The stars appear to have aligned for the second season in a row.
For the second straight season, the Iowa Hawkeyes will travel to the Insight Bowl, where they will face a team that, on paper, appears to be much better than them.
Last year, the 7-5 Hawks faced the 10-2 No. 14-ranked Missouri Tigers.
They wound up winning, 27-24, despite getting shredded for 512 yards and 434 yards through the air.
Of course, last season's 7-5 team may have been the best seven-win team in the country.
This season's 7-5 team cannot make such a boast.
Furthermore, this year's opponent—the 9-3 Oklahoma Sooners—may be the best nine-win team in the country. Once again, last season's opponent couldn't make such a statement.
One of the people in the stands at last year's Insight Bowl was Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. He was wearing an Iowa Hawkeye sweater vest and cheering for his alma mater as he prepared his team to take on Connecticut a few nights later in the Fiesta Bowl.
Early lines show Oklahoma as a 14-point favorite, which is sure to be one of the more lopsided spreads this bowl season.
Nonetheless, it would be a mistake to count the Hawkeyes out, as they have proven time and time again that they are most dangerous when they are underdogs.