An official from the Orange Bowl says the Iowa football team’s last visit to south Florida and the fan following were big reasons behind their selection of the Hawkeyes. Larry Gautier talked with reporters today about the pick of Iowa. He says Iowa was on the radar screen for a long time as they had a very positive experience with the “Hawkeye Nation” back in the 2003 game.
Gautier says Iowa finished with a great ranking and record with lots of exciting close games. He expects the enthusiasm from the regular season to carry over to the fan following at the bowl game. Gautier says there were 47 to 48-thousand Hawkeye fans in Miami for the last game and they expect that many or more for this game. He says Iowa’s opponent, Georgia Tech, will take up their allotment of 20 to 25 thousand tickets. Iowa was in the running for a B-C-S bowl bid along with conference rival Penn State.
Gautier says the decision to take the Hawkeyes was decided by Iowa’s win over the Nitany Lions. Gautier says Penn State was in the conversation, but he says Iowa took care of business with the win at Penn State and are higher ranked. Gautier says there will be some improvements over the last Orange Bowl for the Iowans that attend this game.
Gautier says the stadium has undergone a half-billion dollar renovation, there will be a fanfest on January 4th at Bayfront Park right on Biscayne Bay, and he says it will be a premiere event. The Orange Bowl will be played on January 5th in Land Shark Stadium, which is the home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.