Dec. 1, 2003
Watching and waiting. It’s the name of the game for Coach Kirk Ferentz’s Iowa Hawkeyes, this week’s No. 12 team in the Bowl Championship Series.
Iowa, winners of nine games already in 2003 and 20 of their last 25, are waiting for the match-ups for this year’s four BCS games to shake out over the weekend to learn where they’ll be bowling this holiday season.
Is it Orlando and the Capital One Bowl?
Is it Tampa and the Outback Bowl?
Iowa will likely not learn its bowl destination officially until shortly after this year’s Bowl Championship Series games are announced. The pairings for the four BCS games will come during a television special scheduled for Sunday at 4:30 p.m. on ABC-TV.
Is it San Antonio and the MasterCard Alamo Bowl?
“You guys probably know more about that than I do,” Ferentz told the media that assembled for his first visit since Iowa’s thrilling season-ending victory at Wisconsin. “All I know is that we’re going somewhere nice and we’re playing somebody tough.”
Iowa, ranked 11th by ESPN/USA Today and 12th by Associated Press, will face a Southeastern Conference opponent if their bowl travels take them to Florida. If Texas and the home of the RiverWalk is their destination, then the opponent will hail from the Big 12 Conference. Either way, it’s a tall task.
“I had a chance to watch a little of many of the Southeastern Conference teams over the weekend,” Ferentz said, obviously impressed with what he saw. “We’ll have to see how it all works out.”
Iowa stands behind Big Ten Conference champion Michigan (4th) and defending national champion Ohio State (5th) as the third highest Big Ten team in this week’s BCS list. Purdue is almost two full points behind Iowa with the Hawkeyes’ victory over Michigan — the Wolverines’ only loss in conferenc play in 2003 — and a stronger strength of schedule being the primary reasons why Iowa bests Purdue, according to the BCS.
Ferentz said he was comfortable with the wait-and-see game played today by many bowl-bound teams. “Seems to me it’s a little more cut-and-dried than before when there appeared to be a lot more politics involved. I think the waiting is more difficult on fans and others who have to make travel plans, book hotels and things like that,” he said.