From what I've read the Cotton really wanted us and the CapOne really wanted Arkansas. But ultimately the Orlando based bowl was concerned how well Razorback fans would travel. So, the bad news is we lost what would've been a cool trip to Dallas. The good news is we only fell to another post-New Years bowl.
This will be our first trip back to Tampa since New Years Day 2005 when Pollack and Greene wrapped up their careers with a win over Wisconsin. Overall we're 3-1 in the game, which was originally the Hall of Fame Bowl. We beat Purdue in OT in 2000, Wisconsin in 1998 when Bobo ate his Wheaties before the game and we lost to Boston College in 1986, the bowl's first year.
Michigan State is also 10-3 after losing to Wisconsin in the Big 10 championship game. They are led offensively by Kirk Cousins the school's winningest quarterback. And they sport two good running backs, Le'Veon Bell (huge kid averaging 5+ ypc) and Edwin Baker. But truly their defense is the reason they are the Legends Division Champs. They are 9th in scoring defense only giving up 17 points a game and 5th in total defense.
Both teams' coaches should be pretty familiar with each other, having met in the Capital One Bowl back at the end of the 2008 season. A lot will be made of Murray and Charles returning to Tampa where they starred at Plant HS. But it's also a homecoming of sorts for one of their former teammates. Spartan defensive end Denzel Drone also went to Plant. Other Dawgs from the Tampa area: Kosta Vavlas, Ramik Wilson and Zach DeBell.
Because of NFL games, New Years Day bowls will be on a Monday. So the Outback is slated for January 2nd at 1pm.