It’s certainly not a sure thing yet, but my hunch is that the Iowa football team is headed for Arizona for the holidays to play in the Dec. 28 Insight Bowl in Tempe. There is good and bad in that.
It’s good that they’re not making another trip to Florida for a bowl, which wouldn’t be all that appealing to the fans. It’s good because the opponent is going to either Missouri or Nebraska, teams that will get the fans geared up much more than some faceless SEC team.
It’s bad because this is a lesser bowl played at 9 p.m. Central time only a few days after Christmas. While I’ve been pretty much convinced Iowa fans weren’t going to travel well if they were going to Florida again, this might not be any better. Although it’s a new venue and an intriguing opponent, it almost forces Iowans to be away from home for Christmas. That’s something even we media types are struggling with.
One other aspect to this game that may not be a big plus: The Hawkeyes are going to be facing a tougher opponent. Had they gone to the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, they were going to face a 7-5 Florida team that’s in even more disarray than they are themselves. Instead it’s going to be 10-2 Missouri with a high-powered offense or 10-3 Nebraska with a very stingy defense. Both are tough matchups. If the Hawkeyes don’t show up any better than they did at Minnesota and Northwesterm, this could be ugly.