Yesterday, the official college football bowl pairings were announced, and among them were the Outback Bowl’s selections. This year, the annual tilt in Tampa, Florida pits the SEC East champion Florida Gators — with an impressive final record of 8-4 — against the Iowa Hawkeyes, who finished the season with an underwhelming tally of 8 wins and 4 losses.
While this matchup may seem lopsided in favor of the Gators, Outback Bowl President and CEO, Jim McVay, couldn’t be happier for the Florida-Iowa matchup.
“Our goal for bowl selections this year was pretty simple: get Florida, then get a team that Florida would have no trouble kicking all over the field,” said McVay. “We couldn’t punt on the opportunity for one of our flagship in-state programs to put up big points in front of their home fans against a cupcake like Iowa.”
When asked why he thought the Hawkeyes were the best chance for the Gators to get a big win, McVay cited some cold hard facts.
“We wanted a team with recent experience in getting beat in January bowl games, and no one takes pride in getting beat in January bowl games like Iowa. Last year, they got creamed in the Rose Bowl 45-16 on January 1. Just two years ago, they were in our beloved Outback Bowl — on January 1 — and put on a great audition, getting beat by LSU 21-14. It’s our hope they perform the same way this year as they did in the 1982 Rose Bowl, when they got beat 28-0 by Washington on, you guessed it, January 1.”
“Altogether, Iowa has been outscored 142-72 in their last four bowl games, they’ve been outscored 312-281 in bowl games under Kirk Ferentz, and they’ve been outscored 685-675 in their program’s entire bowl history. Trends like these lead us to believe Florida will have no problems outscoring the Hawkeyes in this year’s Outback Bowl.”
The ticket manager of the Outback Bowl, Linda Karpovich, expressed her elation with the selection of this year’s teams.
“We’ve got Florida, a school that’s just a 2-hour drive away from Tampa, and Iowa, a team that always has fans that travel well even though they haven’t won a bowl game since the 2010 Insight Bowl,” said Karpovich. “Hell, even Iowa State’s last bowl victory was the Insight Bowl. When your most recent bowl victory is the same bowl game the Cyclones last won, you’re doing something wrong. Whatever though, as long as they buy tickets, they can sit in the stands and tweet ‘Which bowl is Iowa State in again?’ when they’re getting beat by 30 all they want.”
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, who was the leader of the Florida team that beat Iowa 31-24 in the 2006 Outback Bowl, also offered a few comments on this year’s matchup.
“They were pretty easy to beat. Ever since my Florida team beat them so badly in 2006, they’ve been afraid to play any team I’ve coached. How else can you explain Iowa only playing us in one of the five seasons I’ve been head coach at Ohio State? We took them down in 2013 and they’ve been scared ever since. I hope Florida puts up 100 on those cowards.”
WRNL is looking forward to seeing which group of fans can complete the “Gator Chomp” most effectively during the Outback Bowl television coverage, since we’ll be at home watching from our couches just like the Cyclones (got you covered, Hawk fans). Our guess is Florida fans will be better at it, because they root for the Gators and all.
But don’t worry Iowa fans, at least there’s always basketball season for you to work on those Gator chomps.
FINAL SCORE: Iowa 89, Omaha 98— Iowa Basketball (@IowaHoops) December 3, 2016
You can catch the Outback Bowl on January 2, 2017 at noon on ABC. We hope you enjoyed this article from the best Iowa Hawkeye SB Nation site, Wide Right & Natty Lite.