The Iowa Hawkeyes are No. 33 in the Orlando Sentinel 2017 preseason college football rankings. The Hawkeyes have to fill a few key holes, but the team once again features an imposing offensive line and is expected to be competitive in the Big Ten.
Our ranking: No. 33
Coach: Kirk Ferentz (135-92, entering 19th season; 147-113 overall)
2016 record: 8-5, 6-3 in Big Ten Conference, tied for second in West Division
Look back: A wave of optimism washed over the Iowa program as it entered the 2016 season thanks, in part, to a successful 2015 campaign that saw the Hawkeyes win a program-best 12 games and capture the West Division. Despite being buoyed by those expectations, the team struggled in close losses to North Dakota State, Northwestern and Wisconsin. But upset wins over Michigan and Nebraska helped Iowa bounce back to finish second in the division en route to the program’s fourth consecutive January bowl.
Offensive starters returning: 7
Offensive starters lost: 4
Defensive starters returning: 8
Defensive starters lost: 3
Key losses: QB C.J. Beathard, RB LeShun Daniels Jr., WR Riley McCarron, OL Cole Croston, DL Jaleel Johnson, DB Desmond King, DB Greg Mabin, P Ron Coluzzi
Top returnees: OL Sean Welsh, OL James Daniels, WR Matt VandeBerg, WR Jerminic Smith, LB Josey Jewell, LB Bo Bower, LB Ben Niemann, DB Brandon Snyder