Ohio State and Florida will meet in the Gator Bowl on Monday, January 2 at 1:30 p.m. EST at EverBank Field in Jacksonville. Their last, and only other, meeting resulted in a 41-14 win for Florida in the BCS National Championship game at the end of the 2006 season.
The Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com gives the Buckeyes a 2.28-point edge in avenging that defeat, even though last year's matchup in this game was another lopsided SEC win over the Big Ten as Mississippi State rolled over Michigan 52-14.
This year's matchup is the Gator Bowl's worst-ever in terms of the 6-6 won-loss record of both participants. But having nearby Florida playing Ohio State is a pretty good coup under the circumstances.
This will be Florida's first appearance in the Gator Bowl since 1992. The Gators have a 6-2 record in eight previous appearances.
Ohio State's only other appearance in this game was the 1978 game against Clemson in which the Buckeyes' head coach, Woody Hayes, infamously punched Clemson nose guard Charlie Bauman. It happened after Bauman intercepted a pass and was chased out-of-bounds on the OSU sideline with Ohio State trailing 17-15 and only 2-1/2 minutes left in the game. Hayes was fired the next day in Jacksonville.
It's an interesting side note as the Buckeyes' head coaching situation is once again a story line for a Gator Bowl game. Ohio State played its entire season under interim head coach Luke Fickell after Jim Tressel was forced to resign on Memorial Day for his role in covering up the transgressions of several players who were under investigation by the NCAA. Following a 6-6 campaign, Ohio State hired the Florida head coach who defeated them in that 2006 BCS title game, Urban Meyer.
Ohio State ranks 107th in total offense and Florida ranks 102nd. Still, Ohio State won four games in which it allowed 20 or more points. Not counting FCS member Furman, Florida only won two games in which the opposition scored 20 or more points.
The defense is the glue that holds each team together. Under first-year head coach Will Muschamp, the former Texas defensive coordinator, Florida ranks 9th in total defense. Ohio State ranks 24th.
Florida allowed 20.6 points per game while Ohio State permitted 20.8.
Florida scored just 25.6 points per game while Ohio State managed only 25.1.