The Rose Bowl usually features the champion of the Big Ten taking on the Pac-12 champion. This year, however, that may not be the case.
If the Big Ten champion ends up in the College Football Playoff, the Rose Bowl doesn’t have to invite the loser to the game. Instead, they are allowed to select a representative from the conference to replace the champion.
With this method, the Rose Bowl could select the Ohio State Buckeyes ahead of the loser of the game. If that loser happens to be Iowa, then the Hawkeyes may be shafted out of appearing in the game despite their only loss coming in the championship game. Michigan State, on the other hand, would have two losses if defeated by Iowa. Because of this, the Buckeyes could surpass them at 11-1.
Rose Bowl management committee chairman Scott Jenkins spoke with ESPN about the process, and stated that the presumption is the second-highest ranked Big Ten team will be the team appearing in the Rose Bowl. If it’s Iowa, then Iowa would appear. However, Jenkins did mention “extraordinary situations” that would change that process.
“Let’s say Wisconsin was the next-highest-ranked team, but right next to Wisconsin was Minnesota,” Jenkins stated. “That would be a situation where everybody agreed we could jump Wisconsin to take Minnesota. We use that as an example of an extraordinary circumstance. What we found is when schools come in multiple years, the first year they come, people are really excited and come out in droves and have a wonderful time. The second year, people are excited but fewer people come out, they buy less merchandise, and by the third year, there’s a substantial drop-off.
“In that circumstance, everybody agreed for the betterment of the game we should have the ability to jump a team like that.”
Basically, it’s confirmed that, like everything else, the decision really comes down to money.
Will the team coming in have a following or help sell merchandise? If so, then they are likely to get the gig. With the game being huge for the Hawkeyes, it would be silly to not see them in the game.