Jim McElwain and the Florida Gators will play Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Outback Bowl on January 2 at Raymond James Stadium.
The Florida Gators football team is reeling from back-to-back brutal losses. That started with a demoralizing 31-13 loss to the rival Florida State Seminoles and culminated with a 54-16 blowout defeat against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship Game.
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Fortunately for Jim McElwain and company, the Gators will get some home cooking when they play their bowl game.
Florida is currently 8-4 overall, 6-2 in conference play, and 2-2 against non-conference opponents. It remains one of the Top 20 teams in the country, however, and will have a chance to close McElwain’s second season out in style.
According to Brett McMurphy of ESPN, the Gators will play the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on January 2, 2017.
It’s not Gainesville, but it’s as close to home as Florida could’ve realistically asked for.
Florida and Iowa previously met in the Outback Bowl in 2005-06, when the Gators pulled out a 31-24 victory. Ferentz was still the coach of the Hawkeyes back then, but it was Urban Meyer who was leading the Gators.
After getting blown out 49-7 by the Michigan Wolverines in the 2016 Citrus Bowl, McElwain will look to redeem himself against Iowa.
Not only does McElwain need this win, but the fans of the Florida football team do, too.
The Gators have been dealt an unpredictably difficult hand with eight injured starters. Jarrad Davis fought through the pain to play against Alabama, but the list of injuries remains overwhelming and disheartening.
Fortunately, Florida will have a chance to exorcise its Bowl Game demons under McElwain when it plays Iowa in the Outback Bowl.