Tuesday, June 20, 2023

ESPN's SP+ ranks Iowa No. 8 nationally thus far in 2020s


Riley Donald 

Some fans may harp on Kirk Ferentz and his steady-handed approach with the Iowa Hawkeyes. Others seem to love knowing what they will get. Either way, the approach has the Hawkeyes with a 24-11 record so far this decade over three seasons.

Included in that are three bowl bids and a Big Ten conference record of 18-8. You would be hard-pressed to find fanbases, aside from maybe 10 others, that wouldn’t take that output in a heartbeat.

Nonetheless, the performance from the Hawkeyes through the 2020s, albeit still early on, has them among ESPN’s top 10 teams of the decade to this point. ESPN ranked the teams based on the SP+ metric. The Hawkeyes come in as the No. 8 team of the 2020s.

While Iowa didn’t crack any of the best offenses of the 2020s, they are tied with the Georgia Bulldogs with a pair of top-five defenses already this decade. The 2020 and 2022 Iowa defenses both reached that lofty mark. Just missing the turn of the decade was the 2019 Iowa defense which was the fifth-best defense of the 2010s decade.

While not a top-10 overall team, the Hawkeyes do have a renaissance era of being an elite offense. Back in the 1960s, the Hawkeyes’ 1960 offense was the top-rated one of the entire decade.

That’s right, there was a time when Iowa was known for elite offense. In 1960, quarterback Wilburn Hollis and halfback Larry Ferguson helmed an attack that ranked fifth in scoring offense (26.3 PPG) despite playing an incredible eight straight ranked opponents. – Bill Connelly, ESPN

The rest of the top 10 joining Iowa in the 2020s is mostly comprised of your usual suspects.

  1.       Alabama Crimson Tide
  2. Ohio State Buckeyes
  3. Georgia Bulldogs
  4. Michigan Wolverines
  5. Clemson Tigers
  6. Oklahoma Sooners
  7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  8. Iowa Hawkeyes
  9. Utah Utes
  10. Cincinnati Bearcats

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