Iowa went 8-4 in 2018.

Were expectations higher? Maybe. However, the Hawkeyes weren’t the favorite to win the Big Ten, much less their own division.

Despite what may have been a disappointment to some, Iowa still won eight games and made it to the Outback Bowl. It’s a bowl game people have heard of. That’s when you know it’s a decent bowl game.

In all seriousness, the Hawkeyes are set to play Mississippi State at noon on Jan. 1. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

Ahead of the matchup against the Bulldogs and former Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead — who is currently the head coach at Mississippi State — Kirk Ferentz talked about the game ahead, as well as his players:

This is your sixth Outback Bowl. Is going to the same bowl seemingly every year — I’m just joking about that — is that a good problem to have?
If you think about it, that really only affects the coaches. As I mentioned, we have 70 guys on this trip who have never been here. For them, it’s totally new and the way I put it and as I told our guys this, we’re fortunate in that we have earned the bowl trip, we’re fortunate we’re in a great venue for a bowl and that is one thing we know from experience. The guys who have been here before, there is no bowl fatigue for them. For the 70 other guys, this is all a new experience for them and I mentioned earlier, too, we were on a condensed trip last year, so this is the first time a lot of those guys have been on a real extended, week-long bowl trip.

You have talked about facing the 2013 LSU team having so many talented players. Does this Mississippi State team remind you of them?
Especially on the defensive side of the ball. They have some really talented guys. They play well collectively. You look at their stats and it’s been steady. Not many teams have run the ball well on them. They do a good job of taking that away and they get you in third-and-longs. Their third down defense and offense percentages are both pretty healthy and they’re good in the red zone on both sides.

Is a bowl game win more to cap off the current season or is it a carryover into the offseason?
It’s what you make of it. If you lose maybe it motivates you more for the next season. Right now, we are just worried about this season. Mostly you want the seniors, in a perfect world, to leave with a great memory and I know Mississippi State wants the same thing. You’d love the seniors’ last moment of college experience to be a bowl win. To be in a bowl game is a special treat itself.

All of what Ferentz said can be found here.