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Iowa is Fiesta Bowl bound...but not so sure about Iowa State

November 29, 2009 - Troy Banning

Where, oh where, will our college football teams go bowling? We know that Iowa and Iowa State are both headed somewhere to play a 13th game in either late December or early January, but the suspense as to where that “somewhere” will be is keeping some fans up a night.

            There is a twinge of anxiety in the minds off all Hawkeye fans as they contemplate the idea that the Fiesta Bowl may choose Penn State over Iowa even though Kirk Ferentz and his boys went out to Happy Valley earlier this season and beat the snot out of the Nittany Lions.

            Relax, Hawkeye Nation. I’m here to tell you this: If the Fiesta Bowl selects Penn State over Iowa, I’ll eat my shoe. A mud-caked, 3-year-old black Nike Air Max will be breakfast, lunch and dinner for me next Monday if the Hawkeyes are left out in the cold when the BCS bowl match-ups are announced next Sunday evening.

            Yes, I’m confident that Iowa is headed to Glendale, Ariz., for a Jan. 4 game against — in all likelihood — Boise State. The only hiccup could be if Nebraska somehow stuns Texas in the Big 12 championship game Saturday night, thus pushing two teams from the conference into the BCS. I’d bet a meal with my other shoe (why not finish off the pair?) that it’s not going to happen, but I guess stranger things have occurred.

            Essentially, it’s down to Iowa and Penn State for that at-large BCS bid. And as the theory goes, the Fiesta Bowl needs to select the Hawkeyes with its first pick because if Penn State is still on the board when it comes time for the Orange Bowl to take a team, then Papa Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions will be headed to Miami and Iowa will be left for the Capital One Bowl to snatch up.

            That shouldn’t sit well with Iowa fans either. Does the Orange Bowl committee not remember the 50,000-plus bumblebees that invaded South Beach seven years ago? The Orange Bowl should be so fortunate to get the Hawkeyes again.

            Luckily, the people in charge of the Fiesta Bowl will end all suspense when they take the Hawkeyes. It’s no secret that the state of Arizona is loaded with retirees from the state of Iowa who love their Hawkeyes as much as they love their Metamucil. Add those passionate fans already in state to the 35,000 or more Iowans that will fly into town, fill up the hotels, eat all of the food and drink all of the booze...and it’s a no-brainer.

            Glendale, here come the Hawkeyes.

            Iowa State’s bowl future is a little murkier. Will it be the Texas Bowl on Dec. 30 in Houston? Perhaps it could be the Independence Bowl in Shreveport on Dec. 28? Or maybe it’s the Insight Bowl in Tempe on Dec. 31?

            Sorry, Cyclone fans, no shoe guarantee here. My gut says it’s going to be the Texas Bowl against Navy...a very good game against a very good opponent for a Paul Rhoads’ coached them that, when the season started, would have jumped at the chance to play in any bowl game.

            There are other possibilities.  The boys (and maybe some girls) over at still have the Cyclones headed to the Independence Bowl to face their former coach Gene Chizik and his new Auburn team. Be honest, Cyclone Nation, you would love...LOVE...the opportunity to stick the football down Chizik’s throat.

            Unfortunately, it’s more wishful thinking than anything. The Independence Bowl picks before the Texas Bowl and it will snag Texas A&M — a team that punished the Cyclones earlier this season.

            The Insight Bowl intrigues me the most. It’s the longest of long shots considering it gets to choose before either of the aforementioned bowls, but the Cyclones could ride the Hawkeyes’ jet fumes all the way to Arizona.

            Those folks at the Insight Bowl want to make money...lots of it. And if two teams from the state of Iowa are scheduled to play in Arizona just four days apart, well, I think you get where I’m going here. Like I said, it’s a long shot, but so was Iowa State even making a bowl this season.

            Give me your potential bowl scenarios for the Hawkeyes and Cyclones. Are they both headed to Arizona? Is the BCS going to leave Iowa on the outside pounding on the glass? Is my shoe safe?


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