IOWA CITY — Iowa participated in the Phoenix-area Insight Bowl after the 2010 and 2011 seasons, and Athletics Director Gary Barta wouldn’t be opposed to playing in that location again after this season.
“We haven’t had any conversations about going or not going based on the fact that we’d been there a couple of times,” Barta said. “If we get invited there, we’d take it in a heartbeat, just like we would if it was either the Gator Bowl or the Texas Bowl or Heart of Dallas.
“After last year when you’re out of the bowl picture for a year, you’re anxious to get back wherever somebody will take you. I know that sounds like a throwaway statement, but I mean that sincerely. Any one of those bowls, we’ll be thrilled to go.”
Buffalo Wild Wings replaced Insight last year as the bowl’s sponsor, and a Big Ten school competes against a Big 12 opponent. It’s the final year of the Big Ten’s contract with the bowl, which is played Dec. 28.
Iowa — along with Nebraska, Michigan and Minnesota — appears in contention for four bowls (in order): Outback, Buffalo Wild Wings, Gator and Texas. The Tampa-based Outback Bowl and Jacksonville-based Gator Bowl are played on New Year’s Day against Southeastern Conference opponents. The Texas Bowl, which is located in Houston, is played on Dec. 27 against a Big 12 opponent. The Big Ten has future deals with the Outback and Gator bowls, but this is the final year with the Texas Bowl.
A Texas Bowl representative will attend Saturday’s football game against Michigan, Iowa officials confirm. It’s possible other bowl reps will attend.
“Both as the bowl and as the participant, you want a great match-up, you want to go to a bowl that they’re going to treat you well,” Barta said. “You want to go to a bowl that your fans are going to enjoy and certainly one of the factors is how often you’ve been there and when you’ve gone there, how have your fans traveled. All of that. It’s not fair to focus on just (your recent visits). But you take it all into account; that’s how it gets selected. Obviously our job is to win as many games as we can so that we’re attractive.”
FROM FURNACE TO ICEBOX
Temperatures at kickoff Saturday might reach 20 degrees, so cold that Michigan Coach Brady Hoke might actually wear a jacket.
Hoke is known for sporting a Wolverines short-sleeved shirt for football games regardless of the weather. But this week could be different.
“I think if I was probably a smart guy, I probably would (wear a jacket),” Hoke said. “We’ll just see how it goes.”
The chilly weather contrasts with the heat wave in Iowa’s opener Aug. 31 against Northern Illinois. Fans were allowed to bring in water bottles, extra cooling stations were located throughout Kinnick Stadium and paramedics were available. According to Iowa radio sideline reporter Rob Brooks, the temperature was 163 degrees on the FieldTurf surface during the game. The official high that day was 89 degrees but the heat index soared around 100.
“We were talking about making sure you get plenty of fluids,” Barta said. “We’re not going to give away free hot chocolate, at least we hadn’t decided that.
“In all seriousness, it’s an outdoor sport. It’s one of the things that makes it fun. I’m going to make sure I have an extra turtleneck and a few extra layers on Saturday myself.”
Iowa defensive end Dominic Alvis (back) could return to action this Saturday, Coach Kirk Ferentz said. Alvis injured his back against Michigan State on Oct. 5, then re-injured it against Ohio State two weeks later. He has missed the last three games.
“He’s working a little bit,” Ferentz said. “It’s just a matter of how long he can go or how effectively he can play. We got a little bit of a look at him. We’ll see what this week brings, but it’s kind of day-to-day, actually.”
Running back Mark Weisman, tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz and cornerback B.J. Lowery were injured against Purdue, but all three should be available against Michigan.
Michigan running Fitz Toussaint (concussion) sat out last week’s game against Northwestern but he is cleared to play Saturday, Hoke said.