By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com PublisherFollow Chris on Twitter @ChrisMWilliams
As I wrote at the beginning of last week’s bowl projections blog, DO NOT make any travel plans based off of this piece or anything that you read on any other publication around the Internet at this point and time.
If somebody tells you that they know for sure where Iowa State will be playing in the postseason, they are lying.
There’s obviously still a lot of football left to be played. Things outside of Iowa State’s control can and probably will have just as much impact on where the Cyclones will eventually end up as anything that the team does next Saturday in Manhattan, Kan. A win over Kansas State would be great, but it wouldn’t secure anything.
In Iowa State’s dream scenario, the Big 12 would somehow have two teams qualify for BCS bowls. According to the pundits, that appears to be unlikely at this point.
My quick take on that: Everybody is paying attention to Oklahoma State and Oklahoma and rightfully so. But what if Kansas State beats Iowa State on Saturday and gets to 10 wins? It’s common knowledge that the Wildcat Nation travels as well as any fan base in the country. Kansas State would be a VERY attractive program for a BCS bowl no?
I’m not saying that this will happen. But if it did go down, I wouldn’t be shocked.
Also, don’t get too hung up on bowl payouts. While those big numbers look great next to the games, I highly encourage you to read the book Death to the BCS. In reality, that number means jack. What does matter though is net bowl revenue that is distributed evenly throughout the conference…That’s another reason to root for the Big 12 to have two BCS teams.
Enough of me acting like I know what I’m talking about though. Onto this week’s projections from around the web with my thoughts on each scenario.
DALLAS A POPULAR CHOICE: At this hour, I’ve seen four publications place Iowa State in the TicketCity Bowl vs. a Big Ten opponent in Dallas on Jan. 2.
NOTE: That in these scenarios, Missouri and/or Texas A&M are being chosen by Big 12 bowl affiliated bowl games over Iowa State, while only one Big 12 team is playing in a BCS game.
I see multiple holes in these scenarios. Why would say, the Holiday Bowl, choose Texas A&M or Missouri over Iowa State, or any other Big 12 program for that matter? The Holiday Bowl is a partner of the Big 12’s. By taking Missouri (who traditionally doesn’t travel well) or Texas A&M (can you see the Aggie fan base being jacked up about this after such high expectations?), that’s just bad business. Period.
BUT, I don’t see a scenario in which Iowa State could jump Texas A&M for any bowl game in Texas. Like the scenario that I threw down above, that too would be bad business. The Texas Bowl would want A&M over Iowa State.
I’m not saying the the above scenarios surrounding Big 12 teams that are leaving will or will not go down. Just thinking out loud.
The TicketCity Bowl would be a fine destination for Iowa State in my opinion. This Dallas bowl game could do wonders for recruiting. It’s a game that would put Iowa State up against a Big Ten opponent. I’ve seen Purdue and Illinois be tossed around for potential foes. Those are both fairly favorable matchups for Iowa State. This game would provide great exposure for Iowa State on Jan. 2, which is basically New Years Day for college football fans in 2012.
Plus, the drive from Iowa to Dallas isn’t a bad one at all. The Cyclone Nation would travel VERY well to the TicketCity Bowl.
AGAINST THE GRAIN: If Iowa State indeed gets left out of the Big 12’s bowl slots and doesn’t end up in Dallas (which isn’t a Big 12 affiliated game), chances are pretty strong that the Cyclones will end up somewhere (it’s VERY doubtful that Iowa State will be left out of the bowl equation).
— In the latest bowl projections from CBSSports.com, Iowa State will wind up in the Military Bowl in Washington D.C. on Dec. 28 vs. North Carolina from the ACC.
— Brad Edwards from ESPN.comsees Iowa State playing UCLA in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on Dec. 31 in San Fransisco.
— Up until this morning, I hadn’t seen Iowa State projected to play in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport. That’s where NBC has the Cyclones going, vs. Wake Forest from the ACC. This game would take place on Dec. 26.
WHAT WE LEARNED: Everybody is just filling in holes right now. None of the linked articles above have Iowa State playing in a Big 12 affiliated bowl game at this time. That means that they are all plucking Iowa State out of a hat and throwing the Cyclones into games where conferences/teams cannot fill slots.
We really won’t have any idea how these chips will fall until next Sunday.
ONE FINAL NOTE: That the Florida newspaper man who projected Iowa State to play in the Hawaii Bowl has not updated his projections yet this week. This news disappoints me greatly.