I haven't had time to post it, but I did some amateur analysis of Iowa's historical Massey ratings a couple weeks ago, dating back to 1899.
Iowa has essentially been truly elite for two fleeting moments in time: early 20s and 1958-60.
Early 20s was under Howard Jones and he was cheating. The 1958-1960 stretch was of course Evy.
Hayden Fry's best year was 1985, and that was only good enough for 10th in that year's Massey analysis.
I'm very proud of our program, but a big part of it for me is the whole "punching above our weight" reputation. Another poster pointed out that we also have a little bit of a "black hat" vibe going on, too. We're often the CFP dream killers, ruining elite teams' seasons. I like that, too.
There's a segment of the fan base (and I think that segment is over represented here on HN) that mentally wakes up and walks past an imaginary Iowa football trophy case every morning. It's just brimming with national championship trophies, Big Ten titles, All Americans, etc.
Don't get me wrong, our real trophy case is very impressive, but only if you take it within the context of the "punching above our weight" context.
It's a 120+ track record of pretty average football on the whole. When we poke our heads into that "good" range every few seasons (like we've done consistently over the past 40 years), it's extra special. Enjoy it, but don't make the mistake of *expecting* it.
6-0 and #2 was awesome, I loved it. My enthusiasm for 6-1 and #11 is only marginally (if at all) less because I was well aware of the fact that we fell ass backwards into #2 and 6-0 and was planning to savor every moment as a result. If you are in a position where the only acceptable outcome from 6-0 and #2 was to win out, that's a "you" problem, cuz you've hitched your horse to the wrong wagon.
Obviously, I'm not pleased with how the Purdue game turned out but, short of having a magic wand that would allow me to advance the OL's development another season in the span of a week, I'm not sure much else can be done. It's a developmental program with peaks and valleys. Bad place for a valley because the road to 12-0 looked wide open, but that's life.