Computers like Iowa football more than humans do

Chad Leistikow

The human college football polls put 7-0 Iowa in the nation’s top 15. The computers have the Hawkeyes in the top 10.

Iowa shot up seven spots to No. 9 in the College Football Computer Composite rankings, released Monday, following Saturday’s 40-10 domination of then-No. 20 Northwestern.

USA TODAY publishes the composite rankings weekly. They are not a tangible tool in determining participants in the College Football Playoff, now in its second year and decided by a committee. But they do represent the computer piece of the former Bowl Championship Series formula.

Kirk Ferentz leads the Hawkeyes onto Ryan Field before Iowa's 40-10 rout at Northwestern.

The composite takes “the geometric mean of rankings formulated by Billingsley, Colley, Massey, Sagarin and Wolfe. Among the metrics feeding the CFCC are wins and losses, strength of schedule, home-field advantage, recency of game and, in Massey and Sagarin's case, margin of victory.”

Iowa was ranked No. 12 by the Associated Press and No. 13 by the coaches in (human) polls released Sunday.

LSU, Utah, Ohio State, Michigan State, Alabama, TCU, Baylor, Clemson, Iowa and Florida comprised the composite’s top 10.

Iowa has wins over Pittsburgh (27th in the composite), Northwestern (28th) and Wisconsin (30th) this season. Nebraska, at 58th, is the highest remaining computer-ranked team on Iowa’s schedule, although the Hawkeyes would likely face Ohio State or Michigan State if they reach the Big Ten Conference title game Dec. 5 in Indianapolis.