Championship week is upon us and unfortunately, the Hawkeyes will not be playing in Indianapolis for the Big Ten but hey, we demolished Nebraska so everything is OK, right? RIGHT? Good.
At the conclusion of the regular season, the following Big Ten teams are bowl eligible: Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Purdue, and Iowa. I believe I saw a CFB reporter state that as there are enough 6-6 teams in the nation, there will not be any 5-7 teams allowed into bowls. So at least we’ve got that going for us.
There are five Big Ten teams ranked in the College Football Playoff Rankings: #4 Wisconsin, #8 Ohio State, #9 Penn State, #16 Michigan State, and #21, Northwestern. Wisconsin’s path to the Playoff is simple: win the Big Ten. Should they lose, Ohio State has quite a path to make it to the Playoff. First, they’d need to jump the loser of the ACC Championship game between Clemson and Miami. Should Miami lose, that wouldn’t be a stretch, as the Hurricanes are ranked #7.
Then comes the SEC nightmare. Auburn and Georgia, ranked #2 and #6, will play in the SEC Championship. The winner will be in. Ohio State will somehow have to jump the loser. In addition, they’ll have to jump Alabama, who is #5 and will not even play in the SEC Championship.
The best scenario for Ohio State is if Clemson wins and retains the #1 sport. Miami will drop. Auburn wins the SEC, stays at #2 and Georgia drops. Oklahoma losing would probably be bad because Ohio State lost to Oklahoma. So, say Oklahoma wins and stays at #3. It all comes down to the 4th spot, where Wisconsin currently sits. Does the Committee award that spot to the winner of the Big Ten Championship, or do they let Alabama slide in…despite Nick Saban saying that you should have to win your conference to play in the Playoff? People don’t forget, Nick.
I guess it will all become clear this weekend.
Let’s talk bowls.
- 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. The Big Ten will play in the Heart of Dallas Bowl in 2017.
- Iowa has played in the following bowls since 2010: Insight, Outback, TaxSlayer, Rose, and Outback.
- If the B1G sends a non-champion team to the Orange Bowl, the ACC gets the B1G spot in the Citrus.
Brett McMurphy: Holiday Bowl, vs. Stanford
CBS Sports: Pinstripe Bowl, vs. N.C. State
College Football News: Pinstripe Bowl, vs. Louisville
ESPN (Kyle Bonagura): Music City Bowl, vs. Texas A&M
ESPN (David Hale): Foster Farms Bowl, vs. Washington State
Land of 10: Music City Bowl
SBNation: Music City Bowl, vs. Kentucky
Sporting News: Pinstripe Bowl, vs. Virginia
You probably read that Brett McMurphy projection and went LOL WTF but hey, here’s what he’s got to say:
Despite two fewer losses than Northwestern, I’ve been told the Holiday Bowl could select Iowa (7-5) over the Wildcats (9-3). The Hawkeyes would face Pac-12 runner-up Stanford and Heisman finalist Bryce Love.
Listen, Brett McMurphy doesn’t just make things up. He’s been a college football insider for as long as I can remember. If he’s heard that, then he’s heard that. Does that mean it’s going to happen? Absolutely not. But it’s at least an interesting thought that the Holiday Bowl is giving Iowa the time of day.
The remainder of the projections seem to be in line with what everyone thinks: either the Music City Bowl or the Pinstripe Bowl.
On social media, most Iowa fans I follow are clamoring for the Music City Bowl. Nashville isn’t terribly cold in late December, the game is on a Friday, it would be against an SEC opponent, Nashville is a wonderful town with a lot of history and wouldn’t be too expensive. I mean, I remember a time when Iowa fans would consider the Music City Bowl a slight but hey, expectations change.
The Pinstripe Bowl would not be good. New York sounds cool until you realize that the Pinstripe Bowl is played on a Wednesday, it’s like 10 degrees cooler in New York than it is in Nashville and the game is against an ACC team. Did I mention that it’s less than a week before New Years? Do you know how nuts and expensive things get while leading up to New Year's Day in New York?
Plus, there’s this:
Yes, that is a screen shot of the Hawkeye Sports ticket website listing the Music City Bowl. It’s obviously gone now. It could just be a prank or it would be another awesome blunder by the Iowa SID, who only provides us with important information at 4:45 PM on a Friday or a week too early.
I tend to think that bowls react to social media and are influenced by what fans want. After all, those people will actually show up to games. Even if they don’t show up, they’ll watch. The Holiday Bowl would be wonderful but I think that’s a reach. Let’s go to the Music City Bowl against Kentucky. WOOOOO MARK STOOPS GRUDGE MATCH.