IOWA CITY, Iowa – After landing back in the Top 25 for the first time since 2010, the Hawkeyes are now faced with the challenge of not only staying in the rankings but moving up.
However, head coach Kirk Ferentz says it’s not about the being ranked specifically. He says it’s about how well they’ve played as a team to this point of the season.
“For a lot of guys, this is kind of new territory so that’s a good thing,” Ferentz said. “I’m all for that, as long as they understand, really what’s exciting to me is that we are playing well enough to be recognized.”
Ferentz’s players agree, and say of course it’s nice to be ranked, but it’s still way too early in the season to put too much stock into it.
“None of us are really taking it to heart at this point,” offensive lineman Ike Boettger said. “We know it’s pretty cool to be ranked, top 25, but it’s really early still so we’re just trying to stay on the grind and stay in the Top 25.”
“It’s one of those things where you notice, but you can’t harp on it too much,” defensive back Greg Mabin said. “We just finished the first month, we have a lot more games to go and anything can happen.”
Iowa’s opponent on Saturday, Illinois, is surprisingly 4-1 and coming off a victory over Nebraska last week after firing their head coach one week before the season. While the Hawkeyes are 11 point favorites and No. 22 in the country, they know it’s all about just taking care of business on Saturday against the Fighting Illini.
“We have a level head on our shoulders, we aren’t going to get too high over this and we know that doesn’t mean anything,” quarterback C.J. Beathard said. “It’s five games into the season. We still have seven games left, still too early to make any predictions or anything like that.”