However, a team you don't often hear mentioned alongside those schools is Penn State.
"We do not discuss in our selection committee room the other polls, and I personally have been careful not to look at those", CFP committee chairman Kirby Hocutt said on a conference call.
Iowa has used its running backs as extra blockers at certain points, with varying amounts of success.
The main player that head coach Patrick Chambers has returning is junior point guard Shep Garner. Everyone else was like, 'We're fine'. "For us to be able to take shots downfield, whether we're connecting on them or not, if we're winning as receivers, that's going to open up the running game and the intermediate passing game".
With eight games in the books for the Nittany Lions, the No. 12 team in this week's initial College Football Playoff rankings, the offense has been good in some areas, lacking in others, but overall a significant step up.
Cabinda returned two weeks ago from a left wrist injury and has 22 tackles in the last two games. Now, they are actually stronger and the defense deeper because of it. Trace McSorley has completed only 46.2 percent of his passes over the last four games, though. Now, they are beginning to dominate up front for the first time since 2013. They are very good inside the Redzone. The Hawkeyes won a pair of those games in Iowa City, but will have to make this upset on the road in Happy Valley. However, one with teams such as, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio State, etc.
Maybe I've been burned too many times by unexpected losses to Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes.
"I know we can turn it around", Lee said. "We do it every single day in a drill that's the entire focus". "It was definitely special to us". "[Under center] is something that we don't practice during the week".
These are the kinds of small things that have evolved into big ones, leading this recent winning streak with even more promise down the stretch.
Barkley won't have another 200-yard game, but he'll score twice on the ground and get another through the air to help the Nittany Lions survive. He's now become the difference-maker and dominator many expected earlier.
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Although running backs such as, Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey (apologies for the flashbacks), Dalvin Cook, and Nick Chubb are the ones that tend to garner the most national attention, based on the film study I've done, Barkley appears to me to be the most talented running back in the country. "That's what you're hoping to do".
Turnovers were a big key in the game.
Of course, Iowa figures to offer a stiff resistance. They play rugged, opportunistic defense.
"They're going to line up and try to run the ball down your throat", Franklin said.
They nearly always struggle at the season's beginning before building momentum, like now, coming off a bye week. Beathard is a typical drop-back quarterback that doesn't do much damage at all with his legs, managing positive rushing yardage in just three games this season. He'll likely see a lot of All-America cornerback Desmond King this week.
A team that failed to top the 400-yard mark in total offense in seven of its 13 games last season beat 500 for the second time in a three-game span.
"You always want to have decent protection when you're throwing the ball".
"Those guys have stepped it up and the results show, " Jewell said. I mean, I realize this is Purdue we're talking about here but those are video game numbers.
Desmond King is one of the best defensive backs in the nation, and he helps make the Iowa defense that much more risky with his cover skills.