Which teams can help the Hawkeyes reach a New Year’s Six bowl game? – The Athletic

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Sitting at No. 16 (and really No. 17) in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, there’s not much Iowa can do by itself to reach a New Year’s Six bowl.

Nothing happens, of course, without the Hawkeyes (9-2, 6-2) beating Nebraska (3-8, 1-7). And if Wisconsin loses to Minnesota, this whole scenario vaporizes like a bad rumor. But around the Heroes Game on Friday, several other games on Thursday and Saturday play into the program’s quest toward either the Fiesta or Peach bowls.

Here’s a New Year’s Six rooting guide for Iowa fans entering Thanksgiving:

Six bowls and who makes them

Six leagues gain automatic entry in the New Year’s Six: ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC and the top champion from a Group of 5 conference. The remaining six slots are filled based on previously agreed upon bowl arrangements and at-large selections.

The Orange, Cotton, Rose, Sugar, Fiesta and Peach bowls comprise the New Year’s Six. The Orange and Cotton are College Football Playoff bowls reserved for the nation’s top four teams. The Big Ten and Pac-12 champions head to the Rose Bowl, unless one of their champions qualifies for the CFP. Then the league’s highest-ranked non-champion goes to Pasadena. The same scenario exists for the Sugar Bowl with the Southeastern and Big 12 conferences.

The College Football Playoff committee ranks the top 25 teams, which determines the playoff participants and helps determine which teams qualify for New Year’s Six bowl games.

Likely participants

Beyond the six conference champions, it’s almost assured the SEC and Big Ten runners-up qualify for the New Year’s Six, along with Notre Dame. A third team from both the SEC and Big Ten, a second Big 12 squad plus Cincinnati (if not a conference champion) seem a strong possibility.

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