SEC

2017 Outback Bowl, Florida vs. Iowa Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores

Outback Bowl Prediction, Florida vs. Iowa Game Preview, History, Scores


Three reasons why you should watch the Outback Bowl between Iowa (8-4) vs. Florida (8-4), why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.


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Date: Monday, January 2nd
Game Time: 1:00 pm
Venue: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Network: ABC

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Scroll down for the video preview and bowl history

The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness (1 best-40 worst): 28 out of 40

Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Outback Bowl

Iowa, this is the first bowl game of the rest of your life. It was a tough 2016, starting with the brutality in Pasadena in a 45-16 loss to Stanford – and really starting a month earlier with the Big Ten Championship loss to Michigan State. After a 5-4 start, the Michigan win keyed a terrific finish, and now the team is a win away from changing the narrative on the season. Losers of four straight bowls going back to 2010, this game matters.

Florida, this is the first bowl game of the rest of your life. Yeah, the SEC East titles have been a hoot under Jim McElwain, but two straight ugly losses to Florida State, two straight brutal SEC championship losses to Alabama, and one didn’t-get-off-the-bus 41-7 beatdown from Michigan in last season’s Citrus Bowl. Losers of two of the last three bowl games, and miles away from a terrific run of six bowl wins in seven years, this game matters.

Defense, defense, defense. It might not be sexy, and it might not seem exciting, but the two defenses should lead to a close, tight game. Granted, the offenses are bad just as much as the defenses are good, but expect a battle right to the end – even if it’s not exactly scintillating football.

Here’s Why Florida Will Win The Outback Bowl

Iowa has no passing game. C.J. Beathard is a fringe NFL backup quarterback prospect, but the Hawkeyes don’t have a slew of strong receivers and they don’t push the passing game around effectively enough. Now, Iowa is better when it’s not throwing – that means the running game is working, but Beathard completed just 17-of-36 passes for 146 yards against Michigan and Illinois in back-to-back games. Don’t expect Tom Brady to show up against this Florida NFL secondary. The problems with the passing game leads to the problem that …

The Hawkeye O just doesn’t move the chains. Iowa is awful on third downs and got worse as the season has gone on. How bad did things get? The Hawkeye offense has converted just 15-of-65 third down plays over the last five games, and against this Gator D, things aren’t going to start getting any better.

Florida’s offense might be awful, but at least it’s awful for longer. Iowa doesn’t run an up-tempo attack, but it doesn’t slow things down. It doesn’t move the chains – it’s 122nd in first downs – and it’s not big on ball control. Last year, Iowa controlled the ball for 31:37 a game, and this year it’s keeping it for just over 27 minutes per game. Florida’s O slows things down, keeping it for well over 31 minutes per game.

Here’s Why Iowa Will Win The Outback Bowl

Drive for show, putt for dough. Iowa scores in the red zone, and Florida doesn’t. In a game like this, both teams have to capitalize on every drive and every scoring opportunity. So far this season. Florida has the second-worst red zone offense, coming away with points a pathetic 70% of the time. Iowa is 12th in the nation in red zone defense – teams are scoring just 74% of the time inside the 20 – while the Hawkeye offense is among the best in college football from close, scoring 92% of the time.

The Hawkeye defensive front has been a rock. The pass rush has been just okay, but the plays behind the line picked up late in the year, including a season-high eight tackles for loss against Michigan. 6-4, 310-pound Jaleel Johnson has been the leader and star coming up with 54 tackles with 7.5 sacks and ten tackles for loss, highlighted by his dominant performance against the Wolverines. If he has a big game, the Florida offense won’t.

No one’s running on Iowa, except for Penn State. The Nittany Lions destroyed the Hawkeye line tearing off 359 yards, the D was a rock the rest of the way allowing fewer than 100 yards in the last three games. 7-0 when allowing under 160 rushing yards, Iowa feeds off its defensive production. Florida has been held to under 160 yards seven times in the last nine games of the year.

