Illini Wonk
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
  Conference competition
I just got done watching the Iowa Hawkeyes demolish Texas Tech by 30 at the United Center in Chicago. Iowa could be the most under-rated team in the country. This win moves the Hawkeyes to 10-1 and was was their third over a Big-12 opponent...the other two were Iowa State and Texas. They also have also beaten Louisville and their only loss is to North Carolina. At least one sportswriter agrees with me, although he's going a little over the top on the comparison with the Illini guards. One thing is certain, Iowa will provide some competition in the Big Ten this year.

If Iowa were in the ACC, they'd be ranked in the top ten-maybe even five-right now. Don't believe me? Let's compare Iowa and N.C. State. In the most recent ESPN poll N.C. State is ranked 13 and Iowa is at 19. This is despite the fact that the Hawkeye's record is better than the Wolfpack's 8-1. Iowa also has more games against top 25 opponents (3 to 1) and more wins (2 to 0).

In fact, N.C. State's best win thus far is probably a six-point home victory over 3-5 Purdue. The other teams they've beaten are a who's who of NCAA cupcakes: New Orleans (3-5), Elon (2-8), East Carolina (4-6), Campbell (2-5), Manhattan (4-2), Liberty (1-7) and La. Lafayette (4-5). N.C. State's loss to Washington was only the second team they've played that currently has a record above .500. The AP Poll is a little better with N.C. State at 16 and Iowa only one behind, but I believe Iowa is a legitimate top ten team and N.C. State doesn't belong in the top 25.

This is just one of many examples of bias among polls and sportswriters that I'll be chronicling in the days to come.
It is certainly a travesty that the Hawkeyes are not ranked higher than North Carolina State (a team that has done nothing to prove they should be ranked at all), but it is even more unjust that Iowa continues to be ranked behind #12 Texas (7-2) and #18 Louisville (6-2). Iowa has beaten both of these teams, and has posted a better overall record of 9-1. Once again the polls are showing the media bias against teams in the Big Ten other than Illinois.
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