Iowa became bowl eligible the week before in beating Northern Illinois, and the Hawkeyes will be playing football in December this year. But where?
As I have been predicting for the past two weeks, an Alamo Bowl appearance seems most likely for the Hawkeyes, especially now.
Iowa is 6-4 overall, and 2-4 in Big Ten play. The teams that its ‘competing' with for a bid to the Alamo Bowl, as I see it, are Indiana, Purdue and Michigan State. Penn State is also 6-4 overall, but it hosts Temple this week and it will win that football game, moving it to 7-4. It's season finale is against Michigan State, and though the Spartans have enough talent to win that game, does anyone really think will? I don't.
Even if MSU did win that game, and Penn State would then finish at 7-5, I see the Nittany Lions going to the Outback Bowl. Wisconsin will be going to the Capital One Bowl for the second year in a row; they can start reserving tickets and hotel rooms right now.
So let's a take a look at the Alamo Bowl picture.
Iowa (6-4/2-4): vs Wisconsin, at Minnesota
Indiana (5-5/3-3): vs Michigan, at Purdue
Purdue (6-4/3-3) at Illinois, Indiana, at Hawaii
MSU (4-6/1-5) vs Minnesota, at Penn State
Minnesota (4-6/1-5) at MSU, vs Iowa
Since there will likely be two Big Ten teams in BCS bowls this year, the ‘two win' policy is waived for the Outback, Alamo and Champs bowls. It means they can take whomever they wish.
Michigan State has to win its final two games to be bowl eligible. I don't see that happening for the Spartans, so we will rule them out of this scenario. Minnesota has to win its final two games to become bowl eligible, and they haven't traveled well in seasons that had much better records, so we will toss them out as well.
Indiana has to win one of its final two games to be bowl eligible. Even if it wins one of its final two games to become bowl eligible and Iowa loses its final two games, it's hard to believe that the Alamo would take an Indiana football fan base over an Iowa fan base that would still likely put 10,000 fans in the stands for the Alamo Bowl, so let's eliminate the Hoosiers.
Purdue plays 13 games this year, so they need to win one of their final three games. If they won two of three, they would have eight wins.
To me, it's simple; if Iowa wins one of its final two games, it will be going to the Alamo Bowl. If it loses both and Purdue wins two of its final three games, it could get dicey, but Iowa would still not be out of the Alamo picture.
I don't see Iowa falling below the Champs Bowl, which is played in Orlando.
So we are down to a two-bowl picture for Iowa; the Alamo Bowl or the Champs Bowl, and my bet is still on the Alamo Bowl.