A game will be played at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City Friday afternoon that could return the Iowa Hawkeyes to Big Ten Championship play for the second straight year and the third time in eight years. What’s behind this looks pretty clear, at least if Iowa defeats the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Is Black Friday actually going black for the Hawkeyes, or is Cornhusker going red in Iowa City? Let’s not think of the latter. Iowa is a 10.5-point favorite to win the Big Ten West’s fight against Nebraska for the eighth consecutive year. A win gives them the division title for the second straight season.
Iowa knows if they beat Nebraska in Friday afternoon’s 3 p.m. kick-off on Big Ten Network, they’ll return to Indianapolis to take on the winner of Saturday’s Ohio State-Michigan game (11 a.m. center on Fox). The Big Ten Championship game will also be held centrally on Fox on Saturday, December 3 at 7 p.m.
That’s coming as Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz coaches his 300th career game in Iowa on Friday. If the Hawkeyes win, he will also take the all-time 3rd place for wins in Big Ten games (he currently ties with Amos Alonzo Stagg on 115 wins). Stagg coached the Chicago Maroons in the Big Ten Conference from 1896 to 1932. Ferentz is behind only Michigan’s Bo Schembechler (143 wins) and Ohio State’s Woody Hayes (153) for career Big Ten wins.
Looking beyond December 3rd, almost every forecast right now is for Iowa to play the ReliaQuest Bowl. If you’re thinking, “Hey, we’re playing in a new place!”, uh, no. ReliaQuest is the new sponsor of the game formerly known as the Outback Bowl.
Predictions have Mississippi, Florida or South Carolina as possible opponents for Iowa in Tampa. The ReliaQuest Bowl will be played Monday, January 2 at 11:00 am on ESPN2. In case you’re wondering, ReliaQuest is a cybersecurity company. Yeah I knew you didn’t care
I hope Iowa doesn’t start for five hours this January day. Say 4 p.m. on ESPN in Pasadena, California.
I know dreaming of the Rose Bowl seems far-fetched, but this Iowa team has already shown us that they have some magic. A month ago, no one saw Iowa win five straight games. That could happen on Friday, and if it does, the next task is to carry the magic of November into December.
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