Freebie

Outback Bowl 2002

Outback Is Back

The 2002 Outback Bowl is a rematch for the first time in its 16-year existence, seeing the return of the No. 14 University of South Carolina Gamecocks and No. 22 Ohio State Buckeyes to the Bay area.

Which means many returning fans and yes, most importantly, a rematch of last year's tug-of-war.

The game once again leads off the New Year's Day bowl lineup with an 11 a.m. kickoff at Raymond James Stadium. The game is again an official sell-out.

But, you fans of football-crazed debauchery, don't let that discourage you from taking part in the weekend-long schedule of culminating events throughout the Bay area. With partying highlights like Beach Day in Clearwater and the New Year's Eve Parade & Fireworks Show in Ybor City, the game's almost like an afterthought.

Beach Day, on Dec. 30, allows fans to join the teams, their marching bands and cheerleaders on the beaches at the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort. The breeze at this event is historically a bit chilly, but for those visiting from up north, it's virtually swimsuit weather. This event (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) includes live music, skydivers and a tug-of-war.

The TECO Energy Parade & Ybor Bowl Blast, Dec. 31, is an old-fashioned pep rally featuring the colleges' marching bands and cheerleaders, the bounty of Ybor's eclectic bars and a spectacular fireworks show. The parade starts at 5:30 p.m., with the fireworks at 8:15 p.m.

For more information about the Outback Bowl and its ongoing festivities, visit:

www.outbackbowl.com.

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