Bowl Polling: A Look at Iowa's Bowl Future

Last week, Publisher Jon Miller felt that Iowa's most likely bowl destination was the Alamo Bowl, against either Missouri or Oklahoma. Iowa, Wisconsin and Penn State are the three teams vying for the two January 1st bowl games in Florida that have Big Ten tie ins, and each team won this past week. So where does that leave us for our Week two look at Iowa's possible bowl destinations?

Well, at least this week, those of you that are superstitious will not have any reason to email me and advise me to not take bowl eligibility for granted. The Hawkeyes earned that with their 24-14 win against Northern Illinois on Saturday.

So we know that Iowa will be going bowling for the sixth straight year, which is the second longest stretch in school history. Well, I guess technically, the eight-straight bowl game record was seven before it was eight, so does that make this the third longest bowl stretch? I don't know, that's up for debate.

Also up for debate is just where Iowa will be playing its bowl game this year.

In last week's look at Iowa's bowl possibilities, I laid out a scenario that made a strong argument for Penn State and Wisconsin punching their tickets to the New Year's Day Florida bowls, and sending Iowa to the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.

To read that scenario and some factors that could come into play this year, CLICK HERE

As I see it, there are two teams that are in competition with Iowa for the two Florida Bowl games as we sit right now; Wisconsin and Penn State.

Here are the remaining schedules for those three teams:

IOWA (2 Home/1 Road): vs Northwestern, vs Wisconsin, @Minnesota

PENN STATE (2 Home/1Road):: at Wisconsin, vs Temple, vs Michigan St

WISCONSIN (2 Home/1 Road): vs Penn State, at Iowa, vs Buffalo

Can Iowa win out? I don't think that is a stretch to paint that picture. 2-1 is also something that can be seen with the schedule Iowa has left. Can Penn State win out? I don't think they beat Wisconsin this weekend, but they will beat Temple and Michigan State is dangerous, but so inconsistent. Can Wisconsin win out? Yes, they can.

If Iowa wins out, and Penn State goes 2-1, that would mean Iowa is 9-3 overall and 5-3 in league play. Penn State would be 8-4 overall and 5-3 in league play. Wisconsin would be 10-2 overall and 6-2 in league play.

I have an email into the Big Ten conference to get some clarification on whether or not the Cap One has to select a team that has two or more overall wins over the next nearest team to it in the standings. I am not sure that rule is even in place, or if it is, does it apply to Big Ten games?

If that rule is not in place, and the scenario plays out as I have listed, I believe the Cap One takes Penn State. If that rule is in place for overall games, the Cap One takes Wisconsin and I think the Outback would then take Penn State. Either way, I think Penn State and Wisconsin, should they both finish 2-1 down the stretch, will go bowling in Florida this year.

That leaves Iowa in San Antonio for the Alamo in my view. I would put about a 70 percent likelihood on San Antonio right now as it relates to Iowa's bowl destination. NOTE: That is just my current spit-balling of the scenario; don't go and reserve flights or buy tickets to the Alamo Bowl just yet. I know that sounds obvious to most of you, but there are always a few people that get an itchy trigger finger this time of year based on some things that we say or predict.

Any loss by Iowa in its last three game likely takes a Florida bowl out of the picture, as I just don't see Penn State doing any worse than 2-1. Should Iowa lose to Wisconsin but win its other two remaining games, and should Penn State lose to both Wisconsin and Michigan State, that would mean that both teams would be 4-4 in league play, with Iowa 8-4 overall and Penn State 7-5 overall. In that case, I think the Cap One would have little choice but to take Wisconsin for the second straight year.

The question would then be this; would the Outback want Iowa for a second straight year, or would they want Penn State? Penn State has the second largest living alumni base in the nation. They travel well, as does Iowa, and Iowa was there last year.

Again, that has me thinking Alamo Bowl for Iowa.

Since that is my line of thinking right now, let's take a look at the Big 12 conference again this week, as that is the league that makes up the second half of the Alamo Bowl. That bowl pits the fourth pick from both leagues.

Missouri lost at home to Oklahoma this week, and Nebraska lost at Oklahoma State. I interviewed a writer from the state of Missouri on Friday, and he said he had been hearing that the Cotton Bowl was thinking Missouri, and he thought two teams from the Big 12 were going to make it in the BCS.

I didn't buy into that thinking on Friday, and I don't buy into it on Monday.

I see Nebraska beating Missouri this coming weekend in Lincoln, and I see them representing the Big 12 North in the Big 12 title game, in a rematch against Texas. The winner of that game goes to the BCS, with the loser likely ending up in Dallas for the Cotton Bowl. These are the exact thoughts I had last week at this time.

And as we said last week, that that leaves an interesting selection for the Holiday Bowl, which has the third pick from the Big 12.

Do they invite Oklahoma back for a second straight year? Last year's game against Oregon was a Holiday Bowl record for attendance. That bowl lines up the third pick from the Big 12 against the runner up from the Pac 10. This year, the Pac 10 team could be either Cal or USC. If it's USC, I think that Oklahoma is the pick here. Another team to factor into the mix is Texas A&M; they have just one loss right now, and if they can finish the season 10-2, they will also be in consideration for the Cotton and Holiday bowls, pushing Oklahoma and Mizzou one rung lower. If Oklahoma is there for the taking by the Alamo Bowl folks, I doubt they pass on them.

For the time being, I am leaning towards an Iowa vs. Missouri match up in the Alamo Bowl.

That would be a solid selection for that bowl, as there would probably 50,000 seats purchased from the two schools fan bases, plus a good chance for a home-state draw with Iowa quarterback Drew Tate hailing from Baytown Lee high school (222 miles from San Antonio) area and Mizzou QB Chase Daniel hailing from Southlake Carroll High School (291 miles from San Antonio).

As is always the case with bowl predictions in October, these are certainly written in pencil.

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