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Big Ten Bowl Projections: How high can Iowa fly?

I hate this. I hate this, I hate this, I hate this.

Syndication: HawkCentral Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Good afternoon. Or morning. Whatever. By the time this drops, I’ll be in midair, riding first class for the first time in my life. Thanks, Delta upgrades!

Bowl Projections

College Football Playoff

Cotton Bowl

Dec. 31 | 2:30pm | ESPN | Arlington, TX

[2] Alabama Crimson Tide vs. [3] Oklahoma Sooners

Orange Bowl

Dec. 31 | 6:30pm | ESPN | Miami Gardens, FL

[1] Iowa Hawkeyes vs. [4] Georgia Bulldogs

New Year’s Six Bowls

Peach Bowl

Dec. 30 | 6pm | ESPN | Atlanta, GA

[At-Large] Michigan Wolverines vs. [At-Large] Cincinnati Bearcats

Fiesta Bowl

Jan. 1 | 12pm | ESPN | Glendale, AZ

[At-Large] Penn State Nittany Lions vs. [At-Large] Kentucky Wildcats

Rose Bowl

Jan. 1 | 4pm | ESPN | Pasadena, CA

[B1G 1] Ohio State Buckeyes vs. [Pac-12 1] Oregon Ducks

Sugar Bowl

Jan. 1 | 7:45pm | ESPN | New Orleans, LA

[Big XII 1] Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. [SEC 1] Ole Miss Rebels

Big Ten Bowls

Quick Lane Bowl

Dec. 27 | 10am | ESPN | Detroit, MI

[B1G 8] Nevada Wolf Pack* vs. [MAC] Ball State Cardinals

Guaranteed Rate Bowl

Dec. 28 | 9:15pm | ESPN | Phoenix, AZ

[B1G 7] Maryland Terrapins vs. [Big XII 6] Iowa State Cyclones

Pinstripe Bowl

Dec. 29 | 1:15pm | ESPN | The Bronx, NY

[ACC Tier I] Pittsburgh Panthers vs. [B1G 6] Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Music City Bowl

Dec. 30 | 2pm | ESPN | Nashville, TN

[B1G 5] Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. [SEC I] Mississippi State Bulldogs

Las Vegas Bowl

Dec. 30 | 9:30pm | ESPN | Las Vegas, NV

[B1G 4] wisconsin badgers vs. [Pac-12] Arizona State Sun Devils

Outback Bowl

Jan. 1 | 11am | ESPN2 | Tampa, FL

[B1G 3] Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. [SEC I] Arkansas Razorbacks

Citrus Bowl

Jan. 1 | 12pm | ABC | Orlando, FL

[B1G 2] Michigan State Spartans vs. [SEC 2] Florida Gators

Full Bowl Projections

B1G Thoughts

  • Iowa wins the Big Ten Championship. One-loss Alabama beats Georgia in a tight SEC Championship. Search your hearts, and you know I’m right—we are all sinners in the hands of an angry God, and this is our penance.


Does Iowa pick up a single first down against Georgia?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    YeS, yOu FiLtHy OtE hAtEr
    (105 votes)
  • 9%
    (31 votes)
  • 56%
    ...can you punt for a first down?
    (179 votes)
315 votes total Vote Now

Go Purdue.

  • Loser of the Big Ten Championship Game goes to the Rose Bowl. Let’s say that’s Ohio State—who gets Penn State at home—but really it’ll be Iowa.
  • Two-loss Penn State is more than good enough for the Fiesta Bowl, but the oddness of the Orange-Cotton combination in the Playoff means it’s a crapshoot for who they face. Could it be the best of the rest in the SEC, like an Arkansas or Florida? Unless there are two NY6-worthy teams in either of the Big XII or SEC—or if Wake can really climb into the Top could be a BYU kind of situation if the Cougars can get by Baylor this weekend?
  • Yes, that means Michigan gets to take their turn playing “lesser” competition, just like wisconsin and Penn State before them. A no-win bowl game feels perfect here.
  • A resurgent Sparty eventually falls in the East—maybe as far as fourth through only the fault of “Hey, it’s a really tough division”—but a trip to Florida isn’t the worst consolation prize.
  • At this point I’d take Nebraska over Minnesota, wisconsin, and Purdue. Of course, the Huskers have a proclivity for spinning the ol’ chamber and pointing the gun right at their crotch, but if not, I don’t think an appearance in warmer climes is out of the question. 6-6 (4-5) isn’t the sexiest record to bring to the Outback Bowl, but...who else do you suggest?
  • Minnesota, you say? Nah. They were just there in 2019-20. We’ll take the Gophers back to the Glen Mason Memorial Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl, where WSR can enjoy a hangover with the sweet chime of CLANGA in the background.
  • Oh, right—a Rivalry Week loss to wisconsin elevates the badgers to Vegas over the Gophers. And won’t a wisconsin-Arizona State matchup be fun?
  • An omission from last week! 3-3 Rutgers now faces these teams: @Northwestern, @Illinois, wisconsin, @Indiana, @Penn State, Maryland. Dear to your kids about a bowl-bound Rutgers.
  • There’s still enough there: @Minnesota, Indiana, @Rutgers. Maryland needs two, and they’ll get them. A trip to Phoenix is more reward than Locks & Co. deserve, but there you are.
  • No Purdue or Indiana yet, but four unranked teams each on the schedule should be hope for the Boilermaker and Hoosier faithful—the Bucket game as a bowl play-in would be aces.

Other Thoughts

  • A side note—I am praying for the best to happen in the ACC, which is Wake Forest winning the conference (with a loss or two would be hilarious) and Notre Dame finishing outside the Top 15 in the CFP Poll, giving us something dumb like the Irish in the Fenway Bowl. Exactly what they deserve.
  • Special shoutout to Northern Illinois kicker John Richardson, who kicked five field goals in the Huskies’ 22-20 road win over Toledo.
  • We could be looking at another year of the MAC with more teams than they have bids—I am not here for any of them missing out, particularly the Ball States and Eastern Michigans of the world. Seeing the Eagles make their way to Quick Lane in Detroit would be fun.
  • A DWT;WT team giveth, and that team taketh away. With the San Jose State loss to Colorado State, I don’t know if I see the Spartans bowling. They’d need to upset San Diego State on Friday night or trip up Nevada on the road, otherwise they’re looking at a 3-1 record against @UNLV, Wyo, USU, Fresno. It’s...doable...but man, squeaky bum time now for Brent Brennan’s squad.

Explain in the comments why I’m wrong. I won’t be looking at them when I land, but you can explain anyway.