The Tigers entered the bowl with a 10-2 record. Midway through the season, Missouri looked like it might be making a beeline for the BCS, sitting at 7-1 and favored in its final four games. The Tigers stumbled, following a loss to Nebraska with another at Texas Tech, but rebounded to win its final three games and finish at 10-2 for the program’s third 10-win season in four years, bringing the program to its fourth such season ever. Much to the disappointment to many fans, Missouri would later make their second appearance in the Insight Bowl. They were a 34-31 winner over West Virginia in the 1998 game.
Iowa looked to end its season on a high note. The Hawkeyes started off with wins over Penn State and were the only team to defeat Michigan State. But Iowa has lost their last three games including a season-ending 27-24 loss to Minnesota. The Hawkeyes won their last two bowl games and were coming off with a 24-14 win in the Orange bowl over Georgia Tech giving the Hawkeyes their first BCS bowl win in school history. and made their first appearance at the Insight Bowl.
Iowa and Missouri have previously played each other 12 times with Missouri holding a 7-5 advantage. However, the last time that the schools met was in 1910. The two squads had never previously played each other in a bowl game.