thought into the point values for each accomplishment, paying special attention to how the point values are relative to one another. For example, we figured that one national championship would equate to four BCS conference championships, or three BCS bowl wins. We only looked at the last five years, as college football has increasingly become a fluid and fickle sport, and that’s about how far back a recruit will go when deciding amongst a list of schools.

Lastly, since a program is so dependent on the guy in charge, we added or subtracted points if the program saw an upgrade or downgrade at the head coach position in the last five years. A max of 10 points would be granted (or docked) based on the level of upgrade or downgrade. Again, we tried to quantify the hire relative to the program’s other accomplishments. For example, hiring Nick Saban is probably worth two BCS bowl appearances, or 10 points. (Sure, he might lead Alabama to more, but he also might bolt for another job in a year or two.)

So, without further ado, here are the rankings. Every year we’ll go through and update the numbers based on what the program did that year (while throwing out the oldest year of data), so don’t fret if your team isn’t quite where you want them right now. Everyone has a chance to move up.

1. Ohio State (58)

Previous Rank: #2 (+1)
Some college football fans will take issue with the Buckeyes being No. 1 because of their “soft schedule.” But this is a team that has dominated its conference five of the past six years and has finished no worse than second in each of the past six seasons. They’ve also appeared in two title games (though they lost both) and nine straight BCS bowl games, winning the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl in the past two years. They’ve got an interesting season coming up though. Five of their players including quarterback Terrelle Pryor, running back Dan Herron and receiver DeVier Posey will miss the first five games next year after being suspended. Can the Buckeyes stay unscathed until those players return?

2. Florida (51)

Previous Rank: #1 (-1)
If it weren’t for Urban Meyer leaving the program (and their lousy 2010 season), the Gators would probably still be ranked No. 1. They have three conference championships and two national championships in two years, but the lose of Meyer hurts big-time in these rankings. But don’t fret Florida fans, if Will Muschamp gets the program back on the right track then the Gators won’t be at No. 2 for long.

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Twelve Iowa football players hospitalized

I don’t believe in curses but if I did, I would subscribe to the Iowa-football-program-is-cursed newsletter.

After losing to Arizona to start the 2010 season, the Hawkeyes struggled to close out games and stumbled to an incredibly disappointing 7-5 record. Granted, they did win the Insight Bowl, but before they did they had to suspend star running back Adam Robinson for violating team rules and found out that Jewel Hampton and Brandon Wegher are both transferring.

Oh, and there was also that mishap involving star receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, who was arrested in December for running a drug house. The good news is that he pled guilty to marijuana possession with a deferred judgment and had all other charges dropped. The bad news is that the Iowa curse has apparently spilled over into 2011.

According to a report by, 12 Iowa football players were hospitalized Monday night and are reportedly being treated for exetional rhabdomyoysis. The condition is often caused by extreme exercise that, in serious cases, can cause damage to the kidneys.

Iowa released a statement that the players were all participating in NCAA allowable winter workouts, so it’s not like the program broke any rules. But what the hell caused 12 players to come down with exertional rhabdomyolysis at the same freaking time?

There are rumors floating around the web that the players were participating in some “100-squat program” and were racing to see who could finish first. I would qualify that as “extreme exercise,” so maybe the rumors have legs.

But again, how do 12 players come down with the same condition at the same time? Outside of one case in Oregon involving high school players, nothing like this has ever been reported. It seems strange that 12 players would come down with a condition that nobody has ever heard of outside of the medical field.

Granted, I’m not a doctor (I only play one on this blog), so how would I know whether or not something like this is common? Maybe somewhere in Florida, a team of national ping-pong players are going through the same thing. After all, if it happened to the players in Oregon, it could obviously happen again. It just seems strange that these 12 Hawkeyes all came down with the same condition at the same time. But that’s the Iowa football curse for ya – it’s unpredictable.

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