For the fifth time since 2003 the Iowa Hawkeyes are headed to the Outback Bowl. The Hawkeyes will play Florida in the January 2 game in Tampa, Florida. It will be the third time Iowa has played the Gators in the Outback Bowl.
“I guess you would call this the rubber match since we have split in Outback Bowls”, said Iowa athletic director Gary Barta. “They have been great experiences the several times we have been to this bowl.”
It will be Iowa’s 14th trip to a bowl game in 16 years. The Hawkeyes won their final three games to finish 8-4, including victories over second ranked Michigan and number-16 Nebraska.
“I think we kind of learned a little more about ourselves in the month of November”, said Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. “We are probably not the prettiest car on the lot but we can compete a little bit and we are going to have to in this game because these guys are good.”
Iowa’s path to the Outback became clear after four Big Ten teams qualified for “New Years Six” bowls and the Outback chose the Hawkeyes over Nebraska.
“The reason they were selected this year is the way they finished by winning those games at the end”, said Outback Bowl President/CEO Jim McVay. “That made everything just feel right and that is why we took Iowa.”
Florida is 8-4 after losing to Alabama in the SEC Championship game.