After missing out on a shot at the national championship, the No. 4 Florida Gators will instead play the Big East's top team, the No. 21 Louisville Cardinals, in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2 in New Orleans.
For Florida, which lost just once in the regular season, the Sugar Bowl is the Gators' return to the BCS bowls after a 2011 season that culminated in a Gator Bowl win over Ohio State. In Will Muschamp's second season at the helm, Florida won 11 games, went 7-1 in the SEC and finished third in the BCS rankings, just behind Notre Dame and Alabama.
Louisville, meanwhile, started the season 9-0 before losing back-to-back games to Syracuse and Connecticut. The Cardinals nearly lost to Rutgers in the season finale, but got the win and a share of the Big East title thanks to quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The sophomore didn't start the game due to injury but came off the bench to rally Louisville to the victory. For Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong, the game will also be a chance to beat his former team; Strong was Florida's defensive coordinator from 2003 to 2009.
In Florida, Louisville will face arguably its biggest challenge of the season. The Gators feature one of the best defenses in the nation and are allowing only 13 points per game. They also have a lot of experience in BCS bowls, with this year's Sugar Bowl appearance being their seventh in school history. In their last Sugar Bowl appearance, the Gators throttled Cincinnati three years ago. The Cardinals have made just one previous BSC bowl, beating Wake Forest in the 2007 Orange Bowl.
Game date and time
Jan. 2, 8:30 p.m. ET
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, La.
Florida by 14
Last year’s game
Michigan beat Virginia Tech, 23-20.
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