2011 Insight Bowl: Does Game Have Any Lasting Meaning for the Iowa Hawkeyes?

Alan BlackAnalyst IIIDecember 26, 2011

LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 25: Quarterback James Vandenberg #16 of the Iowa Hawkeyes hands the ball to running back Marcus Coker #34 of the Iowa Hawkeyes during their game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium November 25, 2011 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska defeated Iowa 20-7. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

Bowl games are often used as a measuring stick of success in college football.

Many a program has had its history defined by a monumental bowl victory. Boise State meant little to the world of college football before their monumental Fiesta Bowl victory over Oklahoma.  BYU's historic comeback in the 1980 Holiday Bowl ignited their change from small-time program to one of the dynasties of the decade.

Already in this bowl season, Louisiana-Lafayette used its first-ever bowl appearance to rally its fan base like never before, turning the New Orleans Bowl into a de facto home game for the Ragin' Cajuns. And their exciting last-second comeback win got them more national attention than they've ever received.

However, not every bowl game represents a major opportunity for the teams in it. Sometimes a bowl game provides no further significance than just one more win on the schedule.

For example, the aforementioned BYU may have won last year's New Mexico Bowl, but the win in Albuquerque did nothing to further the program or improve their future—it was just a nice way to end the season.

Unfortunately for the Iowa Hawkeyes, this year's Insight Bowl is mostly meaningless, and provides little opportunity for the program to further itself.

This has been a disappointing season for the Hawkeyes, who enter the game with a 7-5 record.  Iowa hasn't necessarily been bad this season, rather, they just haven't been all that good.  "Mediocre" is the term that best describes them this year.

While Oklahoma may be the heavy favorite in this game, the Sooners, too, have had a disappointing year.  The preseason No. 1 team in the polls, Oklahoma wound up with three losses, and suffered from a mix of injuries and inconsistency.

What would Iowa prove by beating Oklahoma?

Not a whole lot, except that in this matchup of two inconsistent, underperforming teams, Iowa could say they were less inconsistent in their bowl game.

The only thing on the line for Iowa in the Insight Bowl is personal and school pride.  Let's see how much of it they have.