I think we've thoroughly harangued all the bases with Iowa's offense and a little bit of what people think with the defense.
Let's spend 300 or so words on bowl possibilities.
First things first, if Iowa finishes 6-6, if it takes care of business this week in West Lafayette, it is a bowl team. Is it a deserving bowl team? That depends on your opinion of what bowls really are.
There's one championship bowl where they award the crystal football to the national champion. There's the Rose Bowl, and, no, I have no idea if that's the title game this year and I don't care. As Big Ten people, there's the crystal football and there's the Rose Bowl. There are other BCS bowl trophies. You can visit the 2010 Orange Bowl trophy filled with faded, fake oranges in the Iowa football lobby (please, don't take that comment as snide, they really are faded and fake).
And then there is white noise.
Sure, as Big Ten people, the Capital One and Outback Bowls have become somewhat of a tradition. Or, depending on your point of view, a wonderful vacation option that happens to come with a football game that your favorite team is playing in.
There's the crystal football, there's the Rose Bowl, there's the BCS and then there is tourist destinations and white noise.
Beyond the first two options, bowls really are just postseason exhibition games. Nothing more. Let's not attach championship or real meaning to anything beyond the first two options. Disabuse yourself that these have a whiff of anything more than an opportunity to gear for 2014 and a run at something meaningful.
I would call any bowl beyond whatever one the crystal football is played in this year or the Rose or the BCS the [sponsor's name here] Post Season Exhibition game, but "bowl" is shorter.
-- CBSsports.com's Jerry Palm has Iowa opposite K-State in the Texas Bowl on Dec. 27.
I think he might be right -- IF -- Minnesota is two games up on Iowa in the B1G standings. If it's not, no way on Dan Gable's bronzed statue bald head is Minnesota going ahead of Iowa for the Gator.
-- The ESPN Big Ten Blog fellas have Iowa in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Jan. 1. They also have Minnesota ahead of Iowa for the Texas Bowl.
Sound of the buzzer in a gameshow that means "wrong answer."
Again, unless the Big Ten twists arms -- and that starts next year, officially -- it's more up to the bowls than the Big Ten. So, no bowl exec is going to take the Gophers over Iowa, not with Iowa's travel history vs. the Gophers. Not happening. My fingers are in my ears and I'm making the "lalalalalalalala" sound.
I will say this, though, the ESPN Big Ten blogger fellas know the Big Ten much better than any national jackanape. They know how this works and they did through in this caveat on Iowa vs. Minnesota as far as bowl positioning goes: "Hawkeyes fans have not been filling Kinnick Stadium to capacity and don't seem overly enthused by this season's team."
-- The Big Ten Network's Tom Dienhart has Iowa in the Texas Bowl, too.
I think that's where Iowa ends up, probably, but he also has Minnesota ahead of Iowa.
Maybe I'm missing something. I have to credit Dienhart, he's gotten much, much better at the bowl projection game. Sharp view this week from Tom, but, of course, Wisconsin has to beat BYU to get into the BCS. Tom used to simply go by the "deserve" factor, which is really how it should go, but we know it doesn't.
We know deserve's got nothing to do with postseason exhibition games. (When I get to use the best line from Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven," it's a very good day.")
Intro -- Tough loss to very good Wisconsin team. They're excellent. Back to work and a trip to Purdue. Tough contest.
Hazell = KF in 1999? -- I think anytime you make a transition, chances are there will be challenges. Not always. You take it a week at a time. Take it one week at a time and keep moving forward. You do that every week.
MSU game maybe it'll work -- It helped to get some positive feedback in the way of a win. Wasn't pretty, but we found away. Experience success it's a good thing.
Red zone Iowa woes -- I'm more focused on what happened last week. Couple trips and only three points. Drop in first quarter. Second time a couple penalties. False start killed drive. Good team like Sconnie, excellent D, can't come away with TD. Not win kicking field goals.
Challenge OL -- We challenge whole team, we do that every week. Everyone wants touchdowns. Pretty elementary right there.
Bowl eligible, not pressing for it -- We don't talk a lot about that in general. These guys are in college and they know what six wins mean. We try to get them to focus on the week at hand.
Challenges prepping for 3-4 D -- We played one early in the season. It's unique. You probably didn't know we did Saturday. Protection matchups. Backs on LB who might overpower them. Affects running game. Looking at film, not as well as we would've liked. Easier said than done, the 3-4. Utah State and Sconnie do it well.
3-4 comeback-- Doesn't seem that way. It has in pro football, that's for sure.
Something Morris -- Playing well. Great group of senior LBs. James and Hitchens have more notable stats. Proud of all three. James on top of it, one of four B1G players recognized with NFF postgraduate scholarship. Tremendous player, respected team leader.
