Vittorio Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle is judging Iowa by the opponents the Hawkeyes have played:
Since we are late with the respect for Iowa, we are going to pour it on:
With road wins at Penn State, Wisconsin and Iowa State, the Hawkeyes have a better resume than Florida, Alabama and Texas. In fact, Iowa's opponents have a .633 winning percentage (38-22) - much better than Florida's and Texas' .520 (26-24) and Alabama's .491 (28-29).
Of course, now Iowa will lose to Indiana at home next week on Get Off My Bandwagon Sucker Saturday.
Mike Rose of Newsday has Iowa No. 4 in his Top Ten. His partner, Adam Abramson says the Hawkeyes are No. 6. That's still higher than the Associated Press or USA Today coaches' poll has them.
Click here for their "Campus 10."
And now, a few bowl projections:
Stewart Mandel, Sports Illustrated:
Rose: Iowa vs. USC (link)
Bruce Feldman of ESPN.com agrees with Mandel, but Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com obviously thinks Oregon will beat USC Saturday in Eugene, and sees an Oregon-Iowa Rose Bowl (link).
Ted Lewis of the New Orleans Times-Picayune writes:
The Hawkeyes are a team of destiny – but not destined for the BCS title game.
So he picks an Iowa-USC Rose Bowl. (link)
CBSsports.com says Iowa-Oregon in the Rose Bowl. (link)
The aforementioned Mike Rose of Newsday sees an Iowa-USC Rose Bowl. (link)
I'm beginning to see a pattern here. The Hawkeyes may want to win three or four more games just to be on the safe side.
And for a bonus, here's Doug Lesmerises, the Plain-Talker of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer:
As for Iowa, maybe the Hawkeyes can find some inspiration in the 2002 Buckeyes. In the second week of the BCS standings that season, Ohio State was ranked No. 5 among seven undefeated teams. Iowa is No. 4 among undefeated teams. I haven't heard anyone call Ricky Stanzi's last-second, fourth-down, 2-yard touchdown pass to beat Michigan State "Holy Hawkeye," a takeoff on Ohio State's "Holy Buckeye" win over Purdue. Of course, Craig Krenzel's fourth-down touchdown pass that day in 2002 was a little longer, going for 37 yards.
Maybe it was a miracle. Maybe the Hawkeyes have had tight games against lesser teams like Northern Iowa and Arkansas State. But the quality of Iowa's wins are as good as any team in the country. If Texas stumbles, the undefeated Hawkeyes would deserve the same shot at the national title Ohio State seized seven years ago.
And if not, Cincinnati should be waiting.
It was a 7-yard pass, not a 2-yarder, but I'll wager Hawkeye fans like his comparison all the same. For Lesmerises' full essay, click here.