Halfway through the college football season, Iowa sits with the same 4-2 record as it did in 2012.
Last year’s Hawkeyes fell apart the rest of the way, losing their last six games and missing out on a bowl for the first time since 2007. It’s possible Iowa could do the same this year. The Hawkeyes have a much more difficult schedule than in 2012. As of Monday, Iowa’s six remaining opponents are a combined 23-8 and only Purdue has a losing record. Last year, Iowa’s second-half foes were 23-14 when the Hawkeyes approached their second-half run.
So why should this year produce different results? Simply, Iowa is an improved team and has made strides on offense and defense (special teams is another story). Last year’s group, easily the worst Iowa squad this millennium, still lost five games by only six points or less. I’m not saying Iowa gets into the divisional discussion, but I think the Hawkeyes win at least two games and earn a bowl nod.
The Big Ten appears back on track for two BCS berths this year. Ohio State would have to fall apart to miss the BCS party, while I think Wisconsin is the second-best Big Ten team. The Badgers miss Nebraska, Michigan and Michigan State in non-divisional play but can’t slip up the rest of the season.
As for the rest, the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl selects ahead of the Gator Bowl this year. It would spark some interest if Nebraska can meet a former Big 12 foe in the desert. Also, Maryland and Rutgers are on track for mid-tier bowl berths in the final year before joining the Big Ten.
Here’s a bye-week look at bowl projections:
BIG TEN/12 BOWLS