Played the best three B1G teams -- Every game is different. Trying to reference, go into game thinking D and then it's 28-27. Bottomline, all three teams are excellent. Well coached. Good players. Playing at a high level, at least against us.
OSU vs MSU -- Still a lot of football to be played. Whoever ends up in that game, it'll be a really good contest.
Kirk Ferentz transcript from Tuesday
Injuries and it doesn't sound good for senior DE Dominic Alvis. Red zone problems. Running game problems. "Play it by ear," on RB. Sophomore RB Jordan Canzeri. Did Jake Rudock hesitate on Saturday? How did C.J. Beathard do?
More running game (I'll probably be writing about it the next two days). Purdue offense. What does six wins mean to the Hawkeyes? Running the ball is difficult. Third-and-long. Purdue game film. Iowa once had a 20-game losing streak to Purdue (before my time).
Some questions but not much enlightenment on dismissed LB Marcus Collins (I think he had a traffic violation on a Saturday morning before a game, like 1 a.m. before Northwestern? He was suspended for Northwestern and not in uniform). Getting a look at Reggie Spearman. Question on No. 3 QB Cody Sokol (I kind of forgot about him until I saw him on the sideline Saturday with headphones on). How does KF monitor the day-to-day in the lockerroom to ensure that there's nothing like the Miami Dolphins have going right now? A hazing question. Purdue is terrific at . . . punting. Meaning of the bowl game?
WR Don Shumpert caught a couple of passes last week. I ask about OT Brandon Scherff. Ike Boettger from TE to OL. Adjustments in the second half. KF not big on those, said they're overblown. They are a game-to-game thing, just like seemingly everything and everyone is on this offense.
B1G MOMENTS IN ROSE BOWL HISTORY - Jan. 1, 1998 - Michigan 21, Washington State 16: Michigan capped an undefeated season and clinched the national championship with a victory over Washington State. Wolverine quarterback Brian Griese, who was named the game’s most valuable player, accounted for all three scores, throwing two touchdowns to Tai Streets and another to Jerame Tuman.
BIG TEN MEDAL OF HONOR 100TH ANNIVERSARY SPOTLIGHT - Ohio State’s John Frank: Winner of the 1984 Medal of Honor, Frank set school records for receptions and yards by a tight end during his career. Finishing with 121 receptions and 1,481 yards, he was a two-time All-Big Ten honoree, earning the distinction as a junior in 1982 and a senior in 1983, and was named team MVP his final season. Frank’s success extended beyond the field as he was named an Academic All-Big Ten selection and an Academic All-American his junior and senior seasons and was a Rhodes Scholar finalist. After two Super Bowl titles with the San Francisco 49ers, Frank returned to Ohio State and received his doctorate in June, 1992.
A Look at the Legends Division: Michigan State stands atop the Legends Division with a 5-0 conference record . . .
Breaking Down the Leaders Division: Ohio State continues to hold the top spot in the Leaders Division, carrying a 5-0 Big Ten record . . .
It’s Been a While: With its victory over Purdue last Saturday, Ohio State extended its winning streak to 21 games, which is the longest active streak in the nation. It is the longest Big Ten streak in more than 40 years, when the Buckeyes reeled off 22 consecutive victories from 1967-69. Ohio State’s 21-game winning streak is tied for sixth all-time in conference annals with the 1933-36 Minnesota squads. The 1901-03 Michigan teams hold the conference record of 29 consecutive victories. The Buckeyes are one of just two teams in the nation boasting 9-0 records and one of only seven squads with unblemished records. The Buckeyes improved to 9-0 for the seventh time since 1990.
Back to the Bowl Scene: Two more Big Ten teams joined the bowl-eligible ranks following victories last Saturday. With its win over Iowa last weekend, Wisconsin reached the six-win mark and secured bowl eligibility for the 25th time in program history . . . After its dramatic last-second victory against Northwestern, Nebraska notched its sixth triumph of the season to become bowl eligible . . . The Badgers and Huskers are the fifth and sixth Big Ten teams to become bowl eligible, joining Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Ohio State. With five wins, Iowa has a chance to become bowl eligible on Saturday.
Complete Scholar-Athlete: The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame named 16 recipients of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, including four Big Ten honorees - Iowa’s James Morris, Michigan State’s Max Bullough, Nebraska’s Spencer Long and Penn State’s John Urschel . . .
Trophy Time: In a conference that features 16 rivalry trophies, Penn State and Minnesota will compete for one of the traveling keepsakes this weekend. The two programs take the field with the Governor’s Victory Bell at stake, which was first contested in 1993 . . .Getting in on the Act: Scoring is up throughout the Big Ten this season and conference defensive and special teams units are playing a part in that success. With two interceptions returned for touchdown last Saturday, conference defenses and special teams have combined for 34 touchdowns this season, already surpassing last year’s total of 33 . . .