The reason against Iowa all year for those that don't want to believe the Hawkeyes truly belong in the playoff or in the company of the other elite football teams in the country has been their schedule. They were able to avoid Michigan State, Ohio State, and Michigan on the schedule. They also avoided Penn State but facing Northwestern and Wisconsin on the road certainly would challenge any team in the Big Ten.
Not only did Iowa beat the Badgers in Madison but they demolished the Wildcats in Evanston, 40-10. Remember, Northwestern beat Stanford, and many believe the Cardinal will jump Ohio State should they defeat USC in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Despite those facts, the argument against Iowa has persisted. It is an argument that could be erased just as fast if the Hawkeyes are able to walk out of Indianapolis with a win over Michigan State. They know what's at stake and what's left to prove.
"We have something to do," quarterback C.J. Beathard said. "We have something to prove. We're focused on that."
"Obvously this is top of the line, being in the Big Ten Championship Game," fullback Macon Plewa stated. "Nobody can say it's not a big game. We're excited. I can't wait for it."
Plewa isn't the only Hawkeye geared up for the contest in Indianapolis. Iowa takes center stage in primetime on Saturday night in what is potentially the biggest game in school history.
"I think we are (excited)," Beathard shared. "We're really excited for the opportunity. We can't get too excited, or get too big of a head, or get caught up in the lights and glamour and everything that comes with a championship game. It's the next game on our schedule. If we win, we can be more excited about that."
"Yeah, it's exciting," tight end Henry Krieger Coble commented. "It's going to be awesome to play a team that has been in these games year after year. We're excited to play a heck of a team and a heck of a program."
Iowa's schedule has been void of some of the top teams but it all comes to an end in the Big Ten Championship. It's their chance to prove everyone wrong by taking down one of the nation's best teams. They know their hands will be full and they know what the Spartans will bring to the table.
"Any game on the schedule is against a good team," offensive lineman Jordan Walsh pointed out. "It's hard to win in the Big Ten. This is definitely going to be our toughest game."