Iowa was unable to clinch a berth in the playoffs last night, falling victim to Michigan State 16-13 in a nailbiter of a ball game. Now the attention shifts to what bowl game and what destination the Hawkeyes will have in January.
The big prize for this team would be the Rose Bowl. A berth to Pasadena would match them up against Stanford and a game similar to the one played in the Big Ten Championship Game last night would be expected. That has to be intriguing and tempting for the executives of the Big Ten and the Rose Bowl.
However, it has became public the past several weeks and according to a representative of the executive board of the Rose Bowl, that the "strong presumption" would be that the Rose Bowl takes the highest rated Big Ten team that isn't selected into the playoff picture. That means it would come down to the Hawkeyes and Buckeyes.
Another part of it is that they also made with that statement with "unless there is extraordinary circumstances". Well, Iowa is the 'feel good' football story of the year in NCAA. They haven't advanced to Pasadena since 1991 when they lost to Washington 46-34. I think both of those cases would be considered extraordinary. It is time for the Hawkeyes to go back to Pasadena.
An additional argument can also be made that Iowa should be ahead of Ohio State in the rankings, still. Ohio State's best win is over Michigan at home 42-13 and Iowa's best win is over Northwestern on the road 40-10. Those two teams are rated fairly similarly despite Michigan shutting Northwestern out 38-0. Iowa also won its division, Ohio State did not. The Hawkeyes basically lost to Michigan State on the final play, just like the Buckeyes, but against their starting quarterback on a neutral site. Ohio State fell to the Spartans when they were without Connor Cook and the game was played in Columbus.
There's a lot of national momentum headed Iowa's way on this because of their performance last night. Everyone would have preferred a win undoubtedly but they re-shaped the image on Hawkeye football, anyways. This is a team that is as real as it gets. They were an inch or two away from playing for a national championship.
Dear Rose Bowl, send Iowa to Pasadena.
Dear Big Ten, send Iowa to Pasadena.
They have earned a Rose Bowl bid.