IOWA CITY, Iowa - Yes, I know. I'm about 11 months behind in projecting bowl games for this season. Deal.
It's fun to talk about different scenarios throughout the year. I'm just older and lazier and easily confused. I choose to wait until it's actually close to selection time to throw out some possibilities.
Discussing any postseason chances after Iowa's 4-8 campaign in 2012 is a relief. Last Saturday's frigid temperatures in Kinnick Stadium make it even nicer to think about warm bowl locals.
The Hawkeyes head into their Black Friday showdown with Nebraska presented with an opportunity to boost their status. The difference between 8-4 and 7-5 could be significant to those folks in charge of selecting teams.
Let's take a look at some options:
An Iowa Loss at Nebraska and wins by all the favorites in the Big Ten this weekend.
Iowa would sit behind behind Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Nebraska in the pecking order. The Hawkeyes aren't going to hop any of those teams when it comes to the bowl selection.
After that, it gets interesting. Minnesota would be 8-4 with Iowa and Michigan at 7-5. The Hawkeyes would own a 2-0 record against the other teams. The Wolverines provide the biggest name recognition.
Assuming the Big Ten puts two teams in BCS bowls, the other two of the league's top four would claim the Capital One and Outback Bowl slots. Next up would be The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl followed by the Gator Bowl and the Texas Bowl.
The BW3, formerly the Insight, has played host to Iowa two of the last three years. The Wolverines haven't been in that game.
Yes, Iowa holds the head up advantage against Michigan. Remember, this isn't about fair. It's about money.
Prediction: BW3 - Michigan, Gator - Iowa, Texas - Minnesota.
An Iowa Win at Nebraska and wins by the other favorites in the Big Ten this weekend.
This scenario moves the Hawkeyes into the Outback discussion. It likely would come down to them, Nebraska and Michigan for the slot.
On merit, it should be Iowa. Again, that's only part of the equation.
Michigan lost to South Carolina in Tampa last season. Nebraska has never played in the game.
Prediction: Outback - Nebraska, BW3 - Michigan, Gator - Iowa, Texas - Minnesota.
An Iowa Loss at Nebraska, Michigan knocks off Ohio State, Minnesota wins at Michigan State, Penn State upsets Wisconsin.
Wow, what a cluster. This would bump Wisconsin from the BCS bowl discussion. If OSU beat MSU in the Big Ten title game, that would likely leave the Buckeyes as the lone league rep in the BCS. This would not be good for Iowa.
Prediction: OSU - Rose, Wisconsin - Cap 1, MSU - Outback, Nebraska - BW3, Michigan - Gator, Minnesota - Texas, Iowa - Heart of Dallas.
Iowa loses at Nebraska, Minnesota wins at Michigan State, other Big Ten favorites this weekend
Then, OSU beats MSU in title game.
Prediction: OSU - Rose, Wisconsin - BCS, MSU - Cap 1, Nebraska - Outback, , Minnesota - BW3, Michigan - Gator, Iowa - Texas.
Other scenarios could play out but I doubt they would impact the Hawkeyes then those we've mentioned above. And, I'm getting confused. The key games affecting Iowa are, of course, its game in Lincoln and Minnesota at Michigan State.
If the Hawkeyes lose and the Gophers win, the politicking by those schools for a "better" bowl will be interesting. Iowa will have the head-to-head advantage and Minnesota would be two games up in the standings. The Hawkeyes historically travel well while Goldy is a good story and is from a metropolitan TV market.
The good news is that we'll know in less than two weeks where everyone is headed. That's bad news for those of us writing bowl prediction stories.