Point/Counterpoint: Is a BCS bowl game good for Iowa?

BY DI STAFF | DECEMBER 01, 2009 7:20 AM

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Barring any crazy upsets on in the Big East and Big 12 championship games on Dec. 5 (I’m talking to you, Texas and Cincinnati), the Hawkeyes appear to be headed to their first Bowl Championship Series bowl game since the 2003 Orange Bowl.

But is playing in the national spotlight of a BCS game good for Iowa?


There would be no better way for the Hawkeyes to cap off their historic season than with an at-large bid to a BCS bowl game.

First and foremost, Iowa has earned the right to play in one of these illustrious games. The squad has played one of the toughest schedules in the country and is one of only 13 Football Bowl Subdivision teams with a 10-2 record or better.

The Hawkeyes defeated six bowl-eligible opponents, took Ohio State down to the wire at the “Horseshoe” with a backup quarterback, and came from behind in eight of its 10 victories this season.

Let’s not forget about the all-important Benjamins. The BCS bowl games pay out the most money, giving millions of dollars to the teams selected to play in their respective game each year.

This year the Fiesta Bowl teams receive $17 million compared with $4.25 million for the non-BCS Capital One Bowl. A little extra cash is never a bad thing.

Playing in a BCS game is also a great recruiting tool. Most top recruits want to go to a school that consistently participates in high-profile bowl games. The team’s success this season has helped the Hawkeyes get the 18th-best recruiting class in the country thus far, according to Rivals.com.

With Iowa in a BCS game, there could be a lot more four- and five-star recruits taking an interest in Iowa City.

Iowa loses only seven impact seniors after this year. With nearly everyone returning next year, the Hawkeyes will head into the 2010 season as one of the best teams in the Big Ten and one of the top squads in the nation.

Gaining the experience of playing in a BCS bowl game will not only be great for players and fans this year, but it will also have the Hawkeyes more prepared in seasons to come.

— by Mitch Smith

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In a perfect world, all eight teams above Iowa in the Bowl Championship Series standings would be found guilty of recruiting violations in the next week, and the Hawkeyes would get a chance to stomp Georgia Tech in a marred national-championship game.

But because that’s not going to happen, Iowa is relegated to a projected shot at the Fiesta Bowl (or Orange Bowl).

Yet, Hawkeyes fans should not be near as excited about the big-time game as they seem to be. All prognosticators seem to have Iowa against Boise State, a non-automatic qualifying team whose underdog charm always puts the nation behind it.

So let’s say Iowa defeats Boise State handily, or even in a close contest. Congratulations Hawkeyes, you’ve beaten a team that history says you should beat.

Boise State is a team from a smaller conference that won one good game against a disheveled Oregon squad in the first game of the season, a team that may not even make the Rose Bowl if it loses the Civil War on Thursday against Oregon State.

If anything, critics of Iowa will spin it as a loss by a team that has been fooling pollsters all year long.
If the Hawkeyes should fall, then that will be even worse.

Sure, the athletics department will get the Fiesta Bowl payout, but that is all. Any exposure on national television will be nullified by the stigma of another Big Ten team embarrassing itself in the BCS.

Now think of all the positives from a Big Ten versus SEC matchup in the Capital One Bowl. Iowa would play an LSU team in a matchup that favors our turnover-loving defense.

Iowa would still get the recognition of a January bowl game and a rematch of one of the greatest games in Iowa history. For some odd reason, I would rather the Hawkeyes beat LSU to go 11-2 than lose to Boise State and go 10-3.

Trust me, recruiting won’t take a hit if Iowa goes to the Capital One Bowl, and even then the Hawkeyes would get a shot at a top 15 BCS team. If Kirk Ferentz and Company don’t go to the Fiesta Bowl, it won’t be the end of the world.

— by Ian Martin

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