Expect South Carolina To Face Iowa In Outback Bowl
The Outback Bowl probably won't make it official until Sunday, but a logical matchup has emerged for the Jan. 1 game at Raymond James Stadium. South Carolina (7-5) vs. Iowa (8-4). * Why South Carolina? Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks are really the only logical choice from the SEC, even though they ended the season with deflating losses against Florida (56-6) and Clemson (31-14). The Outback always prefers an SEC East team - and the only other choices are Vanderbilt (6-6) and Kentucky (6-6).Georgia (9-3) looks headed to Orlando's Capital One Bowl. From the SEC West, Ole Miss (8-4) is all but official to the Cotton Bowl. That would likely send LSU (7-5), the defending national champions, to Atlanta's Chick-Fil-A Bowl. * Why Iowa? The Hawkeyes (8-4) are the Big Ten's hottest team, having won five of their last six games, including a 24-23 upset of previously unbeaten Penn State. They have a major attraction in junior running back Shonn Green (1,729 yards rushing, 17 touchdowns, 12 games of 100 yards rushing). The Hawkeyes will also bring a ton of people to Tampa (as will South Carolina, probably, making it a win-win for the tourism folks). Fans of Northwestern (9-3), which defeated Iowa 22-17, will probably be upset. But that's the bowl business. Go with the hot hand. The Big Ten is waiting on the outcome of the USC-UCLA game on Saturday. If the Bruins upset the Trojans, there's a possibility of Ohio State being pulled up to a BCS bowl, which would affect the entire lineup. Elsewhere in bowl news: * Florida: The Gators (11-1) play Alabama (12-0) in Saturday's SEC Championship Game. Winner likely goes to the BCS Championship Game, and loser probably heads to the Sugar Bowl. There's a remote possibility that could have an Oklahoma-Texas rematch at the BCS Championship Game - Scenario: Florida nips Alabama with game turning on fluke play or bad call - if the human voters conspire to help the Longhorns. Remote. But possible. Moving on... * Florida State: The Seminoles (8-4) are still licking their wounds after a 45-15 home loss against Florida. But it looks like they'll have a decent bowl trip. The most likely matchup is FSU against Nebraska (8-4) at Jacksonville's Gator Bowl. The Seminoles and Cornhuskers haven't met since the 1994 Orange Bowl, when FSU won 18-16 to claim Coach Bobby Bowden's first national championship. But the Chick-Fil-A Bowl picks an ACC team before the Gator Bowl. If Atlanta likes FSU over, say, the ACC Championship Game loser (Virginia Tech or Boston College), the Gator Bowl may turn to Georgia Tech (9-3). * USF: The Bulls (7-4) conclude their regular season on Saturday night at West Virginia (7-4). USF is set for the inaugural St. Petersburg Bowl on Dec. 20 at Tropicana Field. Their Conference USA opponent could be Southern Miss (6-6). * Miami: Two weeks ago, the Hurricanes (7-5) had their ACC Championship Game fate in their hands. But it went up in smoke after a loss at Georgia Tech, then things were compounded by Saturday's defeat at N.C. State. Where will the Hurricanes land now? At one of the ACC's lower-tier bowls - anywhere from San Francisco's Emerald Bowl to Orlando's Champs Sports Bowl are the best possibilities.