After completing their worst regular season performance since 1979, the Florida Gators (6-6) have accepted an invitation to play the Ohio State Buckeyes (6-6) in the 2012 Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl on Jan. 2 at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL.
The game will air live at 1 p.m. on ESPN2 with Mike Patrick, Craig James and Jeannine Edwards assigned to the contest by the network.
Held continuously since 1946, the Gator Bowl is the sixth oldest college bowl game and the first one televised nationally.
It is one of three Southeastern Conference-Big Ten games set to be played on Jan. 2, getting the fifth selection from the SEC and fourth from the Big Ten.
Florida has participated in the event eight times in its history, posting a 6-2 record including a 27-10 win over North Carolina State in their last appearance in 1992. Ohio State has not played in the game since 1978, when they lost 17-15 to Clemson.
(That OSU appearance, the team’s only time playing in the bowl, led to the firing of head coach Woody Hayes, who struