116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
This week, Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh called Kinnick Stadium “where top-five teams go to die.”
Harbaugh knew what others have pointed out this week. Iowa is 5-1 against top-five teams at Kinnick in its last six home games against them. The latest was last year when the then-No. 3 Hawkeyes rallied to edge No. 4 Penn State.
Quick. Where did Penn State finish the season in the rankings?
Answer: It didn’t. The Nittany Lions lost to Illinois in nine overtimes — yes, that really happened — the following game, then lost at Ohio State, and later at home against Michigan, and at Michigan State, and oh yeah, they fell 24-10 to Arkansas in the Outback Bowl.
The Lions were 7-6. Some No. 4 team, eh?
Iowa, which climbed to No. 2 the following day, proceeded to go 4-4 the rest of the way with three losses of at least 17 points. It was No. 23 in the final AP poll.
The other four top-five teams Iowa clipped since 2008 didn’t fare as badly, but none returned to their pre-Kinnick heights.
2008 — Unranked Iowa 24, No. 3 Penn State 23
Penn State won two final regular-season games after that November defeat in Kinnick before bowing to USC in the Rose Bowl, 38-24. The Nittany Lions were No. 8 in the final AP poll.
2010 — No. 18 Iowa 37, No. 5 Michigan State 6
The Spartans were 8-0 when they came to Kinnick and got clobbered. To their credit, they shrugged it off and won their final three games to take an 11-1 mark and a No. 7 ranking to the Capital One Bowl against Alabama.
Then it was Kinnick all over again, as the Crimson Tide crushed Sparty, 49-7. MSU was 14th in the final rankings.
2016 — Unranked Iowa 14, No. 2 Michigan 13
Iowa was coming off a 17-9 home loss to No. 10 Wisconsin and a 41-14 drubbing from Penn State in Happy Valley. It was a 21-point home underdog to first-year Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh’s 9-0 Wolverines.
Michigan beat Indiana 20-10 the following week, but then lost 30-27 at Ohio State in two overtimes. It followed that with a 33-32 Orange Bowl defeat to Florida State, and was 10th in the final rankings.
2017 — Unranked Iowa 55, No. 3 Ohio State 24
Everyone who saw this coming, stand on your heads.
The Hawkeyes entered with a 5-3 record, but all three losses were by one score. Ohio State, on the other hand, was 7-1. It had lost to Oklahoma early in the season, then came on strong.
But perhaps 18-point favorite Ohio State was a little emotionally and physically drained after edging then-No. 2 Penn State the week before in Columbus, 39-38. Or, maybe it just got played off its feet in Iowa City.
However, this is the one team that went through the rest of its season without a scratch. Ohio State won its last three regular-season games, beat No. 3 Wisconsin 27-21 in one of the best Big Ten championship games, and stuffed USC 24-7 in the Cotton Bowl. OSU was No. 5 in the final rankings.
Ohio State didn’t endure the kind of humiliation it felt at Iowa again until, well, it lost 49-20 at Purdue in the eighth game of the next season. Again, though, the Buckeyes dusted themselves off, won the Big Ten, and beat Washington in the Rose Bowl.