If the Fiesta Bowl selection committee needs help narrowing down teams for their at-large bid, they don't need to look any further than the confines of their own city.
Phoenix is crawling with Hawkeyes.
Some moved to the Phoenix area after college to begin their professional lives in a big city with lots of opportunities. Others selected the area as a place away from the cold winters to spend their retirement.
And as more Iowans expatriate to the Valley of the Sun, more I-Club game-watch locations sprout up around town. As of last count, there were at least five different locations in the valley dedicated to the Iowa Hawkeyes.
There is the Sandbar, an upscale Mexican grill tucked away in Scottsdale that's chalked full of young Arizona coed servers and bartenders, dressed in Tigerhawk apparel, serving Bulaga's Biscuits & Gravy for breakfast on game day. On Saturdays when Iowa plays instate rival Iowa State, the line starts forming outside at 6:30 AM.
In Glendale, there is a game-watch location called The Copper Door conveniently located not far from the University of Phoenix stadium, where the bowl game is played.
The city of Mesa has two Hawkeye game-watch locations, as well. The Mexican restaurant Salty Senorita and the Irish pub O'Kelley's are both packed with fans wearing black and gold.
And let's not forget the game-watch location at 16th Street Bar & Grill, a Biltmore sports bar landmark.
If the committee doesn't think the numerous I-Club game-watch locations are proof enough, they could also talk to former Iowa native and current Arizona Cardinal Kurt Warner for advice. Having grown up in Iowa and lived in Phoenix for a few years, he can attest to the strong Iowa presence in the Valley.
The committee could also ask GoDaddy founder, Bob Parsons, for some assistance with their selection. Parsons is a transplanted Iowan who currently runs the largest domain and web hosting company out of Phoenix. I guarantee Bob knows how well Hawkeye fans travel.
Even the Fiesta Bowl's own website offers evidential support that Iowa is a good fit in Phoenix.
The forums on the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl site are already busy with Iowans making Arizona travel plans. Hawkeyes in New York, Chicago, New Orleans, on top of the faithful home state residents, are calling their friends and family in Phoenix, trying to prepare for a potential Fiesta Bowl matchup.
The Fiesta Bowl selection committee could also check out Facebook for assistance.
Two Facebook groups have popped up that already contain over 6,000 Iowa and Phoenix residents each. The Iowa Hawkeyes Fiesta Bowl 2010 group was established to "put Iowa in the Fiesta Bowl." The If you Invite Them, They will come... group has a "wall" chalked full of Hawkeye fans chanting Fiesta!
Heck, the committee could even call me if they felt so inclined. I know first hand how crazy Hawkeye fans are going for a chance to travel west for a BCS bowl.
Since I live in Phoenix most of the time, friends that I haven't heard from in over 12 years are stalking me for couch space the week before and after New Year's Day, in the hopes of Fiesta. Even crazier, my friend Bob is offering up one of his kidneys on craigslist for a ticket to the game.
In the infamous words of Dr. Peter Venkman, its "human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together...mass hysteria!"
The Fiesta Bowl committee has less than a week left before it makes its selections, but it doesn't have to look far for reminders of the best possible selection they could make this year.
Hawkeye fans crave their first Fiesta Bowl and the city of Phoenix wants to make it happen.