This is a list of seasons completed by the Iowa Hawkeyes football program since the team's conception in 1889. The list documents season-by-season records, and conference records from 1892–1896 and 1900 to the present. The Hawkeyes began playing football as a club sport in 1872, and began playing intramural games against other colleges in 1882, but it was not until 1889 when Iowa challenged Iowa College to an interscholastic varsity football game. Since then, the Hawkeyes have played over 1,100 games, including 26 bowl games.
Historically, Iowa has seen moderate success. The Hawkeyes won the Western Interstate University Football Association championship in 1896 and the Big Ten Conference football championship in 1900 – the school's first year as a member of the Big Ten Conference – but did not win another in the Big Ten until 1921. Iowa's coach at that time was Howard Jones. Under his direction, the Hawkeyes won conference championships in 1921 and 1922, and recorded a school-record 20-game winning streak from 1920–1923. However, the Hawkeyes' success on the field dipped once again. Debt on Iowa's new football stadium – Iowa Stadium – grew yearly, and the Hawkeyes finished in the bottom three of the Big Ten every year except 1933 from 1930–1938. Then, in 1939, Iowa surprisingly finished the season 6–1–1, tripling the win total from the last two seasons combined. The team was nicknamed the "Ironmen," and is generally thought to be one of the greatest teams in school history. They were led by Heisman winner Nile Kinnick, who died in 1943 during a World War II training flight. 29 years later, in 1972, Iowa Stadium was renamed as "Kinnick Stadium" in his honor.
Following the 1939 season, the Hawkeyes slipped into another "down period." From 1940–1955, Iowa recorded 11 losing seasons, and their best finish in the Big Ten was fourth. But in 1952, the Hawkeyes upset Ohio State in Forest Evashevski's first season as coach. Three years later, in 1956, the Hawkeyes won the Big Ten championship with a 9–1 record. Under Evashevski, Iowa won two more conference championships in 1958 and 1960, posting 8–1–1 and 8–1 records respectively. In 1958, the Hawkeyes were awarded the Grantland Rice Trophy as national champions of the Football Writers Association of America. Soon thereafter, however, Evashevski became athletic director, and the football program suffered. The team posted a winning record in 1961 under new head coach Jerry Burns, but it was Iowa's last winning season until 1981. From 1961–1978, the Hawkeyes had four head coaches. Not one of them had a team that finished better than fourth in the Big Ten.
In 1979, Hayden Fry was hired as Iowa's 24th head coach. In 1981, he took the Hawkeyes to their first Rose Bowl since 1958. Iowa won the Big Ten championship three times under Fry, and played in the Rose Bowl in each of those seasons. Following his tenure at Iowa, which ended after the 1998 season, Kirk Ferentz was hired as his successor. Ferentz has won Big Ten championships twice at Iowa, in 2002 and 2004.
|National Champions||Conference Champions||Division Champions||Bowl game berth|
|Season||Coach(es)||Conference(s)||Division||Season results||Bowl result||Final ranking|
|Iowa Hawkeyes football seasons|
|18923||E. A. Dalton||WIUFA||—||4th||3||2||1||—||N/A||N/A|
|1896||A. E. Bull||WIUFA||—||1st||7||1||1||—||N/A||N/A|
|1907||Western; MVIAA5||—||4th; T–1st||3||2||0||—||N/A||N/A|
|1908||Western; MVIAA||—||6th; 7th||2||5||0||—||N/A||N/A|
|1909||John Griffith||Western; MVIAA||—||7th; 4th||2||4||1||—||N/A||N/A|
|1910||Jess Hawley||Western; MVIAA||—||4th; 2nd||5||2||0||—||N/A||N/A|
|19568||Big Ten||—||1st||9||1||0||Won Rose Bowl vs. Oregon State, 35–19||3||3|
|19589||Big Ten||—||1st||8||1||1||Won Rose Bowl vs. California, 38–12||2||2|
|1961||Jerry Burns||Big Ten||—||7th||5||4||0||—||—||—|
|1966||Ray Nagel||Big Ten||—||10th||2||8||0||—||—||—|
|1971||Frank Lauterbur||Big Ten||—||10th||1||10||0||—||—||—|
|1974||Bob Commings||Big Ten||—||T–7th||3||8||0||—||—||—|
