TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Florida is looking to end a bowl victory drought as the Gators started final preparations Monday for next week's Outback Bowl matchup with Iowa.
The No. 16 Gators (8-3) had an afternoon practice after arriving in Tampa earlier in the day. Florida has lost three straight bowl games since beating Maryland 56-23 in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 2, 2002.
"It's a chance for us to win a bowl game ... something we haven't done around here for a while," Gators linebacker Todd McCullough said.
Florida is looking to end the season with consecutive wins _ including a bowl game _ for the first time since 1997. The Gators ended the 2005 regular season by beating Florida State 34-7 on Nov. 26.
"Since then we've had some momentum going ... It's a critical game," Florida coach Urban Meyer said.
A victory would also give Florida nine wins, which was last accomplished in 2001. Meyer would also become the first Gators head coach to win his initial bowl game at the school since Charley Pell in a Dec. 1980 Tangerine Bowl triumph over Maryland.
No. 25 Iowa (7-4) beat the Gators 37-17 in the Outback Bowl two years ago.
"They whooped our tail last time we was here," injured Gators' wide receiver Andre Caldwell said. "So it's time for a little revenge, and show that Florida football is coming back."
*The Gators are expected to be without S Reggie Nelson (knee) for the game against Iowa. "I think he's out," Meyer said. ... Caldwell (broken leg) expects to ready for the spring drills. "I'll be full going in the spring ... doing all the drills just about," Caldwell said. "Contact and everything." ... The Gators are scheduled to practice in pads Tuesday.