(This was written before the game and before that first series, so obviously, Iowa wins it’s in a bowl and it’s going to be way better than 6-6.)
OK, first the number of bowl-eligible Big Ten teams has to match the number of bowl slots available. So, the Big Ten has seven slots, eight when the BCS bowls snap up two Big Ten teams. If the number of bowl-eligible teams matches the number of slots, a 6-6 team can jump over a 7-5, according to Scott Chipman, Big Ten assistant commissioner for communications.
This mainly deals with the conference’s final two bowl slots, the Insight and Motor City. Neither bowl is held to the “two-win, two-loss differential,” which states a Big Ten team can’t jump another with two wins. But if the numbers match up and if (of course, it’s an if) the Hawkeyes finish 6-6, they could leap a 7-5 for an Insight bid.
The Big Ten bowl picture has two more weeks to cook, but three teams have already been eliminated from bowl contention — Michigan (3-7), Indiana (3-7) and Purdue (3-7).
Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin all sit on the cusp of bowl eligibility. The Big Ten should finish with eight bowl-eligibles for seven official slots.
After today’s game with No. 3 Penn State, the Hawkeyes are left with a home game against Purdue and a road trip to Minnesota to chart its bowl course.
“We want to go to the highest bowl we can possibly achieve,” Iowa athletics director Gary Barta said.
With Iowa’s record for rabid fans and bowl RVs, if the Insight has the opportunity, it’s a pretty good bet it’d take a 6-6 Iowa over potential 7-5 Northwestern and Minnesota.
The Outback and Capital One/Champs Sports Bowls were in the Iowa pressbox Saturday.