|1979||Hayden Fry||Big Ten||—||5th||5||6||0||—||—||—|
|1981||Big Ten||—||T–1st||8||4||0||Lost Rose Bowl vs. Washington, 28–0||18||15|
|1982||Big Ten||—||3rd||8||4||0||Won Peach Bowl vs. Tennessee, 28–22||—||—|
|1983||Big Ten||—||3rd||9||3||0||Lost Gator Bowl vs. Florida, 14–6||14||14|
|1984||Big Ten||—||T–4th||8||4||1||Won Freedom Bowl vs. Texas, 55–17||16||15|
|1985||Big Ten||—||1st||10||2||0||Lost Rose Bowl vs. UCLA, 45–28||10||9|
|1986||Big Ten||—||T–3rd||9||3||0||Won Holiday Bowl vs. SDSU, 39–38||16||15|
|1987||Big Ten||—||T–2nd||10||3||0||Won Holiday Bowl vs. Wyoming, 20–19||16||16|
|1988||Big Ten||—||T–3rd||6||4||3||Lost Peach Bowl vs. NC State, 28–23||—||—|
|1990||Big Ten||—||T–1st||8||4||0||Lost Rose Bowl vs. Washington, 46–34||18||16|
|1991||Big Ten||—||2nd||10||1||1||Tied Holiday Bowl vs. BYU, 13–13||10||10|
|1993||Big Ten||—||8th||6||6||0||Lost Alamo Bowl vs. California, 37–3||—||—|
|1995||Big Ten||—||6th||8||4||0||Won Sun Bowl vs. Washington, 38–18||25||22|
|1996||Big Ten||—||T–3rd||9||3||12||Won Alamo Bowl vs. Texas Tech, 27–0||18||18|
|1997||Big Ten||—||T–6th||7||5||Lost Sun Bowl vs. Arizona State, 17–7||—||—|
|1999||Kirk Ferentz||Big Ten||—||11th||1||10||—||—||—|
|2001||Big Ten||—||T–4th||7||5||Won Alamo Bowl vs. Texas Tech, 19–16||—||—|
|2002||Big Ten||—||T–1st||11||2||Lost Orange Bowl vs. USC, 38–17||8||8|
|2003||Big Ten||—||T–4th||10||3||Won Outback Bowl vs. Florida, 37–17||8||8|
|2004||Big Ten||—||T–1st||10||2||Won Capital One Bowl vs. LSU, 30–25||8||8|
|2005||Big Ten||—||T–3rd||7||5||Lost Outback Bowl vs. Florida, 31–24||—||—|
|2006||Big Ten||—||T–8th||6||7||Lost Alamo Bowl vs. Texas, 26–24||—||—|
|2008||Big Ten||—||T-4th||9||4||Won Outback Bowl vs. South Carolina, 31–10||20||20|
|2009||Big Ten||—||T-2nd||11||2||Won Orange Bowl vs. Georgia Tech, 24–14||7||7|
|2010||Big Ten||—||T-4th||8||5||Won Insight Bowl vs. Missouri, 27–24||—||—|
|2011||Big Ten||Legends||4th||7||6||Lost Insight Bowl vs. Oklahoma, 14–31||—||—|
|2013||Big Ten||Legends||2nd||8||5||Lost Outback Bowl vs. LSU, 14–21||—||—|
|Total||592||523||38||(only includes regular season games)|
|14||12||1||(only includes bowl games)|
- The AP Poll was introduced in 1936. Thus, there are no polls for previous seasons.
- The Coaches Poll was introduced in 1950. Thus, there are no polls for previous seasons.
- The outcome of Iowa's game vs. Kansas in 1892 was disputed. Iowa lists the game as an 18–14 Hawkeye victory, while Kansas lists the game as a 14–12 Jayhawk victory. In this list the game is regarded as an Iowa victory in the best interest of keeping Iowa's victory total at 559, which is where it stands according to official Iowa Hawkeye school records.
- The Big Ten was unofficially named The Western Conference from its inception till 1949.
- Iowa held dual membership in the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MVIAA) and the Big Ten Conference from 1907-1910.
- Two selectors, Billingsley and Parke H. Davis, awarded the national championship to Iowa in 1921. Iowa does not recognize this National Championship in their official school records.
- Billingsley once again awarded their national title to Iowa in 1922. Iowa does not recognize this National Championship in their official school records.
- Football Research awarded Iowa their national championship in 1956. Iowa does not recognize this National Championship in their official school records.
- The Football Writers Association of America awarded the national championship and the Grantland Rice Award to Iowa in 1958.
- Despite a tie for first in the Big Ten, four publications listed Iowa as their national champion in 1960. The four publications were Berryman, Boand, Litkenhous, and Sagarin. Iowa does not recognize this National Championship in their official school records.
- In 1977, Iowa lost to UCLA 34–16. However, UCLA later forfeited the game, giving Iowa a 5–6 final record.
- Overtime rules in college football were introduced in 1996, making ties impossible.
- HawkeyeSports.com — Official Iowa Hawkeyes football website