It took a bit, but we finally have a bowl game and opponent for Iowa to wrap up the 2020 college football season.
Missouri vs. Iowa in Music City Bowl— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) December 20, 2020
The Music City Bowl is scheduled to be played on Wednesday, December 30. The game is set to kick off at 3:00 PM Central; ESPN will televise the game. I say "scheduled to be played," of course, because nothing is certain in the Year of COVID. Iowa knows that all too well lately, between the Michigan game scheduled for yesterday getting called off due to COVID issues within the Michigan program and the news on Friday that Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz has tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently in isolation. But for now at least the plan is for Iowa to play Missouri in 10 days.
Who will coach Iowa in that game? Good question! Ferentz is scheduled to be in self-isolation until December 27, which would be three days before the bowl game. We may know more about his condition and his plans for the bowl game soon; he's scheduled to speak at a press conference about the bowl game later this afternoon.
What will Iowa's roster look like for that game? Also a good question! There have been rumblings of some Iowa players opting to skip that game to begin preparing for the NFL Draft, which would not come as a very big surprise. Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Daviyon Nixon and All-Big Ten selection Tyler Linderbaum are underclassmen who will have NFL Draft decisions to make, while seniors Alaric Jackson, Chauncey Golston, and Matt Hankins are all expected to be NFL Draft picks as well and may opt to begin draft preparations sooner rather than later. We'll likely know more about their respective plans soon.
As for the game itself... Iowa has never played in the Music City Bowl before. Iowa has played Missouri before -- this year will actually mark the 10-year anniversary of Iowa's thrilling win over Mizzou in the Insight Bowl. You all remember how that game ended, right?
MICAH HYDE! ALL THE WAY!
Despite residing just across Iowa's southern border, though, Iowa and Missouri have played each other only rarely; that Insight Bowl showdown was the only meeting between the teams in the past 110 seasons. All it took to bring them together again was a once-a-century (we hope) global pandemic!
This year's Missouri team went 5-5 in the SEC in their first season under new head coach Eli Drinkwitz. They lost their first two games of the season and their last two games of the season, but won five of six in-between. The five wins came against LSU, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Arkansas; two of those teams fired their coaches this season and one of the others did so just a year ago. The five losses came against Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi State. The five losses were also not close. They lost by an average of 24 points and none of the five defeats were closer than 19 points. They ended their regular season losing 51-32 to Mississippi State yesterday. We'll have more to say about them in the next week-and-a-half, but the Tigers certainly aren't a terribly impressive opponent for Iowa on paper.
On a final note, fans will be allowed to attend this game, albeit in limited numbers. The Music City Bowl is played at Nissan Stadium, which is also the home of the Tennessee Titans. The Titans have been allowing around 14,000 fans to attend games recently, so it's probably safe to assume the allowed attendance at the Music City Bowl will be around that number as well.