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POST-WEEK 7 BOWL PROJECTIONS: THE TAXES MUST BE SLAYED

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Where does Iowa's bowl fate lie at the season's midway point?

Matthew Holst

The season has hit the halfway point, which means the bowl projection business is heating up -- we know now a few teams who will be bowling in December and January (congrats, Florida State, Baylor, Marshall, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State) and we're even starting to find out which teams will be staying home this holiday season (sorry, Idaho).  At 5-1, Iowa looks like a pretty solid bet to make the postseason, so let's see where the projections have the Hawkeyes heading in a few months...

As we noted before, the rules regarding Big Ten bowls have changed this year. I recommend reading that recap to get a better handle on the state of Big Ten bowls in 2014. If you're still confused... honestly, I don't blame you. But feel free to ask your question in the comments; perhaps the BHGP braintrust can help answer it.

Unless otherwise noted, all bowl projections incorporate Week 7 results.

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Our friends at SB Nation:

Gator Bowl: Iowa vs. South Carolina (Jacksonville, FL; 1/2/2015)

Jerry Pam at CBSSports.com:

Heart of Dallas Bowl: Iowa vs. Marshall (Dallas, TX; 12/26/2014)

Phil Steele:

Gator Bowl: Iowa vs. Texas A&M (Jacksonville, FL; 1/2/2015)

Athlon Sports:

Music City Bowl: Iowa vs. Kentucky (Nashville, TN; 12/30/2014)

Sporting News:

Holiday Bowl: Iowa vs. Arizona (San Diego, CA; 12/27/2014)

ESPN (Brett McMurphy):

Music City Bowl: Iowa vs. Missouri (Nashville, TN; 12/30/2014)

ESPN (Mark Schlabach):

San Francisco Bowl: Iowa vs. Stanford (Santa Clara, CA; 12/30/2014)

ESPN (Adam Rittenberg):

Holiday Bowl: Iowa vs. ??? (San Diego, CA; 12/27/2014)

College Football News/Scout.com:

Citrus Bowl: Iowa vs. Georgia (Orlando, FL; 1/1/2015)

BTN (Tom Dienhart):

Gator Bowl: Iowa vs. South Carolina (Jacksonville, FL; 1/2/2015)

USA Today:

San Francisco Bowl: Iowa vs. Stanford (Santa Clara, CA; 12/30/2014)

NFL.com (College Football 24/7):

Gator Bowl: Iowa vs. South Carolina (Jacksonville, FL; 1/2/2015)

* USA Today and NFL.com had not updated their projections to incorporate Week 7 results as of this writing.

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Curiously, despite going 2-0 (and continuing Iowa's conquest of the state of Indiana in 2014), Iowa's bowl future is decidedly less exciting than it was when we checked in a few weeks ago.  Back then, the Holiday Bowl and San Francisco Bowl were leading the pack of projections; now the top projection destination is the Gator Bowl, aka the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, FL.  There's still some support for the Holiday and San Francisco among the projectors, but there's less of it than we saw a few weeks ago.

It's a little curious because I'm not sure what Iowa has done to cause people to lose faith in them (they're fresh off their strongest offensive performance of the season) and their future opponents haven't appeared to markedly improve themselves (although Minnesota and Northwestern have looked good at times).  Perhaps it's just a reflection of the opposition -- beating Purdue and Indiana isn't going to move the needle much.  Iowa will have an opportunity to directly improve its bowl status in the coming weeks -- first against Maryland on Saturday and definitely in November when they take on Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Nebraska.  A good bowl trip is still in Iowa's grasp -- they're just going to have to go out and earn it on the field.