The bye week doldrums bring us back to one of our oldest joys, in telling you where everyone is projecting Iowa to go bowling. While Iowa’s 20-0 win over Northwestern wasn’t the most exciting spectacle in sports, it assured that Iowa will go bowling for the 7th straight season and the 17th time overall in the Kirk Ferentz era. They join Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Indiana (!?), Minnesota and Wisconsin as the Big Ten teams that are bowl eligible. With Rutgers and Northwestern sitting at 2-6 and 1-6, respectively, they’ll be enjoying Ro-Tel Queso over the holidays very shortly.
Here's the long list of information on the bowl games:
- Four teams are chosen for the College Football Playoff and six bowls rotate for the semifinals: Rose, Sugar, Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, and Peach. The bowls hosting the semifinals this year are the Peach and Fiesta. The National Championship will be played in the Superdome, NOLA, on January 13th.
- As the Rose Bowl is not hosting a semifinal, if the Big Ten Champion is selected for the College Football Playoff, the next highest ranked team by the CFB Playoff Committee, or the runner-up, will be selected for the Rose Bowl.
- The highest-ranked champion from the Group of Five mid-majors (AAC, C-USA, MAC, MWC, Sun Belt) is guaranteed a spot in the non-playoff bowls if they fail to make the playoff.
- The Big Ten has a six-year contract with the eight non-playoff bowl games (through this season). The Big Ten has an eight-year contract with the Pinstripe Bowl (through 2021).
- I used to say that the Big Ten has a tiered selection process when it comes to selecting teams but I don’t really believe that anymore. Basically, the bowls will choose whoever they want. If you want to rank them in “respectability” you could say: 1) Rose, 2) Orange, 3) Citrus, 4) Holiday, Outback, 5) Pinstripe, Music City/TaxSlayer, and Redbox, 6) Quick Lane and First Responder (formerly known as the Heart of Dallas Bowl)/Armed Forces.
- As the Orange Bowl is not hosting a Playoff semifinal, a Big Ten team will be eligible, but not guaranteed to play in Miami.
- Iowa has played in the following bowls since 2010: Insight, Outback, TaxSlayer, Rose, Outback, Pinstripe, Outback.
Now, the following could be considered “rules” or they could be considered “goals” for bowl games. It isn’t clear whether or not these things are contractual or not. With that explanation given, here are some Iowa-centric “rules”:
- Iowa technically cannot play in the Outback Bowl following this season. The agreement called for five different teams over a period of six years. Only four teams have played in the Outback Bowl during that timeframe: Iowa, Michigan, Northwestern, and Wisconsin.
- Dr. Hawks (great name) brought it to my attention that the Music City Bowl and TaxSlayer Bowl agreement stipulates that three Big Ten teams and three ACC teams are to play over a six-year period (which ends following this season). Three Big Ten teams have already played in the Music City Bowl, so it looks like an ACC bowl game this season.
- If that’s the case, the TaxSlayer Bowl would be a Big Ten game. However, no Big Ten team is to play in the TaxSlayer or Music City Bowl more than once during the term of the agreement. As Iowa played in 2015, they would not be eligible to play in the TaxSlayer Bowl again.
- The Holiday Bowl has met its five-team “quota” so they can choose whoever they want.
- The Pinstripe Bowl has a “goal” of eight different teams in eight years and they’re actually on track with zero repeats since 2014. At the very least, they must have six different teams and as they’ve had five, they’ve got a lot of room to choose whoever they can get.
247 Sports: Holiday, vs. Washington
Bleacher Report: Holiday, vs. Washington
Brett McMurphy: Gator, vs. Kentucky
CBS Sports: Holiday, vs. Washington
College Football News: Citrus, vs. Texas A&M
ESPN (Mark Schlabach): Gator, vs. Tennessee
ESPN (Kyle Bonagura): Holiday, vs. Washington
SBNation: Music City, vs. Kentucky
Sporting News: Holiday, vs. Washington State
Sports Illustrated: Holiday, vs. Washington
Yahoo Sports: Holiday, vs. USC
The majority of the experts are calling for the Hawkeyes to play in the Holiday Bowl vs. Washington. This is a fair assumption. The Holiday Bowl typically features 8/9 win teams and Iowa and Washington look like 8/9 win teams. For those of you who aren’t paying attention, the Huskies looked to be a contender in the Pac-12 North before inexplicably losing to California at home, losing to Stanford on the road and dropping a close one to Oregon. With Utah left on the schedule they’re looking like an 8-4 team.
CFB News continues to be high on the Hawkeyes, placing them in the Citrus Bowl against Texas A&M. I question this projection because Texas A&M is 5-3 and still has Georgia and LSU left on their schedule. Georgia is no easy out and LSU is…well…going to murder death kill Texas A&M. There’s no way the Aggies finish with 8/9 wins. Book it.
Iowa, technically, could finish 10-2 but that’s highly unlikely. Wisconsin looks vulnerable but it’s difficult to trust Kirk Ferentz to beat Wisconsin this…decade? There’s also Minnesota, who is 8-0? I use a question mark because that fact is still tough to digest. While a 9-3 Iowa team could make the Citrus Bowl, it’s unlikely they’ll jump a 10-2 Minnesota team. That’s why the Holiday seems to make the most sense. BTW, if you want to see something funny, look at the bowl projections for Minnesota, who the national media is not at all taking seriously.
Holiday seems like a safe bet. What say you, Hawkeye fans?