With Iowa losing to Wisconsin and falling to 3-3 in Big Ten play, they’re safely out of the division race so that means there’s nothing left to fight for but the moral victory bowl. The only question is: Is the moral victory bowl taking place in San Diego or Santa Clara? Or maybe even worse: Jacksonville?!
The Big Bowl Game Refresher Course:
- 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.
ESPN (Kyle Bonagura): Holiday, vs. Washington
As you can see, the Holiday Bowl continues to be the most popular prediction, although the opponent has changed. This is due to USC beating Arizona State in a game that was apparently a lot closer than when I turned it off. It was 28-7 USC AT THE END OF THE FIRST QUARTER but Arizona State somehow made it respectable, losing 31-26. With that, USC is now 6-4 (5-2) and should be a favorite in their final two games.
I see a Pinstripe and a Gator prediction but nah, I don’t see those happening. It’s either Holiday or RedBox. By the way, that projection of UCLA in the Holiday Bowl is INCREDIBLY drunk. They’re 4-5 and have Utah, USC and Cal left on the schedule. They’ll be underdogs in at least two of those games and could lose all three. Even if they win out I’m hard pressed to believe a 7-5 team will be playing in the Holiday Bowl…even if they did somehow put together an amazing run to finish 7-2 in conference.