Oklahoma found out that it will be headed to Tempe, AZ to face off against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the 23rd edition of the Insight Bowl, to be played on December 30.
The Alamo Bowl, which was also as a possible destination - a good one at that - passed the Sooners in favor of Baylor; arguably the "feel good story" of the Big 12 this season. Given San Antonio's proximity to Waco, the Alamodome will be packed to witness the magnificence that is RG3.
So in the days leading up to the matchup, I thought I'd dig up a few facts for you to enjoy; starting with...
The Insight Bowl has been played since 1989. During its existence, it has seen 3 venue changes. From its inception until 1999, games were played at Arizona Stadium in Tuscon. In 2000, the venue then shifted to Chase Field (formerly Bank One Ballpark) in Phoenix until 2005, before settling in its current home, Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe; longtime home of the Fiesta Bowl, which moved to University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
Oklahoma's last appearance in the Insight Bowl was a 31-6 loss to BYU in 1994. It was also their last post-season game until 1999, when Bob Stoops was hired. This will also mark Oklahoma's first visit to Tempe since a 32-21 loss to Arizona State in the Fiesta Bowl at the conclusion of the 1982 season. Iowa is making a return trip after last year's 27-24 win over Missouri.
3. The Hawkeye Connection
Bob Stoops may bleed "crimson and cream", but if you cut him a little deeper, you'll find some traces of "black and gold". For those who don't already know by now, Bob Stoops played defensive back for Iowa under coach Hayden Fry, later joining his staff as a graduate assistant. Kirk Ferentz also served as an assistant under Fry from 1981-1989, eventually returning as head coach in 1998 upon Fry's retirement; so I'm sure he and Stoops bumped into each other every now and then.
Stoops' love for Iowa is so deep, that he was on hand to cheer for them - even donning an Iowa sweatshirt - during last year's Insight Bowl, before heading back to continue with his team's preparation for the Fiesta Bowl.
4. The number "1"
Stoops has been in charge at Oklahoma for 13 seasons, during which he has yet to face an opponent from the Big Ten. It just so happens that the first Big Ten team he's facing, is the one he would prefer to avoid at any cost. Stoops himself said that he would not mind playing Iowa as long as it was in a bowl game; anything else was out of question. The ties that bind are strong indeed.
"1" also marks the number of times that Oklahoma and Iowa have met on the field; a 1979 contest in Norman, won 21-6 by the Sooners. It was Hayden Fry's first season in charge of a Hawkeyes team that featured - you guessed it - Bob Stoops, then a freshman.
And that wraps this segment of the "Insight Bowl: quick facts". Be sure to look out for my pre-game analysis that should be posted days before the match. Until then, cheers.