Posted by: marcmwm | December 6, 2008

Bowl update

IOWA CITY — Although University of Iowa officials still can’t make an official announcement regarding the football team’s bowl destination, it appears the Hawkeyes are headed to the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day in Tampa, Fla.

“There’s a very good chance we’ll have the opportunity to go to the Outback,” Iowa athletics Gary Barta said Saturday night.

But . . .

The Capital One Bowl still has to make its final decision and it can’t do that until Ohio State officially gets picked for a Bowl Championship Series Bowl game. Projections from everywhere have the Buckeyes (10-2) against Texas in the Fiesta Bowl.

So, nothing’s official, but . . .

“Everybody else is hearing that there’s a good chance Michigan State gets picked by the Capital One,” Barta said. “There’s a good chance then we would go to the Outback and then Northwestern goes to the Alamo.”

But . . .

“That could change tomorrow,” Barta said. “These bowl boards are meeting and, if for some reason they have a change of mind, they are capable of doing that.”

Barta has been in conversations with the Outback Bowl. The bowl’s question have been “how many fans would come” and “are your fans excited to come to Tampa?”

But . . .

“I get that same question from Orland0 (Capital One Bowl),” Barta said. “I get that from San Antonio (Alamo Bowl), too.”

This would be Iowa’s third trip to the Outback Bowl. The Hawkeyes have split a pair of matchups with Florida (2004 and 2006). In 2006, the UI sold 16,000 tickets out of its offices.

The Outback hasn’t told Barta that it will pick the Hawkeyes if they’re available on the Outback’s turn, which comes after the Capital One.

“They’ve said they’re very interested, but they aren’t able to make their official offer and I understand that,” Barta said.

 Iowa hasn’t made any official ticket commitments, something that really can’t happen in the Big Ten with revenue sharing.

 “We ‘re not going to guarantee this many,” Barta said. “Certainly, we talk about how many fans we think will come and how many (tickets) we think we can sell. We don’t get a lot on if our fans will come, because they (bowls) know they will. That includes the Capital One, the Outback and Alamo. They all know we’ll bring a lot of fans.”

There has been some Iowa vs. Northwestern during this bowl season.

Iowa is 8-4 and lost to the Wildcats, 22-17, at Kinnick Stadium this season. Northwestern is 9-3 and has been making noise that it deserves to be picked ahead of the Hawkeyes. Northwestern is ranked No. 24; Iowa is knocking on the door at No. 26.

“They have the argument that they’re ranked ahead of us and beat us head-to-head,” Barta said. “We had the argument that we won five of our last six games. We beat Penn State, ranked No. 3 at the time. We finished very strongly. We have Shonn Greene, arguable the best running back in America.

“We both have arguments that we’re relating to the bowls. The bowls will pick whoever they think is the best pick.”

Iowa is likely looking at a matchup with 7-5 South Carolina and coach Steve Spurrier, who, according to published reports, is tight with several Outback committee members.

Barta said he’ll find out sometime today. A news conference is scheduled in Iowa City for 6 p.m.

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