BCS far from Ferentz’s mind


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On Monday afternoon, the Iowa sports-information department sent out an e-mail to the college football media with the following subject line: “Get the correct facts on Iowa football.”

The letter included several tidbits that those in the program thought the national media was overlooking, namely the Hawkeyes’ strength of schedule in comparison with teams such as Oregon, TCU, Cincinnati, and Boise State.

But 24 hours later, head coach Kirk Ferentz seemed completely unconcerned about those facts, about the Hawkeyes’ No. 4 BCS ranking, and about the nation’s perception of Iowa’s first 9-0 start in school history.

Saying he won’t politic for his team until “it’s appropriate,” the 11-year head coach maintained this week’s BCS rankings mean very little if Iowa is unable to beat Northwestern on Saturday.

“We are 9-0,” he said. “We have three games to go — three tough games. It’s so far away in my mind. … We’ll all be a lot smarter here in three weeks, I know that, as far as who belongs where.

“We’ll probably end up where we belong at the end of the day.”

On several occasions, Ferentz referenced the 2004 Auburn team that went 12-0 in the regular season but was left out of the USC-Oklahoma national championship game. The Tigers went on to win the Sugar Bowl, 16-13, over Virginia Tech.

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Iowa fans everywhere — and those inside the program who sent out that e-mail on Monday — seem concerned their team could be this year’s Auburn. Florida, Texas, and Alabama — all of whom are also undefeated — currently rank ahead of the Hawkeyes in this week’s BCS poll, leaving the Hawkeyes on the outside of the national-title discussion for now.

“If we end up being Auburn, or whatever that year that was, if that ends up happening to us, in some ways I’m not going to be too upset,” Ferentz said. “I don’t know how you get too upset when you’re undefeated. But that is so far down the road. Wow.”

Three games stand in Iowa’s way from completing its first 12-0 season in school history. Though the outside noise is building, Ferentz and Company have refused to diverge from their one-week-at-a-time mantra since the BCS rankings débuted two weeks ago.

And despite the apparent politicking going on inside the sports-information department, Ferentz said he won’t begin thinking about the BCS until his team’s final game against Minnesota.

“If we’re lucky, we’ll put our feet up over Thanksgiving and say, ‘Boy, this was a good year. This was a good year,’ ” Ferentz said. “But we’re not there yet.”

Sandeman likely out Saturday

Ferentz said wide receiver and punt returner Colin Sandeman would likely miss his second consecutive game with a concussion. The junior is still reeling from the hit Michigan State defensive back Jeremy Ware gave him on Oct. 24.

“We met this morning, and [the team doctors] are confident it will clear by the end of the week,” Ferentz said of Sandeman’s concussion. “We don’t envision him being back. He may exercise this week, but he can’t right now.”

Wide receiver Trey Stross sprained his ankle on Oct. 31 in the win over Indiana, but the senior said on Tuesday he would be ready for this weekend’s game against Northwestern: “I’ve played through worse.”

Sports Illustrated cover

Junior wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos will grace this week’s Sports Illustrated cover, marking the first time since 1985 — and only the third time ever — that an Iowa football player was on the magazine’s front page.

“You’ve got to be kidding me? We’re on the cover?” Ferentz asked. “Isn’t the World Series going on right now?”

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