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Outback Bowl to be headlined by defenses of Florida, Iowa

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Can a football game be won with negative points?

If so, this year’s Outback Bowl might qualify.

The Florida Gators have a dreadful offense. And it’s still better than Iowa’s. The Gators are 115h in the nation on offense, and Iowa is 120th. It will not be a fireworks show.

Still, both teams are 8-4, and both have significant wins on their resume. The Gators beat LSU on the road with a goal line stand; Iowa beat Michigan.

For a change, the Gators would like to finish strong. They were blown out by Michigan in last year’s Citrius Bowl. Once again, Florida enters its bowl game after losing games to rivals FSU and, in the SEC title game, Alabama. In its last two games, the Gators have given up 85 points.

“Obviously playing a team that’s on a roll right now,” Gators’ coach Jim McElwain said. “You don’t go for a participation ribbon. I’m not sure a year ago we didn’t have some guys in there looking for a participation ribbon. To me that speaks volumes really about each person’s character that was involved in that event. Speaking personally, I was embarrassed. And yet, you know what, it happens. It happens at a lot of programs. But this is one that they’ve got to understand we’re representing the Gators and that’s different.

“We’ll be ready to go play.”


For the Gators, stopping receiver Akrum Wadley will be key. The Gators have the corners in Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson to help do it.

The game is Jan 2. at 1 p.m. In Tampa.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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