OK, 11 offensive players and 11 defensive players were named to Sports Illustrated’s college football All-America team Thursday.
Just two played for a team with a losing conference record. Just two have the initials “JJ.”
Obviously, since it’s me in Cedar Rapids writing this instead of someone in Spokane or Birmingham, the two players I’m talking about are Iowa Hawkeyes. Obviously, they’re cornerback Josh Jackson and linebacker Josey Jewell.
This screams two things. One, Jackson and Jewell had sensational seasons. We knew this, the Big Ten knew it by making them its Defensive Back and Linebacker/Defensive Player of the Year, respectively, and it’s now clear it didn’t go unnoticed nationally.
Two, how do you go 4-5 in the Big Ten with two first-team All-Americans on your defense? Well, you do that by scoring just 10 points at Michigan State and Northwestern, and just 15 at home against Purdue.
And, of course, by being held to no points and 66 yards on offense at Wisconsin, scoring 14 points only because Jackson returned two interceptions for touchdowns.
Iowa’s defense should be playing in a bowl far better than the Pinstripe. But it’s a team game.
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By the way, Oklahoma (3), Auburn and Notre Dame (2 each) are the only other teams with more than one player on SI’s first-team.
Which means the Hawkeyes have more first-teamers than playoff teams Alabama, Clemson and Georgia, as well as Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin.
Iowa has a good defense.