The SEC participant for the 2005 Capital One Bowl will be made following the outcome of Saturday's SEC Championship game between Auburn and Tennessee. An Auburn win on Saturday sends LSU to the Capital One Bowl for the first time since 1979.
However, a loss by Auburn to Tennessee will likely send Auburn to the Capital One Bowl and LSU to the Cotton Bowl. With a loss on Saturday to Tennessee, Auburn still has an outside chance of gaining an at-large berth into a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) game.
"We're obviously very excited to be playing in a New Year's Day bowl for the fourth straight year," LSU coach Nick Saban said. "To be 9-2 and headed for another prestigious bowl is a tribute to the players on this team and the coaches on this staff.
"We're also very pleased that our fans and players will be treated to a first-class bowl no matter which bowl we end up in. The Capital One Bowl and the Cotton Bowl are tremendous bowl games that will give us the opportunity to show a national audience what kind of football we play in the SEC and what type of football we play at LSU."
Iowa will serve as the Big Ten representative at the Capital One Bowl.
"These (LSU and Auburn) are two of the best teams in the nation," FCS Selection Committee Chairman Richard M. Jackson said. "Auburn has had a storybook season, and LSU is riding a six-game winning streak. I think either team will provide a wonderful game when they face Iowa on January 1."
LSU, which claimed the 2003 BCS National Championship, finished the 2004 campaign with a 9-2 record including six consecutive victories to end the year. The Tigers feature the nation's third-best defense, allowing less than 250 yards per contest. Offensively, the Tigers led the SEC in rushing with over 200 yards per contest.
An appearance in the Capital One Bowl will mark the first for an LSU team since Dec. 22, 1979 when Charlie McClendon guided the Tigers to a 34-10 win over Wake Forest in what was then called the Tangerine Bowl. That contest was McClendon's final game as LSU's head coach.
"The SEC has once again proven to be one of the nation's finest football conferences," Jackson added. "There were several teams in our mix to the end, and each of them would have been worthy of a bid."
Last week, the FCS announced Big Ten co-champion Iowa will play in the Capital One Bowl. Iowa finished the 2004 regular season with a 9-2 overall record, including a 7-1 mark in Big Ten Conference games.
The Capital One Bowl possesses the first selections from the Big Ten and Southeastern Conference (SEC) after the BCS chooses its participating teams. The 59th annual game will kickoff at 1:00 p.m. (EST) on New Year's Day, and will be televised nationally by ABC.
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