“Iowa and Tennessee are among the greatest football traditions in the nation. The Hawkeyes and Vols have had strong seasons and we are excited to host players, coaches and fans from both teams in Jacksonville for a great day of football,” said McCormack.
“We are excited to have these two great, storied programs participating in the inaugural TaxSlayer Bowl, and look forward to the match-up on January 2,” said Jimmy Rhodes, president and CEO, TaxSlayer.com.
The Iowa Hawkeyes, the Big Ten Conference representative, finished their regular season with an overall record of 7-5. This match-up will mark their second appearance in the TaxSlayer Bowl. The Hawkeyes’ first appearance was on Dec. 30, 1983 against the University of Florida, and they are 1-1 against Tennessee, having last played the Vols in 1987. Head coach Kirk Ferentz is now in his 16th season as head coach, and he and his staff have led the Hawkeyes to bowl eligible status in 12 of the last 13 seasons.
“We are excited to accept the invitation to participate in the TaxSlayer Bowl,” said Kirk Ferentz, Iowa head football coach. “We know we will be competing against a very good Tennessee team that is well-coached by Butch Jones and his staff, a team that competes at a high level in the Southeastern Conference. We are looking forward to traveling to Jacksonville for what we know will be a very enjoyable week of bowl activities and a very challenging game against Tennessee on Jan. 2.”
The Tenneseee Volunteers, the Southeastern Conference representative, will be making their sixth appearance in the TaxSlayer Bowl. Their last appearance was on Dec. 30, 1994 when they beat Virginia Tech 45-23 in the historic trek to Gainesville to play on Florida Field while the old Gator Bowl stadium was being renovated for the newly-acquired NFL team, the Jacksonville Jaguars. Tennessee has a 3-2-0 overall record in the TaxSlayer Bowl. Butch Jones is now in his second season as head coach of the Volunteers. Jones came to Tennessee after three seasons at Cincinnati, where he led the Bearcats to first-place finishes in the BIG EAST his last two seasons.
“Playing in a New Year’s bowl game is a tremendous reward for our coaching staff, players, alumni and fans,” said Dave Hart, vice chancellor and director of athletics at the University of Tennessee. “I am especially pleased for our seniors. We are honored and appreciative to be invited to such a historic bowl venue.”
“The opportunity to play in the TaxSlayer Bowl represents a tremendous opportunity for our football program,” said Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones. “The chance to return to a New Year’s bowl game in Florida represents another significant step for our program, and we are excited to play against a quality opponent in Iowa. We are looking forward to the game, and I am sure that Vol Nation will be well-represented in Jacksonville on January 2.”