It’s just a coincidence, but of all 65 voters on the Associated Press college football Top 25 panel, the one who has Iowa ranked the highest works for the Tampa Tribune.
Tampa, of course, is the city hosting the Hawkeyes and South Carolina in the Jan. 1 Outback Bowl.
His name is Brett McMurphy, and he covers University of South Florida football, among other things, for the Tribune. He had Iowa 15th in the most-recent AP poll. The Hawkeyes got the 26th-most votes.
I asked Brett if he’d be kind enough to share why he thinks higher of the Hawks than any of his peers (I had Iowa 18th this week in the AP poll), and he generously took time to reply. Here it is:
“How is Iowa No. 15 in my AP ballot? I wish I could think of some
entertaining story, like I knew a month ago Iowa was headed down here to
Tampa for the Outback Bowl (by the way, it was like 80 today, so bring
your SPF 45) or some super secret computer formula I’ve devised to
compile my rankings, but it’s pretty simple: Iowa has benefitted from
“I actually saw the entire second half of the Iowa-Penn State game and
remember being impressed with Iowa’s victory and, especially, Greene at
running back. That week a few teams in my Top 25 lost, so I looked at
Iowa’s body of work, the upset of Penn State and saw the three losses by
a combined nine points against future bowl teams, so I put Iowa at No.
“Then all hell broke loose. The next week Iowa edged Purdue but six or
seven teams between 15 and 24 on my ballot lost that week, so Iowa shot
up to No. 18. The Hawkeyes stayed there for another week and then
climbed up three spots in my final ballot after losses by Ball State,
Missouri and Boston College. Obviously the 55-0 seal-clubbing of
Minnesota from the week before didn’t hurt.
“Anyway, that’s it. My secrets are out. I’ve been exposed.”