Both Iowa and Iowa State took their lumps on Saturday, but both schools still remain alive for the postseason this year.
Each team needs two more wins to return to bowl action, and New Year's Day is a possible landing spot for the Hawkeyes. The Gator Bowl has the fourth selection among Big Ten eligible teams this year. With Ohio State and Penn State out of consideration, Iowa remains a potential pick for the Jacksonville game.
I know Iowa has lost home games by 24 points to Penn State and 32-31 to a 2-5 Central Michigan squad. Does Iowa deserve any type of mention for New Year's Day consideration, especially if the Hawkeyes finish 6-6? Right now, that's a laughable proposition. But as William Munny said in "Unforgiven" as he pointed the gun at Little Bill, "deserves ain't got nothing to do with it."
Bowls are about making money and driving commerce to their city. Iowa sold more tickets from its allotment in its second straight trip to the Insight Bowl last year than Illinois, Purdue, Michigan State, Penn State and Northwestern did to their bowls and just slightly behind Ohio State. If you consider Michigan, Wisconsin and Nebraska are destined for higher bowls, Iowa looks favorably for a berth in the Gator Bowl.
As for Iowa State, this week is crucial. It's almost a bowl elimination game between the Cyclones and Baylor. Iowa State has only one more game as a likely favorite, and that's on the road at Kansas. ISU's other games are against Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia. While it's not impossible for Paul Rhoads to engineer another epic upset, few people are predicting wins against those schools, either.
I think both Iowa and Iowa State get back to bowls. But it won't be easy.
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