There will be no gnashing of teeth over LSU falling down the SEC bowl pecking order this year. LSU was selected by the Outback Bowl in Tampa, following Alabama & Auburn going to the BCS and South Carolina going to the Capital One Bowl while the Cotton selected Missouri. Usually, the Cotton gets a Western division team here, but it seems the Outback and Cotton made a deal to swap, since the Outback did not want Mizzou. The Outback Bowl will be New Year's day at noon.
While the bowl destination is a welcome change from the Cotton or Chick-Fil-A, the opponent…might leave some to be desired. The Tigers will face Iowa in a rematch of the 2005 Capital One Bowl, which we will never mention again after this point. (See why. WARNING: It's not a good memory.) The Hawkeyes managed to go 0-4 vs. ranked opponents this year and needed overtime to beat Northwestern. On the face, the Hawkeyes won't exactly get Tiger fans excited for the matchup.
Either way, it should be a great game with a couple of traditional-style teams and will give LSU's 2014 QB Anthony Jennings great game experience. Iowa likes to pound the ball and play defense, so the game should be a return to traditional LSU-style football. Not to mention, it's Florida, so the weather should be fantastic & LSU is chasing a number of Florida recruits, so a game in their backyard will only help the Tigers' cause.
A quick statistical rundown after the jump.
In the B1G, Iowa has the 9th best scoring offense but their defense is 3rd in points allowed. As you can see, offense is not what Iowa does well. They like to run and pound the ball, but they're only 6th in the B1G in rushing per game (188 ypg), and a dismal 10th in passing (200 ypg).
Like I said, their defensive numbers are better, ranking 4th in the conference versus the run and a stout 2nd (182 ypg) against the pass. These numbers stand up nationally, as they're 17th and 11th respectively. It's debateable as to the level of offense the Hawkeyes saw in conference, but this game should be a matter of strength-on-strength. Jeremy Hill & co. will have to work for their yards on the ground, while Anthony Jennings will be tested here.
This game matches up very well for LSU. The Tigers' weakness, their defense, will have the easier go of is as Iowa is weak offensively in a weak conference. If LSU comes to play, it should give the defense great confidence going into 2014, where they'll open with another B1G team in Wisconsin. While Iowa has good defensive numbers, I like LSU's ability to run the ball. The Tigers will be superior talent-wise nearly across the board. If Anthony Jennings shows us more of that last drive vs. Arkansas, the result should be easily in the Tigers favor.
See you on New Year's Day.