From 1986 to 1994, the Outback Bowl was known as the Hall of Fame Bowl before Outback Steakhouse became the game's title sponsor in 1995. With some minor variation over the years, the Outback Bowl typically pits some of the best teams from the SEC and Big Ten against each other. As you probably recall, last year's Outback Bowl featured Jadeveon Clowney's famous tackle of Vincent Smith that resulted in Smith losing his helmet and Clowney acquiring himself a football.
Date and time, ET: Wednesday, Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET
TV channel: ESPN
Location: Tampa, Fla.
Stadium: Raymond James Stadium (capacity: 65,657)
Tickets: Find available seats here.
Last year's score: South Carolina 33, Michigan 28
Last year's attendance: 54,527
Last year's TV rating: 4.3 share (7 million viewers)
Last year's payout for each school: $3.6 million
Team with the most all-time appearances: Georgia and Michigan are tied with five appearances each.
Team with the most all-time wins: Georgia, Michigan, Penn State and South Carolina are in a four-way tie with three Outback Bowl wins apiece
LSU (9-3, 5-3 SEC)
After losing 10 players to early departures for the NFL Draft, a 9-3 regular season was well within the range of expectations for the 2013 LSU Tigers. The only real surprise in Baton Rouge was that it was the Tigers’ offense -- not the defense -- leading the way. Although he will not be available for the bowl game, Zach Mettenberger built upon the flashes of excellence that he displayed in 2012 with a 3,000-yard season (marred only by a three-interception outing in a loss to Ole Miss), and Jeremy Hill headlined the Tigers’ punishing rushing attack on his way to a 1,185-yard, 14-touchdown season. Junior wide receivers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. both topped 1,000 yards on the year.
Though the offense has gotten the lion’s share of the attention, LSU’s defense has still been quite good, mind you, highlighted by an impressive showing against Texas A&M’s prolific offense during the penultimate game of the regular season. The Aggies’ 5.07 yards per play against the Tigers’ defense was their worst outing since being held to 4.36 yards per play against John Chavis’ unit in 2012.
Last bowl game: 2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl vs. Clemson, 25-24 loss
Last year without a bowl: 1999
All-time bowl record: 22-21-1
Head coach's bowl record: Les Miles, 6-5
Iowa (8-4, 5-3 B1G)
After a disappointing 4-8 season in 2012, Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz needed to bounce back this year in order to avoid firm placement on the hot seat. He managed to pull it off, leading the Hawkeyes to good wins over Minnesota, Michigan and Nebraska in the process. The team was competitive in losses to Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin, and even the season-opening loss to Northern Illinois doesn’t look so bad now that the Huskies ended up just short of a BCS bid.
Defense has been Iowa’s strength this year, and the Hawkeyes rank third in the Big Ten by allowing 18.8 points and 303.2 yards per game. The linebacker duo of James Morris and Anthony Hitchens has been the defensive catalyst, and the two players have combined to put up 27.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks in 2013.
The Hawkeyes’ offense hasn’t had as much success, averaging 27.3 points and 388.9 yards per contest. Those numbers are good for ninth and eighth in the conference, respectively. Although, the offense has been balanced, averaging 200.4 yards through the air and 188.5 yards on the ground.
Last bowl game: 2011 Insight Bowl vs. Oklahoma, 31-14 loss
All-time bowl record: 14-11-1
Head coach's bowl record: Kirk Ferentz, 6-4