Gary Barta talks football disappointment, bowl scenarios

Chad Leistikow

IOWA CITY, Ia. – The day after Iowa lost to Nebraska in overtime to finish a 7-5 football regular season, Gary Barta didn't sugar-coat his feelings.

"Really disappointed for our seniors," the man in charge of Hawkeye athletics said prior to Saturday's basketball game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

"It was a week ago we were in contention for the Big Ten championship."

Back-to-back home losses to Wisconsin and Nebraska, by a combined five points, soured the Hawkeyes' season. Whether there will be football staffing changes hasn't been discussed, Barta said.

"The emotions are still raw. We'll have time to evaluate, how do we go from here?" Barta said. "I love the team we have coming back (in 2015). We still have a bowl game to play. Then we'll break down the rest of it."

Hawkeye coach Kirk Ferentz talks to an official during the fourth quarter of a 37-34 loss to Nebraska on Friday.

Barta spoke with Iowa 16th-year head coach Kirk Ferentz after the loss. Ferentz said Friday he would not assess big-picture questions until after Iowa's bowl game.

"Right now, he's in the same mode. He's not ready to break down the season," Barta said. "We're going to find out what bowl we're going to. We're recruiting (this week). … Then when it's all done, that's when we'll break down, where did we need to improve offensively? All that will happen after the season."

Iowa will learn its bowl fate Dec. 7. Under a new Big Ten arrangement this year, there are at least five possibilities for the Hawkeyes.

The most likely scenarios would put Iowa in one of three bowls: The Dec. 30 Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn., vs. an SEC opponent; the Dec. 30 Foster Farms Bowl in Santa Clara, Calif.., vs. a Pacific-12 opponent; or the Jan. 2 Taxslayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., vs. an SEC opponent. Barta also mentioned the Dec. 27 Holiday Bowl in San Diego, Calif., and the Dec. 27 Pinstripe Bowl in The Bronx, N.Y. as possibilities.

"I think San Francisco would be terrific. I think San Diego would be terrific. Going out West, we haven't gone out West for a bowl for a while, I think that has a lot of merit," Barta said. "If it did end up being Nashville, it is drivable for our fans. We'll see."