The Ohio State Buckeyes and the Florida Gators meet in this year's Gator Bowl. Both of these teams proved to be weak offensively throughout the season, and therefore we are adding the 'under' to our college football picks.
When Florida beat Ohio State 41-14 for the
2006 BCS title, Urban Meyer was the main man in the Gators elite program. Now
five years later and after taking some time to recharge his batteries, Meyer is
poised to take over as the Buckeyes new head coach in 2012. His past meets his
present as Florida takes on Ohio State in the Gator Bowl on January 2 in Jacksonville.
Gators (6-6 SU, 3-8-1 ATS, 6-6 O/U) are favored by -2 or -2.5 points at most college football betting shops with the total currently sitting at 44. Kickoff is slated for 1:00 PM ET from
EverBank Field with television coverage on ESPN2 and ESPN3. Florida is 6-2
all-time in the Gator Bowl.
This venue has been the host to some of the elite
schools in the nation and some of the best players in college football history.
This year the marquee schools are here but it’s nothing like it was five years ago
when the Gators routed the Buckeyes. Instead It’s a battle of once great teams
trying to return to glory.
State (6-6 SU, 6-6 ATS, 6-6 O/U) is lucky
to be bowling in the first-place. They received a slap on the wrist after committing
numerous NCAA violations under the watch of Jim Tressell who lost his job as a
result of those indiscretions. However in a decision that defies logic, the
NCAA placed a bowl ban on next year’s
OSU team. Go figure.
On the field, the Buckeyes posted consecutive
wins over Illinois and Wisconsin to end October but lost their final three
games to finish below .500 in conference play (3-5) for the first time since
1999. Their best chance of pulling the mild upset rests in the hands of dual
threat quarterback Braxton Miller who led the team in passing and rushing. He
threw for 997 yards and 11 touchdowns and ran for an additional 695 yards and
Head coach Will Muschamp experienced a roller
coaster ride in his first season at Florida. He saw his team win its first four
games and watched as they lost six of their last eight games. The Gators finished at 3-5 and in third place
in the SEC East largely due to an inconsistent and frequently unproductive offense.
Florida struggled mightily against ranked opponents going 0-5 while averaging just
11.8 points and 223.2 yards in those games.
Gators QB John Brantley threw three
interceptions against Florida State in the regular-season finale, before
leaving with a concussion. He’s expected to start but freshmen backups Jacoby
Brissett and Jeff Driskel will also play. The first year signal callers have combined
for 354 yards, two touchdowns and six
To be successful, Florida’s running game will
need to step up. Chris Rainey and Jeffery Demps combined for 1329 yards rushing
and eight touchdowns while Rainey also had 28 receptions. They’ll be up against
a solid OSU defense that is 24th in the nation in total yards
allowed (328.6) and 15th in passing 186.2. The Buckeyes run defense
allowed 153 yards per game.
Ohio State freshman quarterback Braxton
Miller averaged 90.4 yards rushing in his final five games and passed for 11
touchdowns. He’ll be challenged by a Florida defense that finished ninth in the
nation in total defense and ranked 20th against the pass.
Both teams are continuing a streak of playing
in a January 1 or later bowl game. Ohio State has played in 16 of them since
1993. Only Florida with 18 appearances has been in more.
Harvey’s Take: The Gators and Buckeyes were among the worst offensive
teams in college football this season. Out of 120 FBS schools, Florida was 102
and Ohio State 107 in total yards.
The Gators will try to establish the run,
eat some clock and keep Buckeyes QB Braxton Miller off the field. If they’re
successful with that strategy, that means were likely to see a low-scoring
game. I’m betting on it! Add the ’under’ to you college bowl picks.