The Tampa Tribune believes it, I believe it, and you should believe it. Iowa will play Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina Gamecocks in the Outback Bowl.
No one from the game or elsewhere will confirm it, because the BCS and the other lords of college football would come at the bowl with the wrath of a thousand roided-up defensive linemen. But it would take something bizarre for the Outback not to match Hawkeyes and Gamecocks.
South Carolina is the lone logical choice for the Outback. Alabama and Florida will play in BCS bowls, Georgia goes to the Capital One, and Mississippi to the Cotton. That leaves 7-5 South Carolina and 7-5 LSU. The Bayou Bengals are headed for the Chick-Fil-A in Atlanta, and USC (that’s what South Carolina calls itself) goes to Tampa on the heels of a 56-6 loss to Florida followed by a 31-14 defeat at state-rival Clemson.
The only currently ranked team the Gamecocks have beaten this year is Mississippi. They beat Wofford, 23-13.
With Ohio State headed to the BCS — likely to play Texas what would be an excellent Sugar Bowl matchup — Michigan State represents the Big Ten in the Capital One and the Outback then chooses 8-4 over 9-3 Northwestern.
The Outback Bowl has been a sellout the two times Iowa has been a participant. Tampa-St. Pete likes that. A lot.
The Tampa Tribune’s story: http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/dec/01/expect-south-carolina-face-iowa-outback/