The Iowa Hawkeyes are headed back to the Orange Bowl. The Hawkeyes accepted an invitation to play in the January fifth game against A-C-C champion Georgia Tech. The Hawkeyes finished the season with a record of 10-2 and the path to Miami was cleared when the Fiesta Bowl opted for a matchup of unbeatens between Texas Christian and Boise State.
Iowa athletics director Gary Barta says the goal every season is to go as far as you can, including the national championship, but he says if you would have told him at the beginning of the season they would be going to the Orange Bowl, he would have been thrilled.
This is Iowa’s second trip to a B-C-S Bowl. Barta says when you think about the number of teams that start out with the goal of a BCS bid, he says he is proud of the team and athletes and says it is “tremendous.” Barta says the matchup with Georgia Tech was one of a number of possibilities that existed a week ago.
As the week narrowed down, he says it came to 3 or 4 scenarios and this was one that he thought was a possibility. Iowa’s only other BCS appearance was a trip to the 2003 Orange Bowl that ended with a 38-17 loss to USC.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says they are thrilled to be going to South Florida. He says the last trip to the Orange Bowl was their worst bowl performance, and they hope to improve on that. He says the players deserve a trip to the Orange Bowl after such a successful season. He says the staff did a tremendous job and he says the fan support is a big reason that they were able to go.
Ferentz says he was hopeful of going to a B-C-S bowl but he was never confident. He says you never know how it is going to go, because there is not an exact science to it. He says whatever happened they knew they would go to a good bowl.
Iowa is ranked tenth while 11-2 Georgia Tech is ninth. The Yellow Jackets beat Clemson on Saturday night in the A-C-C title game.