You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The Outback Bowl

There’s no point in playing Austin Appleby. Why? Would Florida start a senior quarterback who isn’t going to make the team any better for next year? Appleby might be the best option, and it’s not smart to burn a redshirt season to get Feleipe Franks the live reps, but why not start Luke Del Rio? He might not be 100%, but at least Del Rio will be a part of the equation next year.

Again, Iowa could really use this win. Iowa had a great 2015 season, but it went completely and totally in the tank in retrospect because of Christian McCaffrey and Stanford running wild in the Rose Bowl. Win this, and in terms of attitude going into the offseason, Iowa could use this more than just about any other big team. The D has allowed 17 points or fewer in four of the last five games and five of the last seven. Next year’s group should be at least as good, despite the loss of a few key starters – and it’ll have the momentum with a win.

The recruiting season kicks into overdrive for Florida. Of course Iowa cares about recruiting, but winning this game isn’t necessarily going to matter as much for the prospects it’s able to get. However, Florida can’t be seen as a stagnant program. When trying to woo children to make their college decisions, optics are going to matter. The Gators might not put together anything sensational offensively, but win this game, maybe get a big play from Antonio Callaway, and maybe get a shutdown performance from the terrific secondary, and it’ll make the sell that much easier.

Super. So Who’s Going To Win The Outback Bowl?

Whose defense will come up with the bigger plays at the most important times? Both teams will do well with the punting game, both teams will get shutdown performances from its defenses, and both teams will try powering the ball.

Beathard won’t throw for 300 yards, but he’ll dink and dunk just enough, and the running game will work just well enough for Iowa to grind out a few decent scoring drives to get ahead early and stay there.

Both kickers will be great, but Iowa’s will be just a bit better. Keith Duncan will hit two in the fourth quarter for the tough Hawkeye win.

Final Score

Iowa 19, Florida 17

Line

Florida -2.5, o/u: 40.5

ATS Confidence: 3
5: Your New Year’s Eve chances to score in your favorite bar
0: Your New Year’s Eve chances to score after covering a College Football Playoff semifinal

Must See Rating: 3
5: New Year’s Eve: Defected In The House, Ministry of Sound, London
0: New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Special Co-Host Kathy Griffin

Get Tickets For The Outback Bowl

Outback Bowl History, Results

Jan. 1, 2016 Tennessee 45 Northwestern 6
Jan. 1, 2015 Wisconsin 34 Auburn 31
Jan. 1, 2014 LSU 21 Iowa 14
Jan. 1, 2013 South Carolina 33 Michigan 28
Jan. 2, 2012 Michigan State 33 Georgia 30 (3 OT)
Jan. 1, 2011 Florida 37 Penn State 24
Jan. 1, 2010 Auburn 38 Northwestern 35 (OT)
Jan. 1, 2009 Iowa 31 South Carolina 10
Jan. 1, 2008 Tennessee 21 Wisconsin 17
Jan. 1, 2007 Penn State 20 Tennessee 10
Jan. 2, 2006 Florida 31 Iowa 24
Jan. 1, 2005 Georgia 24 Wisconsin 21
Jan. 1, 2004 Iowa 37 Florida 17
Jan. 1, 2003 Michigan 38 Florida 30
Jan. 1, 2002 South Carolina 31 Ohio State 28
Jan. 1, 2001 South Carolina 24 Ohio State 7
Jan. 1, 2000 Georgia 28 Purdue 25
Jan. 1, 1999 Penn State 26 Kentucky 14
Jan. 1, 1998 Georgia 33 Wisconsin 6
Jan. 1, 1997 Alabama 17 Michigan 14
Jan. 1, 1996 Penn State 43 Auburn 14
Jan. 2, 1995 Wisconsin 34 Duke 20
Jan. 1, 1994 Michigan 42 N.C. State 7
Jan. 1, 1993 Tennessee 38 Boston College 23
Jan. 1, 1992 Syracuse 24 Ohio State 7
Jan. 1, 1991 Clemson 30 Illinois 0
Jan. 1, 1990 Auburn 31 Ohio State 14
Jan. 2, 1989 Syracuse 23 LSU 10
Jan. 2, 1988 Michigan 28 Alabama 24
Dec. 23, 1986 Boston College 27 George 24