Iowa will learn its bowl destination on Sunday shortly after pairings for the College Football Playoff are announced.
Today’s Hawkeye 10@10, your daily dose of Iowa news and notes, breaks down the Hawkeyes’ options and preferences.
Delivered at 10 a.m. at Hawkmania.com, your home for all things Iowa, here is today’s Hawkeye 10@10:
1. What are Iowa’s realistic options?
As the final weekend of the college football season begins, the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in New York City on Dec. 27 and the Music City Bowl in Nashville on Dec. 29 are the most likely landing spots for the Hawkeyes.
The Holiday Bowl, played Dec. 28 in San Diego and the Foster Farms Bowl, scheduled for Dec. 27 in Santa Clara, California, also remain on the radar.
2. With a 7-5 Iowa team, how realistic is the Holiday Bowl possibility?
Iowa director of athletics Gary Barta described it as a “long shot’’ following the Hawkeyes’ win over Nebraska last Friday.
The 56-14 margin of Iowa’s season-ending victory didn’t hurt the Hawkeyes nor did its pounding of Ohio State earlier in November.
He said Iowa’s history of traveling well to bowl games and reputation for being good to work with benefits the Hawkeyes in the process.
3. What would it take for Iowa to be in that picture?
Iowa is one of four Big Ten teams that Holiday Bowl officials are looking at this week. Michigan, and a potential match-up against the Stanford team that the Wolverines’ Jim Harbaugh formerly coached, is an attention-grabbing possibility.
Like Iowa, Michigan hasn’t played in the San Diego game in more than two decades.
The other two possibilities, Michigan State and Northwestern, have never played in the Holiday Bowl.
“We feel like we’re in a good position right now as we head into our discussions over the weekend,’’ Holiday Bowl executive director Mark Neville said. “We have a number of good options to consider, both from the Big Ten and the Pac-12.’’
4. How much influence do Iowa officials have in the selection process?
Short answer – not as much as they once did.
The horse-trading deals of the past have been replaced by contracts designed to benefit both bowl operators and conferences, ensuring that teams aren’t locked into the same location year after year based on conference standings.
Iowa director of athletics Gary Barta said the Big Ten does seek input on what preference a school may have, but there are no guarantees.
Iowa is bowl shopping in the same neighborhood as Northwestern, Purdue and to a degree, Michigan, this year.
5. Does Iowa have a preference in which bowl it goes to?
Director of athletics Gary Barta said most of his conversations have been with executives who run the Music City and Pinstripe bowls.
Given those options and feedback he has received from Hawkeye fans, Barta said he has told the Big Ten he believes Iowa fans would embrace a shorter trip and driveable bowl destination like Nashville this year more than a trip to New York City this year.
He also points out that Iowa has a sizeable alumni base on the East Coast.
While most of the Big Ten’s bowl contracts are currently six years in length with requirements that at least five different schools participate, the Big Ten’s contract with the Pinstripe Bowl is an eight-year deal which requires appearances by at least seven different schools.
That could come into play for Iowa at some point.
6. Does the outcome of Saturday’s Big Ten championship game between Wisconsin and Ohio State matter in determining Iowa’s bowl destination?
Only if the Badgers blow out the Buckeyes to the point that it knocks Ohio State out of a probable invitation to one of the New Year’s Six bowls.
Wisconsin and Penn State likely figure into that mix no matter what transpires in Indianapolis but a Badger blowout could set off a chain reaction which could impact where Iowa lands.
7. Who are possible opponents for Iowa at its bowl options?
Pac-12 teams would be the opponent at both the Holiday and Foster Farms bowls. At the Music City Bowl, a Southeastern Conference team would be the opponent and the Big Ten representative at the Pinstripe Bowl will play a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Holiday Bowl reportedly has its eyes on Stanford, the team Iowa faced in the Rose Bowl two years ago, but may also be in a position to select USC, Washington or Washington State.
In Nashville, the Music City Bowl is talking Kentucky, but also has Texas A&M, Missouri, Mississippi State and South Carolina on its list of possibilities.
At the Pinstripe Bowl, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Louisville and North Carolina State are potential opponents.
Out west, Arizona and Washington State are being talked about as possible Foster Farms Bowl representatives from the Pac-12.
8. If one of those better than the other for the Hawkeyes to earn their first bowl win since 2010?
That’s about as easy as guessing which Iowa team will show up on game day – the one that scored 55 and 56 points in wins over Ohio State and Nebraska or the one that labored against Wisconsin and Purdue.
This isn’t the worst year to play an SEC team not named Alabama, Auburn or Georgia however.
Take that for what it’s worth.
9. Do Iowa players have a preference on where they want the postseason to take them?
“Warm, somewhere warm,’’ senior linebacker Josey Jewell said.
Akrum Wadley agreed, even with a Pinstripe possibility not far away from his Newark, New Jersey, hometown.
“I was joking with Ihmir (Smith-Marsette) about that, playing in the Bronx. We could be home in 20, 30 minutes after the game,’’ Wadley said. “I’d rather go somewhere warm, though. That’s what I’m thinking.’’
10. What’s the average high temperature in the cities where Iowa may play on the day this year’s bowl games are scheduled?
In San Diego, the thermometer rises to a high of 64 degrees on average on Dec. 28, just like it does most of the year.
Santa Clara on Dec. 27? Try 57.
In Nashville, the average high on Dec. 29 is 47 degrees.
New York City’s average high on Dec. 27 is 40 degrees.
If those temperatures don’t sit well with you and you’d rather watch the game from the comfort of your couch, all are televised.
ESPN televises the Music City and Pinstripe bowls, while Fox is where you will find the Holiday and Foster Farms bowls.