Remember when Hawaii used to score points? It wasn’t that long ago. Last night, however, they put a total of two field goals on the scoreboard. Blame June Jones for taking his “system” elsewhere. The Warriors have lost the one thing that made them remotely exciting to watch.
I don’t actually think Penn State is better than Iowa. After Saturday night, the Hawkeyes proved on the field that they are better than the Nittany Lions. No one knows what would happen if the two were to play again. Penn State could avenge their loss or Iowa could win again and by even more. All we have to go on is what happened on the field on Saturday and that’s why I (and the AP Poll for that matter) have the Hawkeyes two spots ahead of the Nittany Lions in the rankings.
On the other hand, the Coaches Poll and Harris Poll believe the title of this post is true. The Harris ranks Iowa two spots below the team they just beat and the Coaches takes it one step further with Penn State at #13 and Iowa at #17. The Harris does believe, however, that Houston is better than Oklahoma State, but the Coaches, again, does not. It makes you wonder what exactly individuals base their ballots on.
The first thought is that many voters rank based on how they see the season finishing. They’re looking ahead, not behind. 4-0 may be better than 3-1 right now, but it doesn’t mean much to them if they think 3-1 will turn into 11-1 while 4-0 turns into 9-3. But looking at the schedules, there’s no reason to believe Iowa can’t finish as well or better than Penn State.
Each team has eight games remaining with seven of those against Big Ten opponents. Of the eight, six are the same. You could say Penn State may match up on paper better against those six opponents and you may be right, but on the field – not on paper – Iowa beat Penn State, making me think Iowa should stand just as good, if not better, of a chance against those six. The other Big Ten opponent for the Hawkeyes is Wisconsin and for the Nittany Lions is Illinois. You may have to give the edge to Penn State here since Illinois has looked awful and Wisconsin appears to be the tougher opponent. However, you never really know with either of those teams. The Badgers have crapped the bed against lesser opponents in recent years and the Fighting Illini have had their share of upsets. We can go ahead and throw out the final game on the schedule; Arkansas State for Iowa and Eastern Illinois for Penn State.
Basically I’m saying I don’t see how you could have Iowa behind Penn State regardless of how you’re voting. If you’re looking back, the Hawkeyes won, plain and simple. They don’t get another chance to play each other. That was it, and Iowa won. And if you look behind, the Nittany Lions don’t necessarily have an easier road. After eight more games, Penn State could have the better record, but right now, they don’t. They have a loss to the very team they’re being compared to.