The Iowa Hawkeyes (7-5, 4-4 Big Ten Conference) return to Tempe to defend their 2011 Insight Bowl championship when they face the Oklahoma Sooners (9–3, 6–3) at Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium on Friday, December 30.
The Hawkeyes defeated 12th-ranked Missouri 27–24 in last year’s Insight Bowl that enjoyed a 400 percent increase in television ratings on ESPN and record attendance (53,453).
Iowa appears in its 10th bowl game since 2001. It is bowl eligible for the 11th consecutive season and boasts a three-game bowl winning streak, a school record.
The Hawkeyes weathered a difficult 2011 schedule that included seven ranked opponents, seven bowl-eligible foes, and six teams that competed in bowl games a year ago. Iowa managed a 4–3 record against the seven ranked opponents, their highest single-season victory total against ranked teams since 2003.
The Hawkeyes also finished in the Big Ten’s first division for the 10th time in the past 11 autumns. They’ve won 85 games over the past 10 seasons, including 50 conference assignments.
Head coach Kirk Ferentz is completing his 13th season at the Hawkeye helm. He is 6–3 in bowl games at Iowa, including wins in four of six January bowl games.
The always powerful Sooners have earned 7 national championship trophies, 45 bowl appearances, and 43 conference crowns in their storied history. They entered 2011 as the nation’s top-ranked team, a lofty perch they maintained until mid-season.
They are appearing in their 13th consecutive bowl game dating to 1999 and arrive in Arizona seeking their 33rd 10-win season, a number that leads the nation.
The 2011 Sooners defeated three of five opponents ranked on game day — no. 5 Florida State, no. 11 Texas and no. 10 Kansas State. They toppled the rival Longhorns 55–17 in the “Red River Shootout,” OU’s largest margin of victory in the rivalry since downing Texas 65–13 in 2003.
Bob Stoops reached 100 wins faster than any head coach in the modern era and he remains the nation’s only head coach to take his team to all four BCS games and the national championship contest.
The Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com project Oklahoma as a whopping 20.74-point favorite which is its largest predicted margin for any of this year's 35 postseason games.