BCS Bowling 11/09/2009Posted by sportretort in Sports, Uncategorized.
Tags: bcs, bcs bowl games, big ten football, fiesta bowl, hawkeyes, iowa football, james vandenberg, ohio state, orange bowl, ricky stanzi, rose bowl
Lets go bowling. Last weekends loss to Northwestern certainly muddied the waters for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Where will this 9-1 team end up come bowl time?
Perhaps the biggest loss for Iowa was the injury to starting quarterback Ricky Stanzi. Sure, he had thrown an interception, but Northwestern got no points off of that turn over. Many of the haters in the blogosphere point to the fact that Iowa only lead 10-7 when Stanzi got hurt. They conveniently overlook the fact that the 7 points came
on the same play on which Stanzi was injured. The same hit that folded his ankle also caused the fumble in the end zone. They ignore the fact that to that point, Iowa had out gained the Wildcats by a 160-44 margin. Iowa had control of the game before the injury. If not for a naked boot in the end zone with a 10-0 lead Iowa wins that game and is still in the national title hunt. It was an interesting call that turned the seasons fortune for the Hawkeyes.
Not to worry, Hawkeye fans. One would hope that with a week of reps as the number one signal caller, new Hawkeye qb James Vandenberg will be more comfortable next week. Oh yes, the next game. Iowa at Ohio State. With Iowa’s loss and Ohio State’s victory at Penn State, Saturday’s showdown in Columbus becomes a one game, winner take all
Rose Bowl qualifier. The winner of that game will be the Big Ten champion and Rose Bowl opponent for the Oregon Ducks. The early line has Ohio State as 13 point favorites. But this game is not a given. Remember that the Buckeyes lost earlier in the season to USC in the horseshoe. And a month ago they inexplicably lost at Purdue. If you play defense against the Buckeyes, you have a chance. And Iowa has one of the best defenses around, which should be helped this week by the return of Brent Greenwood at safety who has been out all but 2 plays since suffering a concussion against Michigan State 2 weeks ago. If Vandenberg can settle into the role this week, keep the turnovers to a minimum (one or less) and find a way to put 20 points on the board, Iowa will be smelling Roses.
But what if OSU wins the game? What then for Iowa? Will a season that held such promise just a few short days ago end in a non-BCS bowl for the Hawks. Is Iowa headed for the Capital One, Outback or perhaps even the Alamo Bowl? I doubt it. For Iowa to be eligible for a BCS bowl game, they must be ranked in the top 14 in the poll on that last fateful weekend. Should Iowa lose a close one to Ohio State and then defeat Minnesota in their final game, they would finish 10-2. They currently are 10th in the BCS poll. A close loss to Ohio State would probably drop them out of the top 14. A win against Minnesota may still leave them 15th or worse, but they will still be within striking distance. The good news is that at this point, teams ahead of them will still be playing 1 or 2 more games. With the conference championships, several teams are sure to fall, allowing Iowa to inch back up to 14th or higher. The Big 12 will get only one team into the BCS this year. Same with the ACC and Big East. Notre Dame’s chances were sunk last week with their loss to Navy. It is possible that in the Big Ten Wisconsin and Penn State would also finish at 10-2, but Iowa beat both of them on their home fields. So the biggest obstacle to a 10-2 Iowa and the BCS would appear to be USC. The press loves So Cal, and they travel well. So despite having been badly beaten by Oregon two weeks ago, USC holds the key to Iowa’s fortune. SC has games remaining against Stanford, UCLA and 20th ranked Arizona. My prediction is a 2-1 finish for the men of Troy. Iowa would be very attractive at this point to either the Fiesta Bowl or the Orange Bowl. Don’t give in now Hawkeyes. The second BCS bid in school history is still yours for the taking. Win on Saturday and it is Roses. If not, beat Minnesota and my guess is you will have a Fiesta in your future.