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IT'S NOT PLAGIARISM IF YOU LINK TO IT: IOWA VS TENNESSEE IN THE TAXSLAYER

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This is for conference pride.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

IOWA WILL HAVE A FAVORABLE MATCH-UP IN THE TAXSLAYER BOWL. This is the first year for the Big Ten's new rules for bowl games following expanding to 14 teams. Iowa will make a trip to Florida to face a (6-6) Tennessee squad on January 2nd. Tennessee worked hard to get to bowl eligibility while Iowa dropped their last two games with Wisconsin and Nebraska.

There's pride on the line for Iowa and conference pride too. The Big Ten was dead in September but rose from the grave yesterday when Ohio State leaped Baylor and TCU to fill the fourth playoff spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff. A win for Iowa over Tennessee as well as other conference wins in equal match-ups will go a long way in changing the national perception of the Big Ten.

GARY BARTA AND KIRK FERENTZ TALKED ABOUT THE BOWL SELECTION. Here's the transcript and there's video too. Ferentz was asked about changes to his staff and changes to the starting lineup for the bowl game. Every position is up for grabs and the coaches are always under evaluation. Ferentz speak, certainly. He was asked if he felt the heat from his seat. Ferentz said,

As a coach I've never felt comfortable. That's a word I choose not to use. Because what we do is competitive. I don't know how you can get comfortable. It would to me suggest that you feel like you might have arrived. You never arrive at anything in life, if you're trying to improve. So that's not a word I would use. But the hot seat stuff, I got over that when I coached in the NFL. Every day is a hot seat in the National Football League. And I was an assistant. Wasn't like I was on the front line. That's the nature of coaching. Certainly the nature of what we do. And there's more than ample evidence that coaches get taken out of their positions on a routine basis. And every circumstance is different, but that's why you have a contract. I got my first contract at the University of Maine back in 1990, I guess it would have been. I think it had about a $60,000 buyout. Kevin White made me have that in there. Dropped down to about 15,000 in the second year. And I've never worried about that. I worry about the best I can do and that's been my concentration and focus ever since I got going here.

THERE'S BEEN PLENTY OF DISCUSSION ABOUT FERENTZ'S FUTURE. All of it on social media and in podcasts. Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta got a jump on the scuttlebutt by asking the Gazette's Mike Hlas and The Des Moines Register's Rick Brown to sit and have a chat. Barta expressed confidence in his man Ferentz.  I'll let you read if (if you haven't already).

MARK WEISMAN IS A FINALIST FOR THE BURLSWORTH TROPHY.

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