Four possible targets await Hawks

It was all before the Iowa Hawkeyes this past weekend. If you beat Nebraska, you go to the Big Ten championship game and then probably to a game in Orlando on January 2nd. The Cornhuskers had other ideas.

The 2022 football season in Iowa will be remembered for what could have been. If Iowa’s offense in more games was even appropriate, could this have been a 10-win season? Absolutely. Nebraska, Iowa State and Illinois were all winnable games, with Iowa losing those three by 13 points overall. The fact that Iowa lost at Kinnick Stadium to Nebraska and Iowa State, who finished 8-16 combined, only adds to the frustration.

Iowa’s offensive line struggled mightily throughout the season. They weren’t alone on the offensive side of the ball, where Iowa has been the second-worst yards per game in the FBS this season at 255.4 yards per game. The Hawkeyes only had 169 first downs. That was also the second worst on FBS.

However, how bad could this season have been if Iowa’s defense weren’t among the best in the nation? The Hawkeyes’ defense ranked #1 in the nation in yards allowed per game with 4.10. They ranked 5th in the country in total yards allowed (3,335) and yards per game (277.9). Iowa’s defense was on the field a total of 814 games. No other defense in the top 9 has played more than 743 games.

Where will the Iowa team, which has strong defense and a fighting offense, end up in bowl season? There seem to be four possibilities.

Though Iowa ended 7-5, 247 Sports believes the Hawkeyes could still land at the ReliaQuest Bowl (formerly the Outback Bowl) in Tampa, Fla. on Monday, Jan. 2 (11 a.m. on ESPN2). Ole Miss, 8-4, is the person you would meet in Iowa. Iowa has never played Mississippi in a bowl game. This bowl has to be considered a long shot for Iowa.

CBS Sports is among those predicting that Iowa will head to the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee on Saturday, December 31 (11am on ESPN). Both Ole Miss and Missouri (6-6) are mentioned as possible opponents by separate outlets. Iowa was scheduled to meet Missouri in the 2020 Music City Bowl before COVID issues in the Missouri program forced the game’s cancellation. Iowa defeated Missouri 27-24 in the 2010 Insight Bowl in the only meeting of the two programs in a bowl game.

Yahoo Sports predicts that Iowa will face North Carolina State (8-4) on Friday, December 30 (11am on ESPN) in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Wolfpack defeated Iowa 28-23 in the 1988 Peach Bowl, the only time the two have met in a bowl game.

Action Network and ESPN both choose Iowa to play the Pinstripe Bowl on Thursday, December 29 (1pm on ESPN) in the Bronx, New York. Both believe Iowa will play Pittsburgh (8-4). The two have never met at a bowl game.

The bowl goals will become official this Sunday afternoon, December 4th. Until then, here’s a recap of some of the most memorable moments of the 2022 football season in Iowa:

The most memorable moments of the 2022 football season in Iowa

Iowa finished the regular season 7-5. It will be remembered as a year in which the defense carried a team that struggled mightily during the Big Ten season.

The best Iowa football photos of the 2021 season

The Hawkeyes went 7-3 in Big Ten play and 10-4 overall, including a New Year’s loss to Kentucky at the Citrus Bowl. Here are some of the best shots from the whole year.