2. 2010 Iowa Hawkeyes (8-5)
When you win a BCS Bowl and return a significant chunk of starters from the previous year, you’re expected to do well, especially when one of those players is your starting quarterback.
Heading into 2010, the Iowa football team started out with the highest preseason ranking in the Kirk Ferentz era checking in at 9th.
After starting 2-0, the Hawks lost their third non-conference game against a ranked Arizona team. They rebounded nicely to win their next three games including a win over ranked Penn State. Iowa would split their next two games against ranked Wisconsin and ranked Michigan State but dropped their final 3 games of the season to go 7-5 in the regular season.
They managed to steal a victory over #14 Missouri in the Insight Bowl to end an otherwise disappointing season on a high note, but with the amount of talent returning, a high preseason ranking, and what Iowa accomplished the year before, it was basically BCS bowl or bust for the Hawks.
More frustrating is that this season was another one of those years of what-ifs for Iowa football fans. In Iowa’s five losses, the largest margin of defeat was 7 points, three defeats came by 3 points, and then there was the 1-point loss to Wisconsin.