Projections of the Iowa football team have been all over the board this offseason. This latest prediction puts the Hawks in the Holiday Bowl in 2019.
There is so much that can happen between now and then, and there is so much more than goes into bowl game selections than just record, as we saw last year when the Iowa football team leapfrogged Big Ten West champion Northwestern for a spot in the Outback Bowl.
However, bowl projections can give us a general idea where folks are predicting the Iowa football team to finish. We’ve already discussed how credible betting sites have put the Hawks win/loss title right around 8, and we’ve seen Iowa be predicted to finish all over the board in the Big Ten West standings. In fact, I’ve seen them in 6th and 1st. Personally, I feel like a safe place would be anywhere 1 through 3.
Athlon Sports is projecting the Iowa football team to be selected for the Holiday Bowl in its final year of association with the Big Ten, at least for the time being.
This puts the Hawkeyes fifth overall in the Big Ten based on bowl selections. Here’s a quick breakdown of the bowls:
- Peach Bowl (College Football Playoffs): Michigan
- Rose Bowl: Ohio State
- Citrus Bowl: Nebraska
- Outback Bowl: Penn State
- Holiday Bowl: Iowa
- Gator Bowl: Wisconsin
- Pinstripe Bowl: Michigan State
- RedBox Bowl: Minnesota
- Quick Lane Bowl: Northwestern
- Armed Forces Bowl: Purdue
So essentially what this is saying is Nebraska is projected to win the Big Ten West and lose in the Big Ten Championship Game to Michigan. Based on rankings and record, Ohio State will leap Nebraska to play in the Rose Bowl despite not making it to the championship game and Penn State will somehow put together an outstanding season despite the absence of Trace McSorley and Miles Sanders.
Here are my thoughts on the projections:
- Get Nebraska out of there. Citrus Bowl would likely mean 9 to 10 wins. I don’t see it. I do think Nebraska will be much improved, but 7 to 8 wins seems more realistic to me, and if the division title comes down to an end of season matchup with the Hawks, history bodes well for Iowa to win that.
- There is no love for Northwestern even though they are going to be starting arguably the most naturally talented quarterback in the history of the program, a former five-star recruit who transferred out of Clemson because of the arrival of Trevor Lawrence.
- Iowa could very well get screwed into the Holiday Bowl because of the way conference tie-ins work. They’ve already been to the Outback Bowl, a lot, and there is no way they go back. Even if they finish ranked higher then Penn State, if they don’t win the division, they could still be relegated to the Holiday Bowl.
- I’ll believe Michigan has the chops to actually make the College Football Playoffs when they win a big game against Ohio State. For now, though, my money is on Ohio State but don’t rule out the Iowa football team. They have all the makings of a sleeper team that could do some damage.
All that said, this is about the most realistic projection I’ve seen so far.
It buys into the hype of Nebraska without going overboard (they aren’t contending for the CFP this year). It factors in Minnesota’s emergence as a factor in the Big Ten West and it appropriately leaves Big-Ten bottom dwellers like Maryland, Indiana, Rutgers, and Illinois off the list entirely.