Monday, December 11th, 2017

Progressive Gator Bowl

Published on January 2, 2012 by   ·   2 Comments

gator-bowl-logoThe Gator Bowl is a New Year’s Day bowl game that has changed conference tie-ins this year. The matchup for a number of years was that an ACC team would play a Big East squad (or at-large team). This year a Big 10 team will face off against an SEC opponent.

The Gator Bowl started off on New Year’s Day in 1946. It wasn’t named the Gator Bowl until two years later. The bowl game used to be between a team from the Southern Conference and an at large bid. Then the SEC began to participate in the mid 1950’s. In the 1970’s, the game was just played between an opponent from the South and a team from another region.

This year’s matchup is between the Ohio State Buckeyes (6-6) and the Florida Gators (6-6). This is one of three matchups on New Year’s Day between the Big 10 and SEC. Kickoff for the game is at 1:00PM ET from EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. You can watch this game on ESPN2.

This is an interesting matchup since these two schools have played for national championship in both football and basketball. There is another interesting appeal to this game as former Florida coach Urban Meyer is now the head coach for the Buckeyes. So much for wanting to spend more time with your family! I think Urban found out what most of us already know, a little bit of time with the family goes a long way.


However, I don’t think that Ohio State would have accepted this bowl bid if they knew it would cost them a chance at post-season play next year. Ohio State is going to have a 1 year bowl ban in place for the 2012 season, along with scholarships reductions. This will end up hurting the Buckeyes for the next couple of years.

This is a game between 2 offensively challenged teams. Florida insists that their former coach left the cupboards bare after he won a national championship with Tim Tebow. Whatever the case, Florida has a subpar 3-6 conference record while only beating the bottom feeders of the SEC. Their 3 non-conference wins were against a division 1 sub-division Furman that had a chance to beat them and two of the worst teams in division 1.

Ohio State had some ups and a lot of downs this year. After Jim Tressel was forced out as head coach, the team struggled out of the gate going 3-3. This includes a loss against Nebraska in which they lead by 21 points in the second half. They strung together some upsets before losing their last 3 games and finally losing to arch-rival Michigan in a shootout.


Because of the way Ohio State finished the season at Michigan, I think that they have the edge. Originally, I was picking the Buckeyes because of the emotional lift that Urban Meyer would bring. Now with the NCAA sanctions, I feel a little less confident about that.

However, I am still picking the Ohio State to win this game with the score 18-13.

2010 Gator Bowl

Previous Bowl Results

Michigan has actually played in the Gator Bowl before, winning the game 35-3 over Mississippi in 1991. The SEC used to be a regular participant up until 1995. Mississippi has played in the Gator Bowl several times, but this is MSU’s first trip.

Last year, the Gator Bowl saw the send off of the great Bobby Bowden as Florida State beat West Virginia 33-21.


Both teams have been absent from the bowl season for a couple of years. For Michigan, this is surprising because they made 35 straight bowl games before that. Michigan has not played since the 2008 Capital One Bowl, where they surprised the Florida Gators and Tim Tebow 41-35. That sent off Llyod Carr with a win and began the downfall of the program.

Mississippi State has not played in a bowl game since they beat Central Florida 10-3 in the 2007 Liberty Bowl. They have not been to a lot of bowl games but do have a 7-6 record in those games.

Gator Bowl Breakdown

RecordsMichigan: 7-5; MSU: 8-4
All Time Bowl RecordMichigan: 19-20; MSU: 7-6
Key WinsMichigan: UConn 30-10, Notre Dame 28-24, Illinois 67-65; MSU: Georgia 24-12, Florida 10-7, Kentucky 24-17
Key LossesMichigan: Michigan State 34-17, Ohio State 37-7, Wisconsin 48-28; MSU: Auburn 17-14, LSU 29-7, Alabama 30-10

Michigan let up 21 points against an awful Bowling Green offense, gave up 41 points to Penn States struggling offense and have been thoroughly routed by the good teams that they have faced. They also had the highest scoring game in quite a while against Illinois winning 67-65. The only way that Michigan has a chance to win is if they score over 40 points.

Mississippi State has pulled off a couple of shockers this season, like going into Gainsville and beating the Gators; but they have also look very average against some of the better opponents that they have faced. They almost beat Arkansas at home but lost in 2OT.

Points For/GameMichigan: 34.3; MSU: 27.1
Points Against/GameMichigan: 33.8; MSU: 20.3
Offensive Yards/GameMichigan: 501; MSU: 394.5

The story of Michigan’s season is a brutal defense, special teams and kicking game. Michigan’s kicking game is comical, they’ve only kicked 4 FG all year and constantly have to go for it on 4th down. They forgot to bring a punter to their big rivalry game against Ohio State. They have one of the best offenses in the nation, but it isn’t enough because the defense can’t stop anyone.

Mississippi State’s strength is running the football. That’s bad news for Michigan because they cannot stop the run. Even though MSU has a decent defense, this game is going to be a shootout.


The over/under on this game is 59 1/2 points. I’m going to venture to say that this gets broken by a fair margin. Mississippi State will win the Gator Bowl 48-35.

Bowl Game Results

That makes 5 straight wins. If you were betting against the Big Ten today, you did very good indeed. I think RichRod has coached his last game at Michigan. If not, then the school needs it’s head examined. The Wolverines looked horrible at all three facets of the game. The Bulldogs hand Michigan its worst bowl loss ever – 52-14.

2010 Bowl Record – 14-11

Previous Gator Bowl Highlights

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Readers Comments (2)

  1. […] on the rise since Bobby Bowden left. The Seminoles (6-6) upset West Virginia (9-3) last year in the Gator Bowl 33-21. They have been getting better ever since. FSU has an all-time bowl record of […]

  2. […] Virginia (9-3) lost last year to the Florida State Seminoles 33-21 in the Gator Bowl. Florida State was 6-6 coming into the game. West Virginia was up early in the game, but played […]

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