When the Iowa Hawkeyes landed at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, Arizona on Monday afternoon, the high temperature for the day was 71 degrees. To think some Hawk fans complained about going to Arizona in 2010?
"When we left Iowa City today, I don't know what the temperature was, but the wind was kicking, a little snow was blowing. I think we had snow coming in tonight, so we are well into our Midwestern winter for sure," said Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz. "It's great to be here, and we're very, very excited about being selected to the Insight Bowl."
Iowa now has six days of preparation left before they take on Missouri. A ten win team, who has won three straight to end the regular season. The Tigers are ranked No. 12 in the country and with a win should finish inside the Top Ten for the second time in four seasons.
"I think they're eager to play on the 28th, realizing that we still have a lot of work to do. We've got a lot of hard work in front of us yet." said Ferentz. "They're very well-coached. Defensively, this might be the most athletic group that we've seen...Gary (Pinkel) has had a great run at Missouri – 40 wins in the last four years. I've always had a lot of respect for him. Phil Parker on our staff worked with him at Toledo. They've got a great program."
While Missouri ended the year on a high note, Iowa didn't. The Hawks lost their last three games and barely beat an Indiana team who is not playing the postseason. Kirk Ferentz and crew would love nothing more than a bowl win to gain momentum heading into 2011.
"I think the challenge for us right now is to put all that (losses) behind us. It really isn't relevant to this game, and try to do our best to prepare for Missouri. We know we have our hands full," said Ferentz. "We feel like we have a good football team. It was an interesting year this year for us, a lot of disappointments, certainly, losing some close ballgames…We think we have a team that's capable of playing very well and our goal for the month is to get ready for a real challenge on the 28th. …It's certainly going to be nice to be back outdoors practicing."