AN ADDENDUM TO THIS PIECE, EXPLAINING HOW MICHIGAN IS NO LOCK TO GO TO A BCS BOWL, CAN BE FOUND BY CLICKING HERE.
Things can happen Saturday to turn everything on its ear, of course. But I’m hearing from different sources in and outside the bowls that Iowa’s most-likely postseason destination is the Dec. 30 Insight Bowl in Tempe, Ariz.
It sounds like the Insight will take the Hawkeyes if it’s given a choice of Iowa, Ohio State and Penn State from the Big Ten. I don’t have anyone on the record to confirm that, because no one can or will give you rock-hard statements until everything has played out this weekend.
The Insight picks ahead of the Gator Bowl this year in the Big Ten pecking order. By all accounts, the Gator is married to a matchup of 6-6 teams in Ohio State and Florida. The Insight, with no apparent lust for the 6-6 Buckeyes, may be smitten with Iowa after its large representation of fans at last year’s game in Tempe. The Insight may see Iowa bringing considerably more fans to Sun Devil Stadium than Penn State. Though the Nittany Lions are 9-3 and Iowa is just 7-5, the Insight could see Iowa as a safer pick. If there were a tiebreaker, the scandal surrounding Penn State’s program would probably be it.
Penn State would seemingly drop to the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Houston, or maybe even on down to Dallas’ TicketCity Bowl if the Meineke has reason to shun the Nittany Lions.
If Georgia upsets LSU in Saturday’s SEC title game, everything changes. Even a loss to Georgia wouldn’t keep LSU from meeting Alabama in the national-title game, in all likelihood, but it would shove Georgia into the BCS bowl mix and keep Michigan out. Which means Nebraska, Michigan State, Iowa, et al, all go down a notch in Big Ten bowls. A Georgia win would almost surely send Iowa to Houston’s Meineke Car Care Bowl on Dec. 31, where Texas A&M would be the probable opponent.
The Big 12 representative in this year’s Insight Bowl will probably be either Texas, Baylor or Kansas State. Texas plays at Baylor Saturday, and Kansas State hosts Iowa State. Texas would be 7-5 with a loss to Baylor, but the Insight would love that brand-name.
As for Iowa State, it has several bowl possibilities right now. Among them is the Jan. 2 TicketCity Bowl, though this year the TicketCity is slated to pair teams from the Big Ten and Conference USA.
C-USA won’t have enough bowl teams to fill its slots. If Houston loses to Southern Mississippi in the C-USA’s title game Saturday, it could end up in the TicketCity. But if the Cougars win, the TicketCity might cede its C-USA affiliation and take Iowa State if the Cyclones are the odd team out after all the Big 12′s bowls have made their selections. That could happen if the Cyclones lose at Kansas State Saturday.
If you’re Iowa State, would you prefer the Big 12′s last bowl slot (the Pinstripe Bowl in New York) or an at-large spot in Dallas?
Purdue seems to be the most-likely Big Ten team to land in the TicketCity.
Here’s one very important thing to remember as you read this: It’s all scuttlebutt right now. But speculating about bowl matchups is often more fun than many of the bowls themselves, so what’s the harm?