Saban, Bertman comment on CapitalOne Bowl bid

The following are comments from LSU athletic director Skip Bertman and football coach Nick Saban after it was announced the Tigers will face Iowa on New Year's Day in the Capital One Bowl.

Director of Athletics Skip Bertman 

Opening Statement…

"I think it's is a great thing for Nick (Saban) and his staff and all of the people associated with the football program, especially the players, to have the opportunity in the past five years to go to the Peach Bowl, two Sugar Bowls and the National Championship, one Cotton (Bowl) and now which is obviously the No. 1 bowl not in the BCS package, the Capital One. We have a big time opponent and school we have never played, in Iowa. 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."

On the payout LSU will receive for being in the Capital One Bowl…

"It's a $5.2 million payout of which we get to see, seriously, none. All of the money is shared. Vanderbilt will get the same amount of money we get. We will get a bowl expense of $1.2 million that any team would have gotten at this particular bowl. Naturally, that's not enough to move over 500 people for eight days to live in Orlando in a first-class hotel and have the event. On the other hand, it is incredibly well deserved. It's not a moneymaker. Although, remember all the money is shared, and everybody that goes to a bowl is good for LSU if they're in the SEC. There were times where we received money without going to bowls in the past, and now we're one of the better contributors because of Nick, his staff and the athletes. It's still the highest prestige bowl, and Iowa is a great match up."


Head Coach Nick Saban

Opening Statement…

"I can't tell you how pleased and happy we are to have the opportunity to play in the Capital One Bowl. 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, relative to how they finished. They are a tremendous opponent and challenge for our football team. I think it is quite fitting for our team that struggled early, after tough losses at Auburn and Georgia, to come to a crossroad and finish with six consecutive wins and put themselves in a position to have this opportunity. I am especially pleased for our fans, our supporters who were certainly positive to help us get to where we are right now. Hopefully, we will all be able to enjoy this great opportunity."

On the similarities he sees between Iowa and LSU…

"I think there team has some similarities to our team. They struggled a little bit early like we did and came off and finished strong. I know Kirk Ferentz is an outstanding coach. I also have some other ties on this staff. Norm Parker is the defensive coordinator. We were five years together at Michigan State when I was the defensive coordinator there and he was the linebacker coach. He's got a great family, great football coach and has done an outstanding job because they play outstanding defense. Phil Parker is the secondary coach -- made All-America at Michigan State when I was the defensive coordinator and secondary coach -- and is a fine coach as well. They've done a very good job. We feel like there's a lot of people that we have great associations and respect for. I think our team, certainly, will have the proper respect for Iowa, the Big 10 Conference and this may be, in some ways, one of the top teams relative to how they are playing right now that any of the SEC teams are going to play this year in bowl games. I think it's a great opportunity for us. I think it's pretty indicative of the personality of Kirk Ferentz as a coach and the perseverance he has to see his team develop and improve throughout the year as they did." 

On the seniors being able to play in their fourth straight New Year's Day bowl game

"I think it is a great opportunity for them to play in another New Year's Day bowl game, and I think Skip is right when he says that this is probably the No. 1 New Year's Day bowl game that's not in the BCS in terms of popularity, match-ups, community support, a lot of different things. That's a great opportunity for our guys to have a new experience. For our fifth-year seniors and our fourth-year seniors who will be going to their fourth straight New Year's Day bowl game, I think this is an outstanding opportunity and somewhat of a great accomplishment in their careers to be able to have two Sugar Bowls, a Cotton Bowl and a Capital One Bowl on their resume of what they accomplished as players. I think it says something about the staff who have worked hard to get the consistency in the program, to develop the players, to be able to have this kind of success long term. We always talk about it is our goal to be a nationally recognized, dominant program, and I think accomplishing these types of things over time is what gets you that kind of recognition."

On being able to face a Big 10 team…

"I have a lot of respect for the Big 10 and the people in it, especially this particular team because of my relationship with their head coach, the kind of tradition that they have, the way their season has gone and the way their players have played to overcome adversity, been resilient to finish strong and get this opportunity. I think the Big 10 is a conference that has a lot of tradition. Any time that you can play a co-champion of a conference that has the reputation that the Big 10 has. I think it's certainly challenging. I'm not sure fun would be the word that I would choose. I think it's very challenging, and I think this will be a very challenging game for us because Iowa is one of the best teams in what is a very good league."

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