Outback Fun Under the Sun
Photos/text By Renee Burrell
The University of Iowa cheerleaders and dance squads were anxious to hit the beach
CLEARWATER BEACH - The 23rd Outback Bowl's week of festivities heated up with the Beach Day pep rally Tuesday, December 30, at the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort. Residents joined players, families and friends of the Iowa Hawkeyes and South Carolina Gamecocks on the beach for five hours to celebrate the match up with team band and cheerleader competitions, skydiving, a tug-of-war and other contests. An estimated 8,000 people joined the fun in Clearwater.
The Outback Bowl matches college teams from the SEC and Big Ten Conference (3rd pick from each) and is held annually on New Year's Day. From December 1986 to January 1995 the Outback Bowl was called the Hall of Fame Bowl. Outback Steakhouse became the title/name sponsor in April 1995.
The official week long festivities began this year with the Outback Steakhouse Team Welcome Dinner at the Tampa Convention Center. Outback Steakhouse provided the food and bowl representatives welcomed the teams, head coaches, athletic directors and their wives. All together more than 5,500 pounds of food was devoured, and said to have included 50 pounds of steak, 750 pounds of chicken, 900 pounds of ribs, 700 pounds of bleu cheese wedge salad, 200 pounds of green beans, 950 pounds of Bloomin' Onions, 1,300 pounds of cheese cake, 85 gallons of barbeque sauce and 60 cases of soda and water.
A New Year's Eve Parade was held in Ybor City Wednesday with the game kick off at 11 a.m. New Year's Day at Raymond James Stadium. For Iowa, this year's Bowl marked their fifth New Year's Day bowl game in the last seven years. They went on to beat South Carolina on New Year's Day in front of 55,117 fans with a score of 31-10 and a defense that forced five turnovers, an offense that opened holes for running back Shonn Greene, the Doak Walker Award winner (and soon to be NFL draft pick), gained 121 yards and scored three touchdowns.
Greene was voted the game's most valued player, and in addition to running ran the 121 yards on 29 carries, scored three times, giving him a school-record tying 120 points this season.
After the game, Greene informed Iowa coach Ferentz that he would forego his senior season and enter the NFL draft.
Ferentz said in a post game news conference, "First of all I just want to thank everybody involved in this bowl. We're thrilled to be selected for the bowl and we appreciate that greatly. I can't say enough about the job Outback does with this entire event. It's just a tremendous venue being in Tampa, certainly, but the people involved have been first class. It's been our experience now three times. We're just so happy to be here and certainly proud of our football team. They did a great job, not only playing today but preparing for the game."
There wasn't a cloud in the sky---just the Outback Bowl Blimp
Return to Current Edition