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On Wednesday, it was announced when the individual games of the College Football Playoffs will take place in the first season with an expanded field of 12 teams.

As we know, the first four games will be played on university campuses. The first of these games will take place on Friday, December 20, while the other three will take place on the following Saturday.

Now that we know the game plan, the question is: What are the chances that the Iowa Hawkeyes will host or participate in any of these first four games?

The Hawkeyes are one of the few teams with a realistic chance of making the College Football Playoff. While Iowa isn’t exactly a favorite to win the Big Ten, especially without divisional help, the Hawkeyes have a favorable schedule, with Ohio State being by far the toughest task.

ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) agrees, predicting Iowa will have the second-easiest schedule in the Big Ten. Still, FPI gives the Hawkeyes just a 7% chance of winning six or more games, with a projected score of 7-5.

FPI also gives us some insight into Iowa’s chances of making the College Football Playoff. The data gives the Hawkeyes a 7.4 percent chance of finishing in the top 12 in December, the sixth-best chance in the conference.

Given Iowa’s poor offensive performance in 2023, it’s easy to see why the data is so heavily against the Hawkeyes.

The betting books aren’t particularly favorable either. FanDuel currently has Iowa’s odds for reaching the College Football Playoffs at +680, the sixth-worst of the seven teams with any odds at all, with only Washington being better.

Even though the odds are slim, there is a chance for Iowa to get 10+ wins. The toughest games outside of Ohio State are Washington, Wisconsin, and Iowa State. As long as Iowa stays healthy and plays against weaker teams, they will be able to compete towards the end of the season.

While even an 11-1 season doesn’t guarantee a playoff spot (especially when both the Big 12 and SEC have strong wild-card contenders), any team with at least 10 wins could be in the running to host or at least reach one of those four games.


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