By Mike Jones on September 12, 2017 at 5:13 pm

© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


One of the advantages of having Adam do a Big Ten recap is that you can simply read his recaps to get a better understanding of our conference’s football teams and not have to be subject to an Illinois football game. Because no one, no matter how terrible, should ever be subjected to an Illinois football game.

Except for Rejus Benn

BTW, did you know Arrelious Benn is still in the NFL? Crazy, right? He might actually see playing time with the Jacksonville Jaguars due to all of their injuries at wide receiver. Hopefully he, along with the Jags, fare better than he did against Iowa at Kinnick Stadium on October 13th, 2007. What, did you think I forgot about that Rejus? Oh, I never forget. 10-6 baby. Go Hawkeyes.

I get the feeling that the lower tier teams aren’t as bad as we initially thought. Illinois would’ve lost to Western Kentucky last season. Instead, they won and are now 2-0. After beating Texas and Towson, Maryland is also 2-0. Purdue would’ve lost to Ohio last season. Instead, they won and are now 1-1 after a tough loss to Louisville in week one. The teams we thought were awful actually aren’t. Except for Rutgers. Rutgers will always be awful and should not be in the Big Ten.

On the opposite hand of that is the teams we figured were “elite.” This does not include Minnesota. This includes Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Or at least it used to include Ohio State. The Buckeyes looked sloppy in their week one win against Indiana and were listless against Oklahoma, losing 36-14. Michigan defeated Cincinnati 36-14 but it wasn’t that much of a blowout. It was 17-7 at half and 24-14 going into the fourth quarter. Only Penn State and Wisconsin have looked the part, dominating both of their (inferior) opponents. We’ll get a better idea of who the Badgers are when they travel to Provo to take on a struggling BYU squad.

Let’s talk bowls.

The Rules:

  • 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 Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl. 
  • As the Rose Bowl is hosting a semifinal, the Big Ten Champion will play in one of the other New Year’s bowls, provided they do not make the College Football Playoff.
  • The National Championship game will take place on January 8th, 2018 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA.
  • 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 (aside from the Pinstripe, which is an eight-year contract). Per the terms of that contract, the bowls are to select at least five different Big Ten schools over six years.
  • The non-playoff bowls are broken down into three tiers. Tier 1: Holiday, Buffalo Wild Wings (Citrus) and Outback. Tier 2: Pinstripe, Music City/TaxSlayer, and Foster Farms. Tier 3: Quick Lane and Heart of Dallas/Armed Forces. 
  • The Music City/TaxSlayer and Heart of Dallas/Armed Forces Bowls alternate each year. As the Big Ten played in the Music City last season, they’ll presumably play in the TaxSlayer Bowl in 2017. A Big Ten team hasn’t qualified for the Armed Forces/Heart of Dallas Bowl since 2014. It’s unclear as to how this affects the alternating of bowls but assuming that qualification of a Big Ten team is wholly irrelevant, the Armed Forces Bowl will a Big Ten bowl in 2017.
  • Iowa has played in the following bowls since 2010: Insight, Outback, TaxSlayer, Rose, and Outback.

Listen, it's bad enough that Iowa actually lost votes in both polls after beating Iowa State in Ames. Now, they're actually dropping in Jerry Palm's CBS Sports bowl projections and honestly, that's what really hurts.


CBS Sports: Quick Lane Bowl, vs. Central Michigan

College Football News: Holiday Bowl, vs. Oregon

ESPN (Kyle Bonagura): Holiday Bowl, vs. Washington State

ESPN (David Hale): Holiday Bowl, vs. Washington

SBNation: Holiday Bowl, vs. Oregon

SEC Country: Holiday Bowl, vs. Washington State

Sporting News: Music City Bowl, vs. Arkansas


Anyway, the consensus is that Iowa’s clutch win over Iowa State has elevated them to Holiday Bowl territory. I said at the start of it all that Iowa likely needed at least 9 wins to get to San Diego. If they won out in their non-conference schedule, I thought that Penn State, @ Northwestern, Ohio State and @ Wisconsin were their toughest remaining tests. Northwestern got pantsed by Duke. DUKE. Penn State and Ohio State may be the class of the conference but Iowa gets them both at home, and the Buckeyes look vulnerable. Wisconsin…well…we’ll see how they look against BYU in Provo.

With Iowa showing that they can win a meaningful football game, regardless of the opponent, and the Wildcats looking hilarious, an 8-4 record seems likely at this point. Of note: an 8-win Big Ten team has never played in the Foster Farms Bowl. Also of note: an 8-win Big Ten team hasn’t played in the Holiday Bowl since 1994. If Iowa wins eight games they’re going to be in the odd position of being “over-seeded” in the Holiday Bowl or “under-seeded” for the Foster Farms Bowl. Again, this is operating under the presumption that all Florida bowl games are out of the picture. 

Iowa being “over-seeded” hasn’t worked well as of late. See: uh, every bowl game since 2010. But, cash rules every thing around me so why not? Iowa will play Oregon in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. Correction: The San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium.

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