With Iowa's regular season completed, Brad Banks spent Saturday afternoon at home in Belle Glade, Fla., watching college football games on television over Thanksgiving break, according to the Des Moines Register.
It might have been the only time this season the Hawkeyes' wonderful quarterback was unable to deliver a victory.
With Oklahoma being upset and Southern California whipping Notre Dame, Iowa is perilously close to seeing its season end not in the Rose Bowl, but in the land of Mickey Mouse. Instead of a berth in the Rose Bowl, Iowa seems likely to need help if it wants to avoid the Capital One Bowl, formerly known as the Citrus Bowl, in Orlando.
It is difficult to comprehend how the Hawkeyes (11-1, 8-0 Big Ten), who shared the Big Ten title with Fiesta Bowl-bound Ohio State, can fail to earn a spot in the Bowl Championship Series, particularly because they are only one bad mid-September quarter away from being 12-0.
But that's exactly what could happen in light of Saturday night's developments.
With its regular season-ending 44-13 victory, Southern California (10-2) is expected to jump over Iowa and into fourth place -- behind Miami, Ohio State and Georgia -- when the latest Bowl Championship Series rankings are revealed tonight. The Trojans, who have played the nation's most difficult schedule, beat Colorado, Auburn and Notre Dame and lost by a touchdown at Kansas State.
If the standings hold out -- they could change dramatically Saturday with an upset in any of the Virginia Tech-Miami, Washington State-UCLA or Georgia-Arkansas games -- it would be Miami vs. Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, while Georgia would be third, assuming it beats Arkansas in Saturday's Southeastern Conference title game.
Six of the eight BCS berths go to the champions of the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, SEC and Pacific 10. That leaves two at-large berths.
BCS rules state that if the top team not receiving an automatic berth finishes third or fourth in the final ratings, it also is guaranteed a BCS slot. Washington State, not USC, will earn the Pac-10's automatic berth if it beats UCLA on Saturday, meaning the Trojans could earn one of the two at-large spots by finishing fourth in the final BCS rankings.
That would leave the BCS bowls to pick between Iowa and Notre Dame for the other at-large spot.
Iowa has a great record, a Heisman Trophy hopeful in Banks and a large, devoted fan base. Iowa is 11-1 and ranked third in both the Associated Press media and USA Today/ESPN coaches polls.
Notre Dame (10-2) is coming off a 31-point loss. With a chance to play for the national title, the Fighting Irish went 2-2 in November, its wins over Navy and Rutgers, which are a combined 2-21.
Guess which team the Orange Bowl might take? Think the folks at ABC, which owns the television rights to the four BCS games, might prefer Notre Dame over Iowa in the Jan. 2 prime time slot?
"I think everybody understands" the drawing power of Notre Dame, Rose Bowl executive director Mitch Dorger said, noting that he has no knowledge of what the Orange Bowl might do and that the Rose Bowl would prefer to select Iowa and maintain its tie with the Big Ten.
"That is well known that they are a big pull and they'll command a national TV audience and they won't have a problem selling their share of tickets. Any bowl that is considering Notre Dame understands the potential benefits of having them."
There are also major financial implications. If it plays in a BCS game, Notre Dame will receive $13.8 million that otherwise would go to the six primary BCS conferences to split among their members. For the Irish, that's a lot better than the $1.7 million payout for playing in the Gator Bowl, likely their alternative.
Of course, if UCLA beats Washington State, things become simple, with USC meeting Iowa in the Rose Bowl, Florida State and Georgia in the Sugar Bowl and Notre Dame playing the Big 12 champion in the Orange Bowl.
Or, if Miami loses, the Rose Bowl would get first pick of at-large teams and select Iowa, leaving the Orange Bowl with the possibility of a Miami-USC game. If Georgia loses, USC's chances of being an at-large selection could come down to whether the Bulldogs drop behind the Trojans and the Hawkeyes in the polls and computer rankings.
Busy Week for Seminoles
What a week at Florida State. Former quarterback Adrian McPherson is booted off the team and charged with felony grand theft for his alleged role in cashing a stolen check.
Then Chris Rix returns to the starting job, rushes for 83 yards and throws two touchdown passes to Anquan Boldin to lead the Seminoles to a 31-14 victory over Florida on Saturday night. The Gators have not won in Tallahassee since 1986. . . .
DonTrell Moore rushed for 176 yards and three touchdowns and caught two touchdown passes as New Mexico became bowl-eligible for just the second time in 41 seasons by beating Wyoming, 49-20.
The Lobos (7-6) are expected to play in the Las Vegas or San Francisco bowl. . . .
Toledo beat Bowling Green, 42-24, to win the Mid-American Conference West Division and earn a spot in the Motor City Bowl.