Bowl Projections: Will Iowa make it back?
Halfway through the college football season, Iowa sits with the same 4-2 record as it did in 2012.
Last year's Hawkeyes fell apart the rest of the way, losing their last six games and missing out on a bowl for the first time since 2007. It's possible Iowa could do the same this year. The Hawkeyes have a much more difficult schedule than in 2012. As of Monday, Iowa's six remaining opponents are a combined 23-8 and only Purdue has a losing record. Last year, Iowa's second-half foes were 23-14 when the Hawkeyes approached their second-half run.
So why should this year produce different results? Simply, Iowa is an improved team and has made strides on offense and defense (special teams is another story). Last year's group, easily the worst Iowa squad this millennium, still lost five games by only six points or less. I'm not saying Iowa gets into the divisional discussion, but I think the Hawkeyes win at least two games and earn a bowl nod.
The Big Ten appears back on track for two BCS berths this year. Ohio State would have to fall apart to miss the BCS party, while I think Wisconsin is the second-best Big Ten team. The Badgers miss Nebraska, Michigan and Michigan State in non-divisional play but can't slip up the rest of the season.
As for the rest, the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl selects ahead of the Gator Bowl this year. It would spark some interest if Nebraska can meet a former Big 12 foe in the desert. Also, Maryland and Rutgers are on track for mid-tier bowl berths in the final year before joining the Big Ten.
Here's a bye-week look at bowl projections:
- BCS -- Oregon vs. Alabama
- ROSE -- Ohio State vs. Stanford
- ORANGE -- Florida State vs. Wisconsin
- SUGAR -- Texas A&M vs. Clemson
- FIESTA -- Oklahoma vs. Louisville
BIG TEN/12 BOWLS
- CAPITAL ONE -- Georgia vs. Michigan
- OUTBACK -- Florida vs. Michigan State
- BUFFALO -- Kansas State vs. Nebraska
- GATOR -- Missouri vs. Northwestern
- TEXAS -- TCU vs. Iowa
- HEART OF DALLAS -- Rice vs. Indiana
- COTTON -- LSU vs. Baylor
- ALAMO -- UCLA vs. Oklahoma State
- HOLIDAY -- Washington vs. Texas Tech
- PINSTRIPE -- Rutgers vs. West Virginia
- PEACH -- South Carolina vs. Virginia Tech
- MUSIC CITY -- Auburn vs. Georgia Tech
- LIBERTY -- Ole Miss vs. East Carolina
- COMPASS -- Tennessee vs. Houston
- SUN -- Maryland vs. Arizona State
- LAS VEGAS -- Fresno State vs. Arizona
- KRAFT -- BYU vs. Oregon State
- RUSSELL ATHLETIC -- Miami vs. Central Florida
- BELK -- Wake Forest vs. Cincinnati
- HAWAII -- Boise State vs. Notre Dame (replaces Conference USA)
- NEW MEXICO -- Nevada vs. Utah
- MILITARY -- Pittsburgh vs. Marshall
- LITTLE CAESARS -- Bowling Green vs. Ball State (replaces Big Ten)
- INDEPENDENCE -- Boston College vs. Arkansas State (replaces SEC)
- BEEF O'BRADYS -- Middle Tennessee State vs. SMU
- ARMED FORCES -- Navy vs. Utah State
- POTATO -- Wyoming vs. Ohio
- POINSETTIA -- San Jose State vs. Washington State (replaces Army)
- GODADDY -- Northern Illinois vs. Western Kentucky
- NEW ORLEANS -- Tulane vs. Louisiana-Lafayette