Bowl Notebook: Nine Iowa opponents reach postseason games

BY DI STAFF | DECEMBER 04, 2012 6:30 AM

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Iowa went 3-6 against teams that made bowls in 2012, and it lost three of those games by 3 points or fewer.

The Big Ten fared well during football’s Selection Sunday, with seven teams in the conference accepting bowl bids. Five of the Big Ten squads will play in a New Year’s Day bowl, while Minnesota and Michigan State will play on Dec. 28 and Dec. 29, respectively.

Iowa didn’t play the Big Ten’s sole BCS representative, Wisconsin, but faced nine teams that qualified for bowl games of the 11 Football Bowl Subdivision teams on the Hawkeyes’ schedule. Iowa (4-8 overall) went 3-6 against its bowl competition, defeating Northern Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan State.

Three of the teams that defeated the Hawkeyes in 2012 — Iowa State, Central Michigan, and Purdue — finished the regular season with a record of 6-6, the minimum record (.500) to be eligible for a bowl. The Cyclones, Chippewas, and Boilermakers each defeated Iowa by 3 points or fewer.

— by Ian Martin

No. 11 Oklahoma snubbed by BCS

A controversial rule has left No. 11 Oklahoma (10-2) out of a BCS bowl game.

The automatic qualifications of Big East champion Louisville, Big Ten champion and 5-loss Wisconsin, and MAC champion Northern Illinois — which earned a berth in the Orange Bowl because it was a non-automatic qualifying conference school that finished in the top-16 of the BCS standings — made the Sooners the first team left out of the top-tier bowls.

Oklahoma will instead play in the Cotton Bowl against Heisman candidate Johnny Manziel and No. 9 Texas A&M on Jan. 4. The Aggies are outside the BCS, along with SEC powers No. 7 Georgia, No. 8 LSU, and No. 10 South Carolina because a conference is only allowed two teams in the BCS’ five games. In addition to national-championship contender No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Florida will meet Louisville.

Louisville is arguably the least-deserving team in any BCS bowl game. The Cardinals won their conference despite losing to Connecticut (5-7) and New Era Pinstripe Bowl-bound Syracuse (7-5). Louisville didn’t face a ranked team all season, but will get an opportunity when they meet the Gators in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2.

Northern Illinois, which will face No. 12 ACC champion Florida State, are 12-1 with the team’s only loss coming in its first game of the season, against Iowa. Some critics, such as ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit, questioned Northern Illinois’ inclusion because of their loss to the Hawkeyes, even though they qualified via a rule.

“To put them in the BCS is absolute joke,” Herbstreit said during his network’s BCS selection show on Sunday. “They lost to Iowa.”

— by Carlos Sosa

Louisiana Tech (9-3) botches bowl bid

Perhaps the most surprising happening in this year’s bowl season isn’t who’s in a bowl but who was left out.

Louisiana Tech was slotted to go to the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl against in-state foe Louisiana-Monroe. Despite the campuses being approximately 40 miles away from each other, the two schools have not played since 2000.

However, it won’t happen, thanks to the mishandling of the situation by Louisiana Tech Athletics Director Bruce Van Der Velde.

The Bulldogs received an invitation from the Independence Bowl, but Van Der Velde was waiting to work a deal to go to the Liberty Bowl. The invitation disappeared after Northern Illinois made a BCS bowl, setting off a chain reaction that eventually sent Iowa State to the Liberty Bowl.

Louisiana Tech is more than worthy to still be playing. It has more wins than 38 teams in bowls, and it boasts one of the nation’s most exciting offenses — which leads the nation in scoring.

Seemingly, Van Der Velde wasn’t prepared to fall back to a less-desirable bowl in the event that Northern Illinois became a BCS buster after winning the MAC.

The 2012 Bulldogs had the school’s best football season since 1997, when Louisiana Tech went 9-2.

— by Kevin Glueck

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