Roundtable: The Outback Bowl

Chris Graythen

We get a little more in depth about LSU versus Iowa on New Year's Day.

Well everybody, thoughts on the bowl slotting?

Zrau

Certainly could have been worse, especially with the talk of LSU falling to the Gator, which I would have preferred because it would have allowed me to make the trip (alas, c'est la vie). The matchup with Iowa certainly isn't awful historically, especially given our recent history in the Capital One Bowl in 2005 (Nick Saban didn't care), but football-wise I'd need to watch some more of their stuff before I can judge. The one on-field statistic I know about Iowa this season is that they punted from their opponents' 35 yard line, which certainly is in line with Kirk Ferentz's B1G tendencies. I can't wait for Texas to hire him before the game.

The timeslot and viewership likely won't be great - I'll probably be hammering some Bloody Marys and scrambled eggs that morning - but it is nice to get out of the Atlanta/Arlington circle of bowl games. Honestly, I'm completely fine with Mizzou heading to Arlington. Spurrier and a very strong Gamecocks squad were hard for the Cotton to pass up, I can hardly blame them for working out the switch. It does also give us a bit of face time in Florida, where it seems we're drawing more and more recruits from every year, something we'd only get in a trip to the Swamp on even-numbered years.

In short, bad timeslot against a middling-to-decent B1G opponent - I'm making this assumption based on their 8-4 record - but going to Florida is always nice. However, this comes with the caveat that several of my friends who went with Auburn's band for the 2010 game and they do not serve Bloomin' Onions (or anything else Outback-related) in the stadium.

Paul

I'm not enthused about it. It's a plus that it's a new environment, but I've always cared way more about who we play rather than where we play, when it's a non-BCS bowl. I realize historically there's a power rankings to these things, but I think it's increasingly becoming more meaningless. Noon timeslot is fine, except now we're in competition with other games and all that. That's one perk of being in the Peach: you are the main event.

I was hoping we'd at least draw something interesting historically (playing Michigan) or interesting on the field (get into Cotton vs. Oklahoma State). Instead we get a team we played < 10 years ago, and a boring one at that. Iowa has great fans, but I'll be watching on TV, so that does nothing for me, and dammit, I'm selfish.

I know all the Iowa fans are gonna bark down my tree about Ferentz and his shiny track record against SEC teams in bowls and how, "historically" the "SEC really isn't much better than the Big 10," but if we're being honest, none of that matters. All that matters is this season, and this team. LSU has wins over Auburn and A&M, both of which would probably have stood a shot at winning the B1G. Iowa didn't beat a single ranked team. Their crowning achievements are "playing Ohio State and Michigan State close." I know they think their defense is elite, but point me to any good offense they contained. Ohio State put 34 points and 500 yards on them. Northern Illinois put up almost 450 and 30 points. Even Wisconsin, whose passing offense can be described as "anemic" at best, racked up 200+ rushing yards, despite being one-dimensional. They are fortunate they didn't have to play Indiana, as well. I guess what I'm saying here is that I don't think Iowa is any good.

Billy

It's a bad timeslot, but at least it's not 10 a.m. or something like that. It's late enough that most of us will either be up and about or at least in hangover eating mode to watch the game. But I'm with Zach -- it's also a new place, new stadium, new city and all that. I don't know if that makes a huge difference for the players, but it can't hurt. And with Anthony Jennings getting the start, it's kind of the first chance for this team to take a step forward into 2014. I hate that it has to come at the expense of Zach Mettenberger's last start, but I'm willing to bet he'll be spurring them on.

Iowa's not new per se, in terms of opponents, but they are relatively unfamiliar to the program, and we're all seeing them in a much, much different spot from 2004, when LSU was playing out the awkward final string of Nick Saban's tenure. So there's something to enjoy from that. Plus, hey, we haven't seen a B1G team since 2009 anyway. Hopefully there will be actual grass-like substance on this field.

Dr.awesome504

Hopefully I will be coherent when the game begins.  I tend to over do it for new years.

The game should be entertaining.  Our offense against a stingy Iowa defense should be the most interesting match up on the field.  Iowa has a solid run defense, so it might be tough to establish the run at first.  Anthony Jennings could be asked to throw it around early, which will allow us to see how much he has progressed with a month of getting most of the reps in practice.

The second best match up is their fan base against ours.  May the strongest livers win.

cdub71323

I now have a reason to pig out and it's not just because I'm hungover.  I don't have any problem with the time slot and like that I can ring in the New Year with an LSU victory.  It will also be nice to get some revenge on them for the giving up from Saban in 2004 and their lucky hail mary.  I feel like with a month to prepare, I think Cameron will add some wrinkles into the offense for Jennings that Mett couldn't do due to his lack of athleticism.  With his professionalism, I trust Cameron will make his transition into the new leader of the offense a smooth one.  It also doesn't hurt to have a 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers.

