Tigers set to tangle with Iowa in Capital One Bowl

LSU will finally make a return trip to the Capital One Bowl as the Tigers have been selected to represent the Southeastern Conference in the New Year's Day Bowl in Orlando, Florida Citrus Sports Executive Director Tom Mickle announced on Sunday.

The Tigers, winners of six straight and at 9-2 overall, will face Iowa co-champions of the Big Ten, who will bring a seven-game winning streak and an identical 9-2 mark into the contest. LSU and Iowa have never met on the football field.

"We have a big time opponent and school we have never played, in Iowa," LSU Director of Athletics Skip Bertman said on Sunday. "I think it just caps off the best five years in the history of LSU football. You have to be very, very proud of Nick and his staff. It is also going to be a great bowl. It is also great that almost 25 years exactly, Charlie Mac's last football team beat Wake Forest, 34-10. For us to be there 25 years later, it is a wonderful thing for all of us at LSU."

LSU is ranked No. 11 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll and No. 12 in the Associated Press Top 25, while the Hawkeyes are No. 11 in the AP poll and No. 13 in the coaches poll.

"I can't tell you how pleased and happy we are to have the opportunity to play in the Capital One Bowl," LSU coach Nick Saban said on Sunday. "We know from previous experience, the great people that are associated with this bowl game and the support the community gives this bowl game. What a great community Orlando is for our official party, our team, our players and all of our fans who choose to go to this game.

"Iowa, the co-champions of the Big 10, was probably the team at the end of the season who was playing the best football in their league. They are a tremendous opponent and challenge for our football team."

LSU's appearance in the Capital One Bowl will mark the Tigers' fourth straight New Year's Day bowl game, a first for the school. In addition, the Tigers will be making their 36th bowl appearance, including the fifth under Nick Saban. LSU is 3-1 in bowl games under Saban.

"This is a great matchup for the Capital One Bowl," FCS Selection Committee Chairman Richard M. Jackson said. "LSU and Iowa are two of the best teams in the country, and by game day both teams will have gone nearly three months since their last defeat. The excitement from the Iowa fans has been evident since their selection, and we've seen tremendous enthusiasm from LSU fans, even before the decision was official."

LSU's appearance in the 2005 Capital One Bowl will be the first time the Tigers have played in Orlando's New Year's Day classic since since 1979, when it was called the Tangerine Bowl. LSU beat Wake Forest, 34-10, in the 1979 Tangerine Bowl, in what was the late Charles McClendon's final game as head coach of the Tigers.

The Tigers, winner of the 2003 BCS National Championship, haven't lost since a 45-16 setback to Georgia on Oct. 2. LSU features the nation's third-ranked defense in total yards allowed and the Tigers rank first in the SEC in rushing offense, averaging just over 200 yards per game.

On Nov. 23, 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. With a stingy defense, ranked ninth nationally in yards-per-game allowed, and a turnover margin that stands seventh in the country, the Hawkeyes closed out the season with seven-consecutive victories.

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.

Tiger Blitz Top Stories