Would the folks who make the decisions for the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl really match the Florida Gators (6-6) with Ohio State (6-6) for the January 2 game at EverBank Field in Jacksonville? Although Urban Meyer won’t take over the on the field coaching at Ohio State until January 3, the fact that he’s now the head coach for the Buckeyes makes this the matchup that makes the most sense for the folks who make the bowl contracts. It’s all about selling tickets and a Florida-Ohio State matchup would pit the Gators against their former coach, which would almost guarantee a sellout crowd.
Will the Gator Bowl match Florida with Urban Meyer's new team, Ohio State?
Florida won’t find out its bowl destination until later today but it would be somewhat of an upset if the Gators find themselves anywhere but Jacksonville. The Gator Bowl has a contract for the #6 team in the SEC and while the Gators have the seventh best record, #1-ranked LSU and #2-ranked Alabama will both be in BCS bowls – probably in the BCS national championship game in New Orleans -- so that moves Florida up one notch in the order of choice. The Gator Bowl has given no indication that it is interested in inviting any SEC team other than Florida.
The Gator Bowl will make its selection of a Big Ten team only after the Capital One, Outback and Insight bowls make their selections. Who is available could change if Michigan moves up to 14th in the BCS standings, which will be announced later today. If Michigan is 14th or higher, it will give the Big Ten two BCS teams.
Two BCS teams for the Big Ten would likely send Nebraska to the Capital One Bowl to face either South Carolina or Arkansas and Michigan State to the Outback Bowl to face Georgia. That would leave the Insight Bowl and the Gator Bowl choosing from a pool of Penn State (9-3), Iowa (7-5) and Ohio State (6-6). The expectation is that the Insight will choose either Penn State or Iowa, opening the door for the Gator Bowl for the Florida-Ohio State matchup.
If the Gators are selected, it would mark their first trip to the Gator Bowl since 1992 when the Gators beat North Carolina State, 27-10, in a heavy fog that made it nearly impossible to see what was going on at field level for anyone above the 20th row in the stands. This will be Florida’s 21st consecutive bowl game, which is the longest streak in the Southeastern Conference and second most in the NCAA (Florida State will be going to its 30th straight bowl this year).
EXPECTED BOWL DESTINATIONS FOR SEC TEAMS
BCS National Championship Game: LSU vs. Alabama
ATT&T Cotton Bowl: South Carolina or Arkansas vs. Oklahoma
Capital One Bowl: South Carolina or Arkansas vs. Nebraska
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl: Florida vs. Ohio State
Outback Bowl: Georgia vs. Michigan State
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Vanderbilt vs. Southern Mississippi
Chick-fil-A Bowl: Auburn vs. Virginia Tech
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Virginia
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