It's official: Iowa-LSU in the Outback, in Tampa, Fla., on New Years' Day.
Winebrenner is all about the Outback now. Here's the website. You'll notice the Tampa Marriott is highly visible.
From Scott Rabalais from The Advocate newspaper in Louisiana:
Breaking: source tells The Advocate #LSU will play Iowa in the Outback Bowl bowl Jan 1 in Tampa.— Scott Rabalais (@RabalaisAdv) December 8, 2013
Here's a link to The Advocate's post.
Finals this week, I believe for the Hawkeyes. I would expect a Dec. 23 departure. Our coverage, as of right now, would begin on Dec. 27.
The SEC seemed to be headed this way:
-- The Florida Times-Union flatly states in his post that Wisconsin and South Carolina will meet in the Capital One Bowl.
Give the Times-Union a gold star.
-- Sources told me this week the Cap One had interest in Iowa. The Cap One has voted on scenarios. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany can shape Big Ten selections.
Big Ten wants to throw punches with SEC this year, maybe this year more than ever.
-- So Texas A&M or LSU for the Outback? Here's Aggie Sports posting on that possibility. (This site has Nebraska vs. A&M in the Outback. Plausible, but I have not heard that scenario this week.) You'd have to think the Outback would take a long look at a team led by Johnny Manziel vs. an LSU without NFL-caliber QB Zach Mettenberger, who suffered a torn ACL in the Tigers' season finale.
Update: LSU beat Texas A&M. That ultimately won the day with the SEC. LSU played in the Peach last year, a bowl below the Outback in SEC pecking order.
Iowa is 8-4 with wins over all of the Florida bowl combatants but the Badgers.
Iowa has sold itself this season as a Florida bowl draw.
“One of the things I’ve been talking about this year is that we haven’t been to Florida in four years,” Iowa athletics director Gary Barta said Thursday. “Our fan base is excited because the program is on the up rather than the down. Our fans have historically used this as a vacation. That’s still true. And the fact that we haven’t been to Florida in a few years may add to our ability to get people excited and move tickets.”
Iowa’s fate was tied to whether or not the Big Ten put two teams in BCS bowls. With Michigan State's victory over Ohio State on Saturday night in the Big Ten title game, that's a cinch. MSU will go to the Rose Bowl; Ohio State will go to a BCS bowl.
Iowa’s last appearance in the Outback was 2009. Iowa hasn’t been to the Capital One Bowl, Orlando, Fla., on New Year’s Day, since 2005. Iowa’s last appearance in the Gator Bowl (Jacksonville, Fla., on New Year’s Day) was 1983.
When asked Thursday, Barta said there was logic to Iowa in the Outback.
“I’m not counting anybody out,” Barta said. “The most commonly discussed in public opinion is the Outback and the Gator. If we go anywhere in Florida, if we go to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, we’ll be thrilled.”
Outback is a noon kickoff on ESPN.
Here's a link to the Outback site.
Of course, Iowa and LSU have met before. I just can't quite place it.