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Gator Bowl Betting: Florida Gators vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
The Jan. 2 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville might as well be called the Urban Meyer Bowl as Meyer’s former Florida team faces his new Ohio State club, with the Gators as 2-point favorites on Bovada’s NCAA football betting odds.
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Meyer won two national titles in six years with the Gators. He left Gainesville after last season, citing health concerns and a desire to spend more time with his family, and became a college football analyst for ESPN. But he took the Ohio State job shortly after the Buckeyes (6-6) concluded their regular season with a loss at Michigan. Meyer will not coach this game, with current OSU interim coach Luke Fickell remaining in that position. Then Fickell, who stepped in when Jim Tressel quit in the wake of the tattoo for cash scandal, will become Meyer’s defensive coordinator. This will be Ohio State’s only bowl game for a season as the NCAA banned the Buckeyes from the postseason for 2012.
The Buckeyes, who ended on a three-game losing streak, had one of the nation’s worst passing attacks this season, although true freshman and dual-threat QB Braxton Miller is coming off his best game in that loss to the rival Wolverines. And that unit did improve some when RB Dan Herron returned from missing the first six games due to suspension. And top WR DeVier Posey was suspended for all but two games, but in those two games he has caught seven passes for 124 yards and one touchdown.
Florida (6-6, its worst finish since 1987) struggled some in Meyer’s final season and definitely did this year under first-year coach Will Muschamp. UF started 4-0 against weak competition but then won only two of its final eight, with the offense a problem all season. And that offense will be led by an interim coordinator – running backs coach Brian White – after Charlie Weis left to take the head job at Kansas. In six of their last seven games against FBS foes, the Gators were held to 13 or fewer points on offense and enter the bowl ranked 101st nationally in total offense. But UF is No. 10 nationally on defense.
The last meeting between these two programs was in the 2007 BCS National Championship game, won by Florida. They didn’t have a common opponent this season. OSU last played in the Gator Bowl in 1978, Woody Hayes’ final game. Florida last played in the game in 1992.
THE STAGE IS SET: Bet the bowls now at Bovada!