Iowa's BCS Bowl Hopes Still Alive
First of all, I want to congratulate the Ohio State football team for an excellent game (the best so far this year, in my opinion), as well as their Big Ten Title, and their Rose Bowl bid. You deserved both of those, and I wish your team the very best the rest of the season.
Now to the rest of the article. After that heartbreaking 27-24 overtime loss that sent the Buckeyes to Pasadena, it may have appeared as if Iowa didn't have a chance to make a BCS Bowl anymore. But now, after some teams around them in the BCS standings lost (USC, Miami FL, Houston, Utah, Arizona), things look much better for the Hawkeyes, who are ranked 13th in the standings released earlier today.
Here's the way I look at it: at least six, almost certainly seven teams will automatically get in (ACC Champ, Big 10 Champ, Big 12 Champ, Big East Champ, Pac 10 Champ, SEC Champ, most likely a non-BCS automatic bid). Then, whoever loses in the SEC Championship Game will almost certainly get in as well. That's eight teams that are in for sure, and two more at-large teams will get in.
The at large teams that will be in consideration will probably be Boise State, Iowa, Penn State, and the loser of the Cincinnati/Pitt game. Now, it's a BCS rule that if a BCS conference has three teams in the Top 15 of the BCS standings, two of those teams must be in BCS bowls. Ohio State, Iowa, and Penn State should all be in the Top 15 at the end of the season, barring an upset. In that situation, either Iowa or Penn State would make a BCS Bowl.
Both schools have well-traveling fan bases, but based on their head-to-head win and Iowa's performance against Ohio State, Iowa is most likely the choice here.
I'm not the only one who thinks this way—SI.com, CBSSports.com, Scout.com and Mark Schlabach on ESPN.com all project Iowa to go to a BCS Bowl (all have them in the Fiesta Bowl versus Boise State except SI.com, who has them in the Orange Bowl versus Georgia Tech).
Iowa has to beat Minnesota in Iowa City this upcoming Saturday. Minnesota struggled to beat South Dakota State, but don't count them out—Iowa has struggled in some way in all of their games but one (versus Iowa State) this season, including an FCS opponent of their own. They need to overcome their back-to-back losses and focus on this game.
It wouldn't hurt if a few teams lost, though. Penn State has yet to play a tough Michigan State team (although Iowa might want to root for the Nittany Lions so they can earn an automatic bid, even if that bid might go to PSU), and Oklahoma State (who is one spot ahead of Iowa in the latest BCS standings) has to travel to Norman, OK to battle Oklahoma. Iowa fans should also root for Cincinnati to beat Pitt, because if they lose the Big East might get two teams in BCS Bowls.
But first and foremost, they must root for their own Hawkeyes to beat Minnesota, because if anyone knows not to assume a victory, it's Iowa.
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