By Mike Jones on September 11, 2018 at 2:15 pm
© Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports

Looking ahead to week three, be it remembered that Rutgers travels to Kansas this Saturday and that someone has to win the game, meaning either the Jayhawks or the Scarlet Knights will have a winning record in this year of our Lord, 2018. Rutgers isn’t the type of team we have to worry about in the bowl standings, though. It’s the Wisconsins, Michigans, Penn Staters and Ohio State that we have to worry about.

Ohio State will continue to be the class of our conference and will only be tested in the 2018 regular season with trips to Penn State and Michigan State. Wisconsin continues to be the class of our division, but they have to play Iowa at night and travel to Michigan and Penn State. Unless Iowa can pull some magic moves, it looks like Ohio State v. Wisconsin is your Big Ten Championship game, with the winner moving to the CFB Playoff. That will probably leave the loser heading to the Rose Bowl.

Will there be an at-large in the New Year’s Six Bowls? Penn State has to play Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan and Wisconsin, which isn’t the easiest schedule. Michigan won’t finish better than third in their division because lol Harbaugh. Assuming Ohio State and Wisconsin do what they’re projected to do, Penn State has the best chance at making the NY6, but it’s an uphill battle.

No, I’m not automatically counting out Iowa to do something special but let’s be honest guys…have you seen Iowa play offense?

At this stage in the season, I think Iowa’s realistic goal should be to make the Holiday Bowl. That can all change if they can actually start playing offense, though I’m not optimistic that’s ever going to happen. Michigan State went to San Diego last season at 9-3, Minnesota went at 8-4 and Wisconsin went at 9-3. So basically, Iowa is going to need to need to win at least 8, but probably needs 9 to be considered.

Looking at their schedule, they’ll be underdogs vs. Wisconsin and Penn State and could be underdogs @ Minnesota and @ Purdue. Of course, things have gone poorly with Minnesota losing their leading rusher to an ACL injury and Purdue just lost to EMU so…

This is usually the part where I say “If Iowa wins all the games they’re supposed to and lose the ones they’re supposed to, they’ll finish 10-2.” Unfortunately, Iowa hasn’t done that in like 14 years. Iowa will absolutely lose a game they aren’t supposed to and will win a game they shouldn’t. I can see Iowa beating Wisconsin and then losing to Minnesota the next week. Or, alternatively, beating Penn State and then losing to Purdue. That being said, I think 9-3 is a reasonable goal, as is the Holiday Bowl. Do the experts agree? Let’s see…

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 Orange Bowl and the Cotton Bowl.
  • The National Championship will be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California on January 7th, 2019.
  • 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 the 2019 season). The Big Ten has an eight-year contract with the Pinstripe Bowl (through 2021).
  • The non-playoff bowls are broken down into three tiers. Tier 1: Holiday, Citrus and Outback. Tier 2: Pinstripe, Music City/TaxSlayer, and San Francisco (formerly known as the Foster Farms Bowl). Tier 3: Quick Lane and First Responder (formerly known as the Heart of Dallas Bowl)/Armed Forces.
  • As the Orange Bowl is a CFB Playoff Bowl, the Citrus Bowl will feature a Big Ten team this season.
  • The Music City/TaxSlayer and First Responder/Armed Forces Bowls supposedly alternate each year. I’ve been doing this for a while and that’s the “official” line I always get. Despite this, an ACC team has played in the TaxSlayer Bowl for two straight seasons telling me that there really aren’t any hard and fast rules when it comes to bowl selections. It’s all about straight cash, homie.  
  • Iowa has played in the following bowls since 2010: Insight, Outback, TaxSlayer, Rose, Outback, and Pinstripe.

Media Projections:

247 Sports: Citrus, vs. Texas A&M

CBS Sports: Citrus, vs. South Carolina

ESPN (Mitch Sherman): Holiday, vs. USC

ESPN (Kyle Bonagura): Holiday, vs. Colorado

Orlando Sentinel: San Francisco, vs. Utah

Saturday Tradition: Holiday, vs. Oregon

SBNation: Foster Farms, vs. USC

Sporting News: Holiday, vs. Oregon

Sports Illustrated: Citrus, vs. Mississippi State

The Orange Bowl is a CFB Playoff game, meaning the Citrus Bowl is available as the first non-New Year’s Six Bowl for the first time since 2015. So, for a few major outlets to be projecting Iowa to play in the Citrus Bowl is impressive, as that means they’re expecting the Hawkeyes to win 9-10 games. Of course, then there’s Jason Kirk at SBNation, who still thinks it’s the Foster Farms Bowl. At least they aren’t projecting us to play in the Outback Bowl…again.

Again, I expect to see Iowa in the Holiday Bowl vs. Oregon or USC. If they develop any semblance of an offense, they’ll go someplace even better. But we’re going to need to see that offense first. For now, enjoy this:


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