The Iowa Hawkeyes, a year removed from one of their worst seasons under head coach Kirk Ferentz, are headed for a New Year’s Day bowl game against a quality opponent from the SEC. The venue is a familiar one for Iowa, while the opponent is not.
This will be the fourth time under Ferentz that the Hawkeyes have accepted an invitation to play in the Outback Bowl. The last time was in 2008, a 31-10 victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks. The other two appearances, a 31-24 loss in 2006 and a 31-17 win in 2004, were both played against the Florida Gators. This will be the first time that Iowa will meet the LSU Tigers in the Outback Bowl, but not the first time these two schools have met in postseason play.
The Hawkeyes and the Tigers met for the first time in the 2005 Alamo Bowl, which Iowa won by a score of 30-25 on a last-second pass play. That game still marks the only meeting between the two schools until now. The Tigers’ history in the Outback Bowl is even shorter than the Hawkeyes’.
The only other time LSU has appeared in the Outback Bowl was back in 1988, the third time the bowl game was played. The Tigers lost 23-10 to Syracuse. LSU does have a moderate amount of experience against Big 10 foes in bowl games, however. In six previous bowl games against Big 10 teams, the Tigers are 2-4.
Iowa’s bowl game history against SEC teams is similarly sparse but with better results. The Hawkeyes have faced SEC opponents in bowl games five times, winning three of those contests.
In the 2014 Outback Bowl, either the Hawkeyes will continue their bowl success against SEC teams, or LSU will get closer to establishing a winning tradition in the game. Whichever school takes home a victory will also take with them the money and momentum of a New Year’s Day bowl game win.