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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

All Signs Point to Tampa

Hawkeye fans have been on bowl watch ever since Oregon State’s home loss to rival Oregon on Saturday night. That loss all but ended the Beavers’ chances of landing in the Rose Bowl and likely opened up the last BCS At-Large selection for Ohio State. Then with the Buckeyes headed to either the Sugar Bowl or Fiesta Bowl, every other Big Ten team gets moved up a slot on the bowl list. Michigan State will head to the Capital One, and the Outback Bowl would have their pick between Iowa and Northwestern. Of course there are games left to be played in other conferences, Iowa fans should root for USC to avoid an upset against rival UCLA, and BCS Bowls will not officially release their selections until Sunday night. Hawkeye fans will probably have to wait until Sunday for any official news on their bowl destination, but at this point all signs point towards Tampa.
  • Self-proclaimed “Mr. College Football” Tony Barnhart of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has been on the phone gathering all the latest ACC and SEC “Bowl Buzz”. He projects Iowa and South Carolina will meet in the Outback Bowl, with Ole Miss another opportunity to represent the SEC.
  • Cedar Rapids Gazette columnist Mike Hlas and the Tampa Tribune believe Iowa will play Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks in the Outback Bowl.
  • 620 WDAE-AM in Tampa reported this morning that the Outback Bowl will select Iowa out of the Big Ten and South Carolina from the SEC.
  • And finally, Lindsey Willhite, sports writer for Chicago’s Daily Herald, reports that Norhtwestern is starting to prepare for their bowl game. They will reveal the Wildcat’s bowl destination on Sunday afternoon, but most folks in Evanston believe the Alamo Bowl is the clear frontrunner.

Keep in mind that nothing official has been released by the Outback Bowl or Iowa, but the “buzz” is getting louder and it certainly seems like the Hawkeyes will be spending New Years Day in Tampa. Things could change from now to Sunday, but I’d put Iowa’s chances of playing in this year’s Outback Bowl at about 99-percent.