By Mike Jones on November 5, 2019 at 11:25 am
© Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

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Hello Friend

Would you like to talk about bowl games? Of course you would.

The Iowa Hawkeyes escaped BYE week, 10-0, thanks to some stellar defense and Iowa running the ball 60 times for an unbelievable 1.4 YPC. Nate Stanley had another weird game, going 15/34 for 304 yards and an interception. A.J. Epenesa also killed a guy and Iowa actually decided that a large flexible traffic cone was their best option at left guard.

No, but really, all jokes aside, Iowa didn’t play last week so they’re sitting pretty at 6-2 (3-2). A number of Big Ten teams didn’t play last week and the ones that did, well, played in bad games. Michigan moved to 7-2 with a 38-7 win over Maryland, a team that is now 3-6 and has OSU and MSU left on their schedule. You might find this hard to believe but Maryland was actually ranked at one point this season! It’s true! Nebraska’s embarrassment continued in West Lafayette, as they lost 31-27 to a Purdue team that is basically pulling students from the stands to play football. Neither team will likely go bowling.

With losses this week, Rutgers and Northwestern are both eliminated from bowl contention, which is for the best. There is some discussion as to whether or not this Northwestern team has one of the worst offenses of all time. It’s hard to beat the 1981 Northwestern Wildcats, a team that went 0-11, was shutout in five games and averaged 7.5 PPG. Fun fact: Northwestern fielded 5-6 of the worst football teams of all time in like a 10-15-year period in the late 1970’s-1980’s. Rawr!

Indiana, on the other hand, is now 7-2 (4-2), but has Penn State, Michigan and Purdue left on the schedule. Hell of the season for the Hoosiers but it’s looking like 8-4 and, hey, for Indiana, that’s good! Illinois is 5-4 and has Northwestern on the schedule. Whether you like it or not, Illinois appears to be improving under Lovie Smith.

Going Bowling: Ohio State, Penn State, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin.

Enjoying Ro-Tel Queso this Holiday Season: Rutgers, Northwestern.

TBD: Michigan State, Maryland, Illinois, Purdue, Nebraska.

Here's your bowl game info:

  • 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 the Music City should be 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.

Media Projections:

247 Sports: Holiday, vs. Arizona State

Athlon Sports: Holiday, vs. USC

Bleacher Report: Gator, vs. Kentucky

Brett McMurphy: Holiday, vs. Washington

CBS Sports: Holiday, vs. Arizona State

College Football News: Gator, vs. Kentucky

ESPN (Mark Schlabach): Gator, vs. Tennessee

ESPN (Kyle Bonagura): Gator, vs. Tennessee

SBNation: Holiday, vs. Arizona State

USA Today: Redbox, vs. Washington

Not a lot of movement on the bowl front, as majority of outlets still have the Hawkeyes playing in the Holiday Bowl. You might’ve noticed that their opponent has changed, as I expected, with the Huskies losing 33-28 to my Utah Utes. Now a number of outlets are projecting them to play Arizona State, which would in essence be the ENO BOWL. Maybe Iowa could invite Chris White to be a guest of dishonor and force him to watch what our program missed out on?

Again, assuming those bowl rules are actually “rules,” Iowa cannot play in the TaxSlayer Bowl. Alternatively, if they’re “guidelines,” they could be heading back to Jacksonville to play Tennessee. In no way does that sound appealing. Between Jacksonville and Tennessee fans, the Nebraska fans of the South, I think I’d rather stay home. Or go to San Diego, where the Hawkeyes belong.

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