Which bowl is the Iowa football team likely heading to after their most recent loss to the Northwestern Wildcats Saturday?
It seems like each week, the Iowa football team is able to eliminate another exciting possibility from their postseason plans. In the loss to Penn State, Iowa eliminated themselves from the possibility of contending for the College Football Playoff. Last week’s loss to Purdue eliminated Iowa from virtually any chance of winning the Big Ten West, and this weekend’s most recent loss to Northwestern basically ruins any chance of Iowa heading to a potentially nicer bowl like the Citrus Bowl or the Holiday Bowl, which were both very realistic possibilities with a 9-3 finish.
As we discussed in this article last week, there are a few things to keep in mind when trying to determine the possible bowls for the Iowa football team. If you don’t feel like reading the full thing, here’s the three biggest factors for bowl selection.
The biggest factor is where each team falls in the College Football Playoff ranking followed closely by conference bowl ties. For example, the Big Ten Conference champion is automatically slotted for the Rose Bowl unless they are selected to play in the College Football Playoffs. When a Big Ten team makes the College Football Playoffs, it moves all other Big Ten teams up in the pecking order of bowls, including the Iowa football team.
Secondly, there are bowls with specific ties to the Big Ten. These bowls include the aforementioned Rose Bowl, the Citrus Bowl, the Outback Bowl, the Holiday Bowl, the TaxSlayer Bowl, the Pinstripe Bowl, the San Francisco Bowl (not the Redbox Bowl), and the Quick Lane Bowl.
Third and finally, there is a soft agreement in place to not repeat bowls for teams. So for example, the Iowa football team was in the Pinstripe Bowl last year. That means, it’s a lot less likely for the Hawks to be in that bowl again this year. This also eliminates the TaxSlayer Bowl (which Iowa made after the 2014 season), and the Outback Bowl (which Iowa made after the 2016 season).
After Iowa’s loss to Northwestern, the best record the Iowa football team could finish with is 8-4 which would likely slot them behind Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State, Wisconsin, and Northwestern. There are a lot of things still at play (most notably if Michigan or Ohio State makes the College Football Playoff), but keeping in mind the Iowa has already been to a few of the mid-tier bowls since the different team each year policy was put in to place and a finish of 7-5 or 8-4, it’s looking very much like the Iowa football team will be making a trip to San Francisco for the Redbox Bowl.
This is also where Sports Illustrated predicts the Hawks will be heading based on the results of this past week.
Although it’s not where Iowa football fans wanted to go, the location and the bowl could be worse. It’s still a late-December bowl, and in a nice-climate location.