The Iowa Hawkeyes Are Not the Fourth-Best Team in College Football

Andrew KaufmanSenior Analyst INovember 2, 2009

When asked about his team's No. 1 ranking in computer polls last week, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz replied, "Computers have not seen us play. If they had eyes and could see us play, they would say, are you kidding me?"

Anyone who saw Iowa play Indiana this Saturday would agree with Ferentz's assessment.

The Hawkeyes were bad—really, really bad—in the first three quarters of their game against the Hoosiers, who are 1-4 in Big Ten play. They rallied to win in the fourth quarter, maintaining their reputation as a gritty team capable of exciting comebacks, but it's very possible that such a rally never would have happened if not for a fluky, pinball-esque interception which turned what would have likely been a three-score Indiana lead into a 21-14 contest.

Yet despite another poor performance, the Hawkeyes still find themselves ranked No. 4 in the BCS, ahead of fellow undefeated teams Cincinnati, TCU, and Boise State.

There's nothing wrong with rewarding a team for winning. Winning is obviously a team's primary, and essentially its only goal each week, and Iowa has accomplished that goal every week so far during the 2009 season. But so have six other teams, and the notion that Iowa is better than half of them is absurd.

Iowa isn't better than Cincinnati, which traveled across the country to beat Oregon State and has easily dispatched with Big East opponents despite losing star quarterback Tony Pike.

Iowa isn't better than TCU, which beat two ACC teams on the road and defeated then-No. 16 BYU by thirty points on the road two Saturdays ago.

Iowa isn't better than Boise State, which handily defeated Oregon in its season opener and has since only won one game by less than 17 points.

It's not about strength of schedule, either—if anything, Cincy, TCU, and Boise State, have proven they are much more capable of playing consistently than Iowa has. The Hawkeyes have beaten Northern Iowa and Arkansas State by a combined total of four points this year, not exactly an impressive display in non-conference play.

Human voters recognize this, too; there's a reason Iowa is ranked No. 6 in the Coaches' Poll and No. 7 in the Harris Poll. Yet the BCS computers, which for no logical reason are wired to equate a one-point win on a blocked field goal with a 30-point win without a team's starting quarterback, are the Hawkeyes' saving grace yet again: five of the six computers rank Iowa ahead of both Alabama and Texas.

If only they could see the Hawkeyes play.