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Potential Indiana bowl game destinations, ranked


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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

As I'm sure you know, Indiana is going bowling in football for the first time in eight years. One of the many awesome side effects of getting a bowl berth is that, for the next week, we as fans get to discuss where IU might be playing around the holidays this year.

Now, with a 6-6 record, it's pretty clear that the Hoosiers won't be the team you're watching while you cure that New Year's Day hangover. But, there are plenty of other terrific options for where the Hoosiers might end up! And yesterday, the university gave fans a chance to buy tickets at one of seven potential bowl game locations. So, in true Crimson Quarry fashion, I'm going to do a POWER RANKINGS, based on desirability of the location, potential of the opponent, and chance that Indiana would actually go there. Here we go:

1. NASHVILLE (Music City Bowl)

Location: 10

Opponent potential: 10

Chance of IU landing there: 7

Without question, a Music City Bowl berth would be a home run for Hoosier fans. Nashville is an easy drive down I-65 from Indiana, and the game is the day before New Year's, which would give IU fans a fun atmosphere for the game. In addition, this game would give the Hoosiers a chance to knock off another top SEC team (Ole MIss and LSU have played in the bowl the past two years). This bowl and the TaxSlayer Bowl (see below) are supposed to rotate between ACC and B1G opponents each season, and considering that a B1G team got a TaxSlayer bid last year, it's likely that the conference will get a team in Nashville this year.

2. NEW YORK CITY (Pinstripe Bowl)

Location: 10

Opponent potential: 7

Chance of IU landing there: 9

My personal preference for where IU ends up, and one that seems to be dominating the bowl projections as of late, including Jason Kirk's here at SBN. NYC may often be cold around Christmas, but it's always a great city to visit, and regardless of your feelings on the New York Yankees, a football game in Yankee Stadium might be pretty fun to watch. IU has a strong alumni base in NYC, which could represent the Hoosiers well there, and since the bowl chose Penn State last season, they might want to go with a different team for this year's game. The ACC opponent may not create as exciting of a matchup as with a team from another conference, but the possibility of a game against Louisville would give it some fun regional ties.

3. SAN DIEGO (Holiday Bowl)

Location: 8

Opponent potential: 9

Chance of IU landing there: 3

Average high temperature in San Diego in December is 65 degrees. Compare that to Bloomington - where it's 41. So while it's far away for many IU fans, San Diego would be a nice vacation destination around Christmastime. In addition, IU would potentially get a very good Pac-12 team (maybe USC or Oregon?) as an opponent. That being said, the Holiday Bowl is probably a reach for the Hoosiers, as several B1G teams will still be ahead of IU in the pecking order, even if the conference gets representatives in the CFP, Rose Bowl, and an at-large New Year's Six game.

4. SANTA CLARA (Foster Farms Bowl)

Location: 6

Opponent potential: 7

Chance of IU landing there: 5

Despite being in the Bay Area, this game gets points docked for location because it's way out in Santa Clara, which is near nothing in the region, and the field conditions of Levi's Stadium have often been criticized. Still, you could bookend a few days in San Francisco around the game, which is never a bad idea. In addition, this bowl could provide a Pac-12 opponent that like us has a potent offense and a not-so-good defense, so the potential for a ton of points would be there against teams like Washington State, Cal, Arizona, or Arizona State.

5. JACKSONVILLE (TaxSlayer Bowl)

Location: 4

Opponent potential: 6

Chance of IU landing there: 2

Not looking likely, as the TaxSlayer Bowl took a B1G team last year and is supposed to rotate with the Music City Bowl.

Also, it's in Jacksonville, or as the natives call it:


6. FORT WORTH (Armed Forces Bowl)

Location: 5

Opponent potential: 2

Chance of IU landing there: 2

Also not a likely option, as there should be enough other available tie-ins that the Hoosiers will bypass this bowl. And while the Mountain West opponent may not provide the same spark as others, you could at least spend the rest of the trip eating good BBQ in the Metroplex and making fun of Jerry Jones for his terrible football team.

100,000. DETROIT (Quick Lane Bowl)

Location: 1

Opponent potential: 3

Chance of IU landing there: 1

No no no no no.

I know I should be grateful that Indiana gets to at least go somewhere for a bowl game, but this Detroit bowl game has never sounded very appealing. And luckily, like Fort Worth, the Hoosiers should be far enough ahead in the order that this game won't be an option. I get that it might be an easier drive than some of these places but... come on now.