The Iowa Hawkeyes will be making their fourth trip to Tampa, Florida when they play LSU  in the Outback Bowl on New Years Day. It will be their first appearance in the Outback since posting a lopsided win over South Carolina following the 2008 season. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz and LSU coach Les Miles talked with the media today in a conference call.

Ferentz says the Outback committee does a great job of taking care of the players involved in  the bowl. Fourteenth ranked LSU is 9-3 and this will be the Tigers first visit to Tampa in 25 years. “I think our guys, our players are certainly looking forward to seeing Tampa. We have a number of guys on our team from Florida who will enjoy families just coming down the road to see them, so it’s a great location for us, Miles says.

Miles took over the Tiger program just days after the Hawkeyes edged LSU 30-25 in the 2005 Capitol One Bowl. “Iowa is a tremendous defensive team, a team that can run the football, has balance, can throw it as well. It’s no surprise they are on a hot streak to the end of the season and we are going to have to play well to do the things we want to do in that game,” Miles says.

Ferentz says LSU will offer a difficult challenge for his team. “They are always good on defense, very talented, well coach, the same offensively,” Ferentz says. He says it’s a “real misfortune” for their quarterback that he was lost to an injury. Ferentz says the fact that LSU is the only team that beat Auburn is a good testament to what they will face.

Miles says the Tigers have made big strides since the start of the season and credits their veteran players. Quarteback Zach Mettenberger suffered a season ending knee injury in the season finale against Arkansas and freshman Anthony Jennings led them on a game winning drive. Jennings only attempted 10 passes all season and it will be a difficult preparation for the Hawkeyes.

Iowa is 8-4.