Throw another Hawkeye on the barbie -- Iowa is headed back to the Outback Bowl.
The matchup is confirmed @HailStateFB is joining @TheIowaHawkeyes at #FootballinParadise on New Years Day for the Outback Bowl 2019! Get your tickets now! https://t.co/7yuJxScDX4 #OutbackBowl #TampaBayTreasure #FootballinParadise pic.twitter.com/ZJEDKwOOSt
— Outback Bowl (@outbackbowl) December 2, 2018
Iowa will face Mississippi State in the Outback Bowl at 11 AM CT on January 1, 2019. ESPN2 will televise the game.
This will be Iowa's third trip to the Outback Bowl in the last six years and their sixth trip overall since 2003. Iowa is 2-3 in their five previous trips, beating Ron Zook-led Florida after the 2003 season, narrowly (and controversially) losing to Urban Meyer-led Florida after the 2005 season, routing Steve Spurrier-led South Carolina after the 2008 season, losing to Les Miles-led LSU after the 2013 season, and most recently getting roasted by Jim McElwain-led Florida after the 2016 season.
So yeah, we do not blame you in the slightest if you're feeling some Outback Bowl fatigue. The other negative: the cowbells. Dear god, the cowbells. Pack your earplugs 'cause KLANGA is comin'.
On the other hand, it is a chance to escape the frigid midwestern winter and go somewhere warm for a long weekend -- regardless of the outcome of the actual Outback Bowl games, few Iowa fans ever come home complaining about a trip to Tampa in late December/early January. Mississippi State is also a fresh opponent; Iowa has never rumbled with the Bulldogs before. It's also an opportunity to beat a ranked opponent -- Mississippi State is ranked 18th in the CFP rankings, the AP Poll, and the Coaches Poll. Iowa went 0-2 in their previous games against ranked teams this year (Wisconsin, Penn State).
Mississippi State went 8-4 this year and 4-4 in the SEC, finishing behind Alabama, Texas A&M, and LSU in the SEC West. The Bulldogs made their bones on defense this year -- they led the nation in scoring defense (12.0 ppg) and were third in total defense (268.4 ypg). Iowa ended the year 11th in scoring defense (17.4 ppg) and 7th in total defense (289.6 ypg). The rock fight possibilities for this game are extremely high.
Oh, and Iowa will once again be #TeamCoconutShrimp in the eternal war between Coconut Shrimp and Blooming Onion. We'll have much more on this game over the next few weeks.