This is an edited version of a column that appeared in Sunday’s Gazette.
Whither the Hawkeyes?
Maybe Iowa will sneak into the Holiday Bowl with its 7-5 record. These bowls sometimes have some goofy shenanigans.
The last three teams the Big Ten sent to San Diego were 8-4, 9-3 and 8-4, but bringing fans still matters and San Diego isn’t a tough sell to Iowans. So I certainly wouldn’t rule it out.
But the Holiday Bowl has had Iowa as a guest three times, although not in the last quarter-century. The other three possibilities would be new to the Iowa program. They may not necessarily be prestigious, but they would be new.
They are the Dec. 27 Pinstripe Bowl in New York, the Dec. 27 Foster Farms Bowl in Santa Clara, Calif., and the Dec. 29 Music City Bowl in Nashville. The only way the Foster Farms Bowl turns out to be part of that equation is if Ohio State gets smashed by Wisconsin Saturday and falls out of the New Year’s Six group, starting a dominoes effect.
But the Foster Farms is as relevant as the Pinstripe and Music City, which is to say, not especially relevant. So let’s include it to pad this thing out.
Now then, here is vital information about each of them:
HOW TO GET THERE
Pinstripe: Fly to New York or Newark. Take a cab or shuttle or Uber or Lyft or train to midtown Manhattan. Buy tickets to “Hamilton” from a scalper and skip the football game. If you won’t pay their prices, go to Penn Station and take the 27-minute subway ride on the D train to the Yankee Stadium station. As you enter the stadium, ask yourself if maybe you should have been willing to pay whatever it took to get those “Hamilton” tickets.
Foster Farms: Fly to San Francisco or Oakland. Go to Fisherman’s Wharf, get clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl, take it to the Golden Gate Bridge, and see if anyone can tell you’re a tourist.
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Music City: Fly to Nashville. Or drive if you want. It’s 568 miles from Iowa City to Nashville. It’s your money and your life, so do what you want and don’t listen to anyone suggesting you’d be nuts to drive over a thousand miles round-trip for a game with virtually no significance.
Besides, you can also check out the Willie Nelson and Friends Museum and General Store. Or don’t. It’s not like Willie will be within 568 miles of the place.
Music City: Kentucky or Texas A&M. Or somebody else.
Pinstripe: N.C. State or Virginia Tech. Or somebody else
Foster Farms: Whozit or Whatzit. Or Whatever
Foster Farms: It ranks above the Dollar General Bowl, below most bowls you know.
Music City: It ranks above the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, below most bowls you know
Pinstripe: It ranks above the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl, and yes, that is an actual thing
Foster Farms: A 5-7 Nebraska team beat UCLA in the 2015 game. The Huskers got a bowl slot because there weren’t enough 6-win teams to fill all the bowls. The attendance was 33,527, almost 6,000 more people than attended last year’s Fosters Farm Bowl between Utah and Indiana.
Pinstripe: The 2012 game between West Virginia and Syracuse was played in a snowstorm. But not to worry. The average high temperature in New York on Dec. 27 is 40 degrees. So what’s the worst that could happen?
Music City: Minnesota played in this game in 2002, 2004 and 2005, which led to a 11-year break between the Music City Bowl and Big Ten. They finally agreed on a restraining order against the Gophers, and all is now well.
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Music City: The Franklin American Mortgage Company Music City Bowl is played in Nissan Stadium. Ain’t that America, y’all?
Foster Farms: While Foster Farms is known best for chicken, it also sells microwaveable corn dogs. Choose from Cheese & Jalapeno, Chili Cheese, and Honey Crunchy. It’s not like San Francisco has any good restaurants.
Pinstripe: The only people in the Bronx who care about the Pinstripe Bowl are employees of the New York Yankees, and most of them are pretending because the game is in their stadium.
Warning: If you start chanting “Let’s Go Hawks!” on the subway ride to the stadium you will immediately be told to pipe down. And that will be from nervous fellow Iowa fans.