Iowa faces off against the LSU Tigers in the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day. It’s a noon kick-off here in the Hawkeye state. LSU is ranked higher than the Hawkeyes (LSU is currently ranked 16th in the nation). LSU has more overall talent than the Hawkeyes. LSU plays in a better conference than the Hawkeyes. LSU has more quality wins this year than do the Hawkeyes. This is setting up to be an LSU blowout, right?

As Lee Corso would say, not so fast my real real rockers! This is a Hawkeye team that is motivated and elated to be in Tampa. They’re playing football in January, something they weren’t doing last January. This is a Hawkeye team that is prepared and rested. Teams under coach Kirk Ferentz have usually improved as the season progressed and have come into bowl games well prepared. This is a Hawkeye team that loves Florida. The Hawks have won some big games in the “Sunshine State,” including an Orange Bowl victory over Georgia Tech, an annihilation of South Carolina in the 2009 Outback Bowl, and that famous victory over these LSU Tigers back in the 2005 Capital One Bowl.

So what’s this all add up to? A Hawkeye victory. I like the Hawks in this one and it has nothing to do with in-state bias. The facts don’t lie.