Thousands of Iowans rang in the New Year in South Florida as they prepare to watch the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Orange Bowl tomorrow. Estimates range from 40,000 to 50,000 Iowans have ventured to the Sunshine State for the game. Lyle Hog of Clear Lake says there’s black and gold everywhere. “It’s crazy,” he says. “It’s just hundreds of people.” Bob Burton is a transplanted Iowan who is feeling like he’s back home. “I’m from Cedar Rapids originally, but I’ve been down here for about 12 years,” Burton says. “It’s finally of nice to see a lot of black and gold down here. It’s changed the atmosphere for the better.” Burton’s not surprised by the huge number of Iowans who’ve traveled to Miami. “I’ve seen the loyalty since I was a kid. I’ve learned this kind of loyalty,” he says. Eleven-year-old Michael Vernon wore an Iowa jersey with Brad Bank’s number seven on the front and predicts Iowa will win, 30-27. Many Iowans went to downtown Miami to watch a giant Orange, Florida’s answer to the Times Square ball, drop down the side of a bank signalling the start of the New Year.
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