Iowa Hawkeyes are Bowl Bound But Where Will They Go?
Friday afternoon, Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City will host a game that could put the Iowa Hawkeyes back in the Big Ten Championship game for the second straight year and the third time in eight years. What lies beyond that looks pretty clear, at least if Iowa defeats the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Will Black Friday indeed be a black one for the Hawkeyes or will it turn Cornhusker red in Iowa City? Let's not think about the latter. Iowa is a 10.5-point favorite to win the Big Ten west battle against Nebraska for the eighth consecutive year. A win gives them the division title for the second straight season.
Iowa knows if they defeat Nebraska Friday afternoon in the 3 p.m. kickoff on Big Ten Network, they're headed back to Indianapolis to take on the winner of Saturday's Ohio State-Michigan game (11 a.m. central on Fox). The Big Ten Championship game will be held Saturday, December 3 at 7 p.m. central, also on Fox.
That's what lies ahead as Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz coaches his 300th career game at Iowa on Friday. If the Hawkeyes win, he'll also take sole possession of 3rd place all-time for wins in Big Ten games (he's currently tied with Amos Alonzo Stagg at 115 victories). Stagg coached the Chicago Maroons in the Big Ten Conference from 1896-1932. Ferentz trails only Bo Schembechler of Michigan (143 wins) and Woody Hayes of Ohio State (153) for career Big Ten wins.
Looking beyond December 3, nearly every prognostication currently has Iowa forecast to play in the ReliaQuest Bowl. If you're thinking, 'Hey we're going to play somewhere new!', uh no. ReliaQuest is the new sponsor for the game formerly known as the Outback Bowl.
Predictions have Mississippi, Florida, or South Carolina as possible opponents for Iowa in Tampa. The ReliaQuest Bowl will be played at 11 a.m. on Monday, January 2, on ESPN2. In case you're wondering, ReliaQuest is a cybersecurity company. Yeah, I knew you didn't care.
I'm hoping Iowa doesn't start for another five hours on that January day. Say 4 p.m. on ESPN in Pasadena, California.
I know dreaming of the Rose Bowl seems far-fetched but this Iowa team has already shown us they have some magic. A month ago, no one saw Iowa winning five straight. That could happen on Friday and, if it does, the next task will be to carry November's magic into December.
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