Outback Bowl: Preview, Predictions, TV info

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer

What: Outback Bowl

Who: Iowa (8-4, 5-3 Big Ten) vs. LSU (9-3, 5-3 SEC)

When: Wednesday, Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Where: Raymond James Stadium (65,657), Tampa, Fla.

Opening Line: LSU -8

What matters: LSU finished the regular season at 9-3 with its only losses coming on the road to Alabama, Georgia and Ole Miss, and it's also the only team in the country that can say it beat Auburn this season. However, all of that happened before quarterback Zach Mettenberger tore his ACL. He will not play in this game. As for Iowa, the Hawkeyes are one of those teams that improved as the season went along, finishing the season with three straight wins after getting off to a 5-4 start.

Who matters: The biggest x-factor for LSU in this game will be Anthony Jennings, who will take over the starting quarterback role. Although when making the first start of your career it's nice to have receivers like Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry to throw to, as well as a back like Jeremy Hill to hand it off to.

Matchup question: Will Iowa's offense be able to score enough points to win this game? The Hawkeyes finished the season with the No. 7 total defense in the country, so they should be able to slow LSU's offense down a bit, but do they have the weapons to exploit LSU's defense? Quarterback Jake Rudock will have to take better care of the football against the Tigers. He threw 18 touchdowns for the Hawkeyes this season, but he also tossed 12 interceptions.

Prediction: LSU may be without its starting quarterback, but it's still the most talented team in this game. Plus Iowa's three conference losses this season were to Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin. Three teams with similar profiles to the Tigers. LSU 24 Iowa 17.

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