The actual game may still be almost a week away but the Outback Bowl festivities kicked off on Monday. 

The Florida Gators and Iowa Hawkeyes both arrived in Tampa on Monday to begin a week of events and activities that will culminate with the teams squaring off Jan. 2 at Raymond James Stadium. 

The game and all the events leading up to it also will provide a economic impact for the Bay area. 

Iowa (8-4 and ranked 21st in the AP poll) are training at the University of Tampa. 

Florida, meanwhile, will practice at Jesuit High School. The Gators come into the contest 8-4, ranked 20th nationally and SEC runners up.  

This matchup is the fifth Outback Bowl for each squad. 

Before game time, there will be plenty of activities for both teams to check out the Bay area. 

There will be a players night at Channelside's Splitsville bowling alley, team outings to Busch Gardens and a Tampa Bay Lightning game. Players also will visit children in Bay area hospitals and enjoy a beach day and the annual Outback Bowl New Year's Eve parade and pep rally in Ybor City. 


Florida (8-4, SEC) vs. Iowa (8-4, Big Ten), Jan. 2, 1 p.m.

LOCATION: Raymond James Stdaium, Tampa


Florida: RB Jordan Scarlett, 795 rushing yards, six touchdowns.

Iowa: RBs LeShun Daniels Jr. and Akrum Wadley, combined 1,979 rushing yards, 20 touchdowns.


Florida: The Gators were 6-1 in September and October, and after injuries started piling up finished 2-3 but still reached the SEC title game.

Iowa: The Hawkeyes give up 353 yards per game, but allow only 17.92 points per game — the same scoring average given up by Florida this season.

The Gators are a 3-point favorite.


Florida 31, Iowa 24 (Jan. 2, 2006)


Florida: Fifth time in the Outback Bowl, 43rd bowl game overall.

Iowa: Fifth time in the Outback Bowl, 30th bowl game overall.