Bret Bielema is the Hawkeyes’ Friend

Many an Iowa Hawkeye fan has cooler feelings about former Hawkeye player/assistant coach Bret Bielema since he became Wisconsin’s head coach.

It’s understandable. He’s trying to put his Big Ten team ahead of Iowa and the nine others. You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, if you know what I mean.

But of the 61 coaches voting in the USA Today coaches poll, no one had Iowa ranked higher this week than Bielema. He tabbed the Hawkeyes 20th. They were 27th in the poll, with not nearly as many votes as they got in the AP coaches poll, where they’re 26th.

Most coaches excluded the Hawkyes from their ballots, but not Iowa State’s Gene Chizik. He had Iowa 24th.

You might think coaches would try to keep their state rivals down, so give Chizik credit. Give him credit for loyalty, too. He was one of just four coaches to tab Texas No. 1. It so happens his previous job was defensive coordinator to Mack Brown at … Texas.

Big Ten coaches support their own. Bielema had Michigan State and Northwestern 17th and 18th, repsectively, above where they’re ranked on the AP poll.

Purdue’s Joe Tiller also had Iowa 20th. Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio, Indiana’s Bill Lynch, Illinois’ Ron Zook and Ohio State’s Jim Tressel placed Iowa 23rd. Mark Dantonio of Michigan State had the Hawks 25th.

Of the seven Big Ten coaches who have a vote, only Michigan’s Rich Rodriguez didn’t list Iowa. To check all the coaches’ votes, go here:

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/football/2008-12-08-final-coaches-ballots_N.htm

Know that coaches should not and should never have votes that matter in the BCS, but they do. They are totally biased creatures.

You can’t blame Texas Tech Coach Mike Leach for putting his club second, behind only Oklahoma. But what’s with Florida Coach Urban Meyer having four-loss Mississippi 12th?

And what’s with Leach and Baylor’s Art Briles having Texas at No. 5? Do they see weakness in the Longhorns we don’t, having played them? Or were they trying to keep Texas down a bit.

Did Leach think his last-second win over Texas entitle his 11-1 Red Raiders to be second and the Longhorns – who beat Oklahoma by 10 points in Dallas – to be just fifth?

I had Iowa 18th (not 17th as an earlier Hlog entry goofed things up) in this week’s AP poll. That leaves me wide-open to charges of being a homer. I happen to think the Hawkeyes are better right now than anyone currently ranked 19th or lower, though Mississippi finished very strongly.

But I’m not alone. Brett McMurphy of the Tampa Tribune voted Iowa 15th this week, John Heuser of the Ann Arbor News has the Hawks 16th, and Kirk Bohls of the Austin American Statesman concurs with the pick at 18th.

I threw Ball State out of my top 25 altogether after it got rubbed out by five-loss Buffalo Friday night in the MAC title game, but the voters kept the Fighting Cardinals in the rankings.

Anyway, the bowls will decide the final rankings. If Iowa beats South Carolina, it will be in the final polls and can hang its sombrero on that. If it loses, no votes, the end.

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