TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Florida Gators
Jan. 2, 1:00 pm ET
EverBank Field (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Line: Florida -1.5
This is why I love bowl games so much. Neither Ohio State nor Florida had the type of season either program is used to, but now that the Buckeyes have hired former Gators coach Urban Meyer to rebuild their brand...well, this game has one huge storyline to follow. No matter what happens in this game, you get the feel that Ohio State is heading in the right direction and Florida is not.
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Get To Know: Ohio State
So about everything that could go wrong from the end of the 2010 season until this point did happen to Ohio State. The Buckeyes lost their extremely successful coach Jim Tressel and their athletic quarterback Terrelle Pryor. So instead of competing for a Big Ten championship, the Buckeyes went 6-6 under Luke Fickell. Now the Buckeyes have been placed on a one-year bowl ban as Urban Meyer takes over. But you still have to like OSU's future with Braxton Miller at quarterback and Meyer out recruiting.
Get To Know: Florida
The aforementioned Urban Meyer enjoyed unprecedented success in Gainesville and you would think he left behind a boatload of talent. Well, first-year coach Will Muschamp may be wondering where all of that talent was as the Gators also went 6-6 and were beat up physically, especially veteran quarterback John Brantley. Muschamp has some serious work to do to get Florida back on top of the competitive SEC.
You Should Know...
The Gators have a home-field advantage in nearby Jacksonville, but Will Muschamp's team may have another advantage no one is talking about. Florida teams are 15-1 playing in the Gator Bowl.
If You're Going
You should stop by the original Bono's Pit Bar-B-Q, which has been around for about 60 years, and it is easy to find near downtown Jacksonville. However, don't forget to stop by the growing arts district near the St. Johns riverfront. Jacksonville also has some of the nicest beaches in Florida.
If You're Watching At Home
If you can get your hands on some Rye of the Tiger, a beer brewed at Jacksonville's Engine 15 Brewing Co., then sit back and enjoy a few. Now it may be even harder to make yourself some Gator Chili, but man is that stuff good.
Braxton Miller's scrambling ability and the extra time to prepare for the bowl game, I'm expecting to see a more polished quarterback in Jacksonville. I also think Ohio State's offense will perform much better than Florida, which is debuting interim coordinator Brian White.
Motivation should be high for both teams as neither want to deliver a losing record to these proud programs.
Ohio State 29, Florida 20