Iowa doesn't seem to have much of a passing game and rely on a big running back, which I think our defense will be able to handle.  The Tigers have faced many better offenses throughout the season and I'm just not really that scared of the Hawkeyes.  Maybe it's my perception that the Big Ten is weak but I think we have a chance to dominate this game.  Combine this with the huge night the Tigers could have the following night at the Under Armour game and the Tigers will start the New Year on the right foot with a lot of momentum going into National Signing Day in February.

Poseur

I like playing on New Years Day. Wake up late, make some waffles, drink some mimosas, and watch some morning football. It's perfect after a night of libations (of course, now that I have a kid, I will be wide awake by 8 in the morning).

Honestly, bitching about playing on New Year's Day is just ridiculous to me. I grew up on New Year's Day games, and I'm happy to be part of the party, even if college football has totally gutted the day. It's still one of the best days of the year, and we should be thrilled to be a part of it.

Billy

To me, the funniest dynamic of this whole situation, and the one that LSU fans should probably take notice of, given how many of them have a "grass is always greener" mentality, is that Iowa fans seem disappointed by this game. Thoughts on that?

Paul

We're gonna hear that same line of thinking too. "Ferentz is 4-1 in bowls vs. the SEC!" "Oh yeah, typical SEC fans, just think they are better than anyone else." "Always underrating the B1G!"

Look, I'm not one to overly pump the SEC in the face of all conflicting evidence. Frankly, I thought the Pac-12 was the best conference in America this year. But there is still a mountain of evidence that suggests how much better the SEC is than the B1G, if nothing else than the fact that a single team from the B1G has made all of their BCS Title appearances, while the SEC has pumped out five different winners. But really, none of that history matters. Each season is unto itself, so the only thing that matters is the B1G this year vs. the SEC this year, and more directly, Iowa vs. LSU. LSU opened better than a TD favorite... with a QB making his first ever start. I imagine the media will tilt heavily for LSU as well. How then, can Iowa fans be disappointed, especially after sneaking out wins against awful teams like Iowa State and Northwestern to even put them in a position to be in this bowl slotting. And now they have a chance to beat one of the premier teams from the SEC of the last decade and make a statement.

cdub71323

I don't see why they should be disappointed.  They think they should be entitled to more because of their "stellar bowl record against SEC teams?"  Unfortunately for them, the past is the past for a reason.  Things change and when you compete in one of the weakest major conferences this season where you faced a total TWO ranked teams at the time, losing to both, I feel you should be happy you have a matchup like this.  How many ranked opponents did LSU play?  FIVE and that's not even counting the SEC's National Championship representative this year in Auburn.  There's a reason LSU is in the top 20 despite 3 losses.

I think it will be funny to see their mentality after this game because, even with a backup QB, I see this being at least a two-touchdown win for the Tigers

Billy

Its always fun to encounter a new and different fan base I guess. Given the up$ and down$ of the Kirk Ferentz Era there, I would have guessed there'd be more dissatisfaction.

There seems to be a lot of "meh" on our side too, and I really hope that doesn't seep down to the players. People will act like they don't care about this game but I know that's just a load of crap because people care real quick if LSU loses a game like this.

To me, this team has a chance to move forward into 2014 and make that a new chapter in this age of LSU football. Cam Cameron's been around for a year, we've seen what he can do with a talented veteran like Zach Mettenberger, and now we get to see what happens next with an offense he can really build from the inside out and a new quarterback. And starting that off on the right foot is the perfect first domino, especially when you consider that the day after this game is supposed to be the first big day of the recruiting cycle.

Zrau

Personally, I'd like to see LSU thrash Iowa and cap off a fourth ten-win season in a row. I agree with Billy, since it's the first big day of the recruiting cycle and one day before the Under Armour All-American game, it could give us a lot of momentum pushing ahead with the 2014 class, and even trickling down into 2015.

Aside from wins, there's so much prop bet potential in this game given how our last meeting went and some other factors: how many times will the commentators mention the final Drew Tate pass to beat LSU in 2005? How many references will there be to the coincidence of Australian punter Jamie Keehn playing in the Outback Bowl? Speaking of punters, will Kirk Ferentz finally punt from within his opponents' 30 yard line? Will Les Miles be caught eating a Bloomin' Onion on the sideline? The possibilities are endless!

Paul

"Both coaches were top candidates for the Texas job, but opted to sign multi-year, multi-million dollar extensions to the current jobs, instead."

I'm throwing down shots on that one.

Dr.awesome504

Well, you (usually) get the bowl game you earn in my opinion, and I think they did really well in getting the Outback Bowl going 5-3 in the B1G and 8-4 overall.  They are getting a quality, top 15 opponent in a good venue on New Year's Day.  Really no reason to complain.

I'd like to see a beat down as well, but I really don't think that is going to happen.  With as much crap as the B1G has taken about beating SEC teams, I expect Iowa to come out fighting.  I'll settle for an exciting game that LSU wins by a field goal or touchdown.  The biggest thing I want is a good day for Anthony Jennings, something that gets recruits going "I want to play with that guy."  The Arkansas game was a great moment for Jennings, so he needs to continue the momentum that came from that final drive.

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