The History: Originally called the Hall of Fame Bowl when it began in 1986, the Outback Bowl became the staple it is today in 1995 when Outback Steakhouse became its official sponsor. The last 22 years the game has been played in Tampa, with the game seeing the Big Ten and SEC squaring off since 2000- the SEC holds an 9-5 edge.
If you’re looking for a reason to watch this game, I offer this to you: This bowl is often home to HUGE hits (we here at tBBC don’t celebrate these, as we don’t want to get flagged for targeting). Here’s two Outback moments that Ohio State fans will absolutely love.
Iowa Scouting Report: The offense starts and stops with running back Mark Weisman, and Iowa’s 41st ranked rushing offense hinges on his success. The passing game, as Ohio State fans know all too well, finds success via their play action game and their ability to use their tight ends effectively. Quarterback Rudock looks for Kevonte Martin-Manley most often, but the junior receiver only has 39 catches on the year… the Hawkeye game is ground and pound.
Defensively, Iowa has been stout and boasts the eleventh rated scoring defense in the country. As a reminder, they held Northern Illinois, MSU, Ohio State, and Wisconsin to just over 29 points… but the rest of their foes were nowhere near that mark. Four pretty solid losses, but losses nonetheless; that’s why they’re in Tampa.
Buckeye Connection: In case you had forgotten Kirk Ferentz’ “Coach Of The Year” trophies come from not losing to Ohio State as bad as he was expected to. That’s pretty much all you need to know about the “rivalry”, although Coach Fry used to be a burr under the Buckeyes’ saddle way back in the day.
LSU Scouting Report: The story of the Tigers’ offense is Zach Mettenburger, who’s tenure at quarterback has provided LSU stability that keeps them from ever feeling that any game was out of their reach. Even in their loss to Alabama, Mettenburger’s play and poise made the outcome up in the air until late in the contest. His 3000+ yards through the air are spread pretty well across the receiver corps, with both Landry and Beckham boasting over 1100 yards each. And the Tigers have another 1100 yard threat- sophomore running back Jeremy Hill has amassed that total throughout SEC play.
Buckeye Connection: The Buckeyes and Tigers have played on a few occassions, although for some reason I can’t remember the last time it happened. I do know that Ohio State beat Les Miles’ Oklahoma State team in the Alamo Bowl… that was awesome.
But Seriously: This will be a matchup of two very divergent coaching styles. B1G Coach Of The Forever Kirk Ferentz (who was robbed this year) is the definition of conservative in both his demeanor and playcalling. And then, there’s Les Miles, who… well…
Prediction: Here’s the way I look at it. Iowa is pretty “none-dimensional” on offense, and while the Tigers always find ways to make games interesting, I’m confident that they can do at least as good of a job playing “tackle Weisman” as Ohio State did in the second half of the game in Columbus. I’m also not confident in Iowa’s ability to keep LSU out of the endzone…. or their ability to match scores.
But please PLEASE let it come down to a special teams opportunity or some game ending clock management.