Gamecocks invited to Outback Bowl

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The University of South Carolina's football team has been invited to participate in the 23rd annual Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla., on New Year's Day.

The Gamecocks (7-5, 4-4 SEC) will take on the Iowa Hawkeyes (8-4, 5-3 Big Ten) at Raymond James Stadium. Game time is set for 11 a.m., and the contest will be televised nationally on ESPN. It will be the first meeting ever on the gridiron between these two flagship state institutions.

The 2009 Outback Bowl will mark Carolina's 14th bowl appearance overall. The Gamecocks are 4-9 in their previous 13 bowl games. After losing each of their first eight bowl contests, the Gamecocks have won four of their past five bowl games, including a 44-36 win over Houston in the 2006 Liberty Bowl in their most recent bowl appearance.

At 7-5, the Gamecocks are bowl-eligible for the fifth consecutive year. It's the first time Carolina has posted a .500 or better record in five consecutive seasons since they had a school-record seven years in a row of .500 or better records from 1928-1934. It also marks the third time they will go bowling under head coach Steve Spurrier in four seasons. The Gamecocks were bowl-eligible at 6-6 in 2007, but did not receive a bowl invitation.

The game will mark the third time the Gamecocks have appeared in the Outback Bowl. They are 2-0 in their previous Outback Bowl appearances, defeating Ohio State in back-to-back matchups following the 2000 and 2001 seasons under head coach Lou Holtz.

Gamecock fans are encouraged to travel to Tampa with Gamecock Sports Travel. Packages including accommodations at the Gamecock Headquarters hotel, the Marriott Waterside, are available now.

To book online, log on to or call 888-367-8781.

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