CLOSE

In his opening remarks at his weekly press conference, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz praises the Hawkeyes' Big Ten West nemesis. Chad Leistikow, Hawk Central

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

The most important game of the 2019 Iowa football season awaits Saturday at Wisconsin. And if the Hawkeyes can use it to start a late-season run, plenty of postseason accolades remain in play.

Beyond the Big Ten West implications of the clash with the Badgers, a New Year's Six bowl berth is possible if Iowa (6-2, 3-2) reaches double digits in wins. Such is the conclusion after the Hawkeyes are ranked 18th in the initial College Football Playoff poll of the season released Tuesday night.

You know the CFP drill by now: a committee (that includes Iowa athletic director Gary Barta) ranks teams roughly a half-dozen times through the end of the season. The top four qualify for national semifinal games; remaining conference champions and teams roughly through the top 12 in the rankings have legitimate chances of making one of the upper-crust bowl tilts.

Winning the final four games is a must in this scenario, starting with the 3 p.m. Fox showdown against the 13th-ranked Badgers. Next up is a Kinnick Stadium date with unbeaten and No. 17 Minnesota on Nov. 16, followed by games against Illinois and at Nebraska.

MORE IOWA FOOTBALL COVERAGE

Go 4-0 and get the tiniest bit of help, and Iowa is squaring off against the East Division champion Dec. 7 in Indianapolis. We'll see where the rankings are then.

Ohio State leads the way in the first national ranking, with LSU, Alabama and Penn State rounding out the all-important top four. Defending national champion Clemson is fifth.

FULL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF POLL

  1. Ohio State (8-0)
  2. LSU (8-0)
  3. Alabama (8-0)
  4. Penn State (8-0)
  5. Clemson (9-0)
  6. Georgia (7-1)
  7. Oregon (8-1)
  8. Utah (8-1)
  9. Oklahoma (7-1)
  10. Florida (7-2)
  11. Auburn (7-2)
  12. Baylor (8-0)
  13. Wisconsin (6-2)
  14. Michigan (7-2)
  15. Notre Dame (6-2)
  16. Kansas State (6-2)
  17. Minnesota (8-0)
  18. Iowa (6-2)
  19. Wake Forest (7-1)
  20. Cincinnati (7-1)
  21. Memphis (8-1)
  22. Boise State (7-1)
  23. Oklahoma State (6-3)
  24. Navy (7-1)
  25. SMU (8-1)
LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE