Calhoun: Bowl projection for ISU football


Graphic: Helen Bennett/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State Daily sports editor Jake Calhoun predicts the ISU football team is most likely to play at the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Other possible bowl games are: Pinstripe Bowl, Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, Independence Bowl, Music City Bowl and Military Bowl. 

Jake Calhoun

Preseason expectations aside, Iowa State will be going to a bowl game for the third time in four years this season.

While the ISU football team has underachieved in many respects according to its expectations this season, its 6-6 campaign without giving up more than 35 points in a single game leaves something to be desired for another contest.

Selection Sunday takes place this weekend for the college football bowl season, so here are the odds of Iowa State’s logical options and the Daily’s official projection.

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (Big 12 No. 4)

TEMPE, Ariz. — 9:15 p.m. CST, Dec. 29

Projected opponent: Michigan State (Big Ten No. 4/5)

Possible draw for Iowa State: Unlikely

Formerly known as the Insight Bowl, the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl has provided fond memories to ISU fans from victories there in 2000 and 2009.

But whether the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, which is owned and operated by the Fiesta Bowl, will select Iowa State for a third showing is bit more of a stretch this time around.

One or two teams will be in consideration for the Big 12 slot come Sunday, said Fiesta Bowl representative Kristen Pflipsen in a phone interview with the Daily on Tuesday. From there, Pflipsen said the bowl will try to pit the best matchup.

“It looks like, as of now, Iowa State might not be up high enough,” Pflipsen said. “But there’s still another week of football to be played.”

While there are a few other teams in the Big 12 that the bowl would prefer, Pflipsen said Iowa State’s fan turnout at its previous trips could play in its favor if it should be considered.

But as delicious as it sounds, the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl will probably not be giving Iowa State a call this season.

Pinstripe Bowl (Big 12 No. 7)

NEW YORK — 2:15 CST, Dec. 29

Projected opponent: Syracuse (Big East No. 4)

Possible draw for Iowa State: Possible

Iowa State’s most recent bowl trip came in the form of a 27-13 loss to Rutgers in the 2011 Pinstripe Bowl.

In a phone interview with the Daily, Pinstripe Bowl Executive Director Mark Holtzman said he would not bat an eye at the notion of inviting Iowa State for a second year in a row.

“They did great here last year, the fans loved it, we have a very good relationship with the coach and the athletic director,” Holtzman said. “We’d be crazy not to consider them.”

While the school sold 77 percent of its allotment of tickets at last year’s game, questions arise as to whether fans would be willing to make the same trip a second year in a row considering how expensive New York City is.

Maybe it’s a hunch, but West Virginia is a logical selection due to its closer proximity to Yankee Stadium that would incite a larger attendance than having ISU fans back again.

Heart of Dallas Bowl (Big 12 No. 8)

DALLAS — 11 a.m. CST, Jan. 1, 2013

Projected opponent: Minnesota (Big Ten No. 8)

Possible draw for Iowa State: Likely

Formerly known as the Ticket City Bowl, this game is played at the historic Cotton Bowl — taking the place of the Cotton Bowl game which has moved to the $1 billion Cowboys Stadium.

Numerous outlets are predicting Iowa State to make an appearance in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, with many of them predicting Minnesota as its opponent.

Interestingly enough, Minnesota and Iowa State — both 6-6 — squared off in the 2009 Insight Bowl, which the Cyclones won 14-13.

The only difference will be the standing of the bowl — the Insight Bowl, No. 4 on the Big 12 pecking order, decided to pick two 6-6 teams in lieu of better records because it provided a good matchup. The Heart of Dallas Bowl is No. 8 for both the Big 12 and Big Ten, so this game will be a little more grounded in terms of hype.

At press time, representatives from the Heart of Dallas Bowl, which is owned and operated by Conference USA, did not return any requests for comment.

Of these four bowl games, this one seems to make the most sense. Iowa State already draws good attendance to bowl games as it is, but since there are 19 Cyclones from the state of Texas, this would only increase the team’s chance at having another good turnout.

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas (Big 12 No. 6)

HOUSTON — 8 p.m. CST, Dec. 28

Projected opponent: Purdue (Big Ten No. 6)

Possible draw for Iowa State: Unlikely

Formerly known as the Houston Bowl, the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas is a hip prospective landing location for Iowa State in a few bowl projections.

The biggest reason this remains a possibility is the fact that it provides the possibility of an equal matchup between two 6-6 teams in Iowa State and Purdue, which have never faced each other.

Bob Burda, Big 12 associate commissioner of communications, said there is no provision within the conference that prohibits teams with worse records from going to better bowls, so the trend certainly has a chance of continuing in Iowa State’s case.

But is Iowa State legitimately in the running for the Meineke Car Care Bowl? That remains unknown since Heather Houston, the bowl’s executive director, did not return the Daily’s multiple requests for comment.

But when it comes down to it, the Meineke Car Care Bowl may be more apt to selecting a team like Baylor or Texas Tech since Iowa State somewhat backed into the postseason after losing three of its last four games of the season.

Wild cards

Independence Bowl — SHREVEPORT, La., 1 p.m. CST, Dec. 28

That crazy Independence Bowl is always a wild card when it comes to possible bowls. Even though it does not currently have any affiliation to the Big 12, representatives from the Independence Bowl were in the press box at Iowa State’s regular season finale against West Virginia last Friday.

Music City Bowl — NASHVILLE, Tenn., 11 a.m. CST, Dec. 31

Iowa State would occupy one of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s bids as an at-large selection if Oklahoma fails to secure an at-large bid in the Sugar Bowl. While it seems unlikely that Iowa State would go to the Music City Bowl, the possibility still remains on the table.

Military Bowl — WASHINGTON, 2 p.m. CST, Dec. 27

Since Army is not bowl-eligible, a team from either the Big 12 or Mid-American Conference would contractually fill its slot against the ACC opponent.

PREDICTION: Heart of Dallas Bowl

Call it a hunch, but the Heart of Dallas Bowl seems like the most logical choice to give Iowa State a call.

One major positive for Iowa State is its fan base — ISU fans travel well and have known to draw good attendance for neutral-location games in the past.

With 19 players hailing from the state of Texas — many of whom are from the Dallas area — that boost in attendance will likely compel the Heart of Dallas Bowl to consider Iowa State.

All uncertainty aside, the Heart of Dallas Bowl is the most likely destination for Iowa State at this point.

Jake Calhoun is a senior in journalism from Urbandale, Iowa.