Music City Bowl president: Iowa among 3 Big Ten teams under consideration

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa never has appeared in the Music City Bowl’s 20-year history, but it’s a possibility the Hawkeyes could participate in the Nashville-based bowl this year.

Scott Ramsey, the Music City Bowl’s president and chief executive officer, said Iowa is among three Big Ten teams the bowl is considering for its Dec. 29 game against an Southeastern Conference team.

“I think from our standpoint we’re kind of circling Northwestern, Iowa and Purdue in some combination,” Ramsey told Land of 10. “We might have a couple of those to pick from, and we’re kind of going through our due diligence and process and certainly very excited about the possibility of Iowa being in that mix.”

Among the Big Ten’s bowl process, the Music City Bowl officially selects after the Holiday Bowl. At 9-3, Northwestern has a two-game edge on Iowa (7-5) and three games on Purdue (6-6) and beat both teams in their games. But maneuvering within the bowl structure is possible to generate the best matchup for each bowl.

“We haven’t met as a group yet to kind of formally say [best record prevails] yet,” Ramsey said. “But traditionally, head-to-head, that’s traditionally been one factor, but it’s not the only factor. There’s a lot of scenarios where we might have the Iowa-Purdue decision or Iowa might go ahead of us and not be available to us. So there’s a lot of things to play out here. But we think in some combination of those three, we think maybe two of those three are available for us to choose from.”

Ramsey — like all bowl directors — prefers to avoid rematches from either the regular season or recent bowls. This year, Purdue played Missouri, which is under consideration by the Music City Bowl, as well as Louisville, which could face a Big Ten team in the Pinstripe Bowl. Neither Iowa nor Northwestern played an SEC opponent in non-conference play. Among SEC teams in bowl action, the Hawkeyes faced Florida and Tennessee within the last three bowl trips, but neither qualified for the postseason. Northwestern also played Tennessee two years ago in the Outback Bowl.

“We try not to repeat teams within about a three-year window as best we can,” Ramsey said. “I would say Kentucky is really high on our list right now. The other teams that could be in our pool — we recently had Texas A&M two years ago, Missouri just played Vanderbilt here two weeks ago. Mississippi State we had three or four years ago and possibly South Carolina could be in our mix as well. We had LSU three years ago. They could be, but I feel like they’re going to be above the pool a little bit. Everybody’s looking for matchups.”

The Music City Bowl could get a boost from any of the fan bases driving to the game. Purdue’s campus is located about 5 hours, 30 minutes from Nashville, while Iowa City is about 9 hours away. Depending on Chicagoland traffic, Northwestern is somewhere between 7 and 9 hours away.

The potential for a drive is enticing to Iowa fans, who normally fly to most destinations. Iowa athletics director Gary Barta said Friday the Music City Bowl seems to top the list for most fans.

“I don’t think I have to do a lot of research to tell you that most of our fans want to go to Nashville first,” Barta said last week. “I’ve shared that with the Big Ten.”

The Music City Bowl was affiliated with the Big Ten from 2002 through 2005. Minnesota participated in three of those seasons, while Wisconsin was there for the other one.

“We’d be excited if we had the opportunity to consider Iowa,” Ramsey said. “We always thought at some point in time they were going to be a great fit. We were with the Big Ten in the mid-2000s and just missed out the opportunity to have them.

“I’ve been here all 20 years of games; this is our 20th anniversary. The city certainly has changed quite a bit, and it’s a fun destination. We’ve enjoyed hosting fan bases that we’ve never had before. So we look forward to having the Hawkeye fans here, whether it’s this year or in the future, and I’m sure they’ll enjoy our city.”

The post Music City Bowl president: Iowa among 3 Big Ten teams under consideration appeared first on Land of 10.

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