AP voters show the Hawkeyes some preseason love

Chad Leistikow

For the sixth time in the Kirk Ferentz era, Iowa enters the college football season with an Associated Press Top 25 ranking.

The Hawkeyes were tabbed the No. 17 team in the country in the poll released Sunday morning, just 13 days ahead of their Sept. 3 season opener against Miami of Ohio.

Iowa’s previous preseason AP rankings under Ferentz, now in his 18th year, were 19th in 2004, 11th in 2005, 16th in 2006, 22nd in 2009 and ninth in 2010. In three of those seasons (2005, ’06 and ’10), they finished the year unranked.

Kirk Ferentz departs the field at the Rose Bowl after a 45-16 loss to Stanford on Jan. 1. Despite the margin of defeat in Pasadena, his Hawkeyes have consistently gotten top-20 national preseason rankings.

Conversely, Iowa entered the 2002, 2003 and 2015 seasons unranked by the AP, and it finished with double-digit wins and in the final national top 10 in each instance.

Four Big Ten Conference teams are included in this year’s AP preseason poll, which is assembled through votes by 61 members of the media: Ohio State at No. 6, Michigan at No. 7, Michigan State at No. 12 and Iowa. The Wolverines are the only preseason-ranked opponent on the Hawkeyes’ 2016 schedule.

A few weeks ago, the USA TODAY Coaches’ Poll put the Hawkeyes No. 15. The Des Moines Register uses the coaches’ ranking in its articles.