For the fourth consecutive year the Iowa Hawkeyes will be playing a January bowl in Florida. The Hawkeyes accepted an invitation to play Florida in the January second Outback Bowl in Tampa. The Outback Bowl could have taken Michigan but decided to invite the Hawkeyes even though they lost to the Wolverines.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says they “thrilled to death” to be able to play in January against a team like Florida. It will be a rematch of the 2004 Outback Bowl won by the Hawkeyes 37-17. Ferentz says the people at the Outback Bowl were great two years ago and he says they look for a tough game against Florida.
Ferentz says Iowa’s large fan following may have been the most important factor in them being chosen over Michigan and Ferentz expects another large contingent in Florida. Ferentz says he doesn’t think the Iowa fans get tired of traveling. He says everyone had such a great time the last time they went to Tampa and he says he expects great back and support this time.
Iowa athletic director Bob Bowlsby received the call from the Outback Bowl while sitting on press row during an Iowa women’s basketball game from the executive director of the bowl and got the invitation. Bowlsby says he almost go off the phone without asking who they were playing.
Bowlsby says Iowa’s fan base may have been the deciding factor. Bowlsby says there’s no other way to say it, but that’s why Iowa was chosen over Michigan because of the fans. He says a few years ago Iowa was passed over at 8-3 for the Outback Bowl for Michigan, but Bowlsby says that wasn’t the case this time. The Hawks finished the regular season 7-4 and will be looking for their third straight January bowl victory.
The Houston Bowl finally got the team they wanted last year. Iowa State accepted a bid to play in the December 31st game against T-C-U. Coach Dan McCarney says they’ve wanted his team for two years. I-S-U appeared headed to Houston a year ago before the Independence Bowl snagged the Cyclones.
After a 7-4 regular season McCarney is happy they have another game to play. McCarney says this is one of the best group of kids, coaches and families he’s ever been around, and he says he’s really excited about the trip.
The Cyclones will leave for Houston on the 27th. He says they’ll get two practices this weekend, with 11 total in Ames and four down in Houston. McCarney says the fans are excited about going to Houston.
TCU is 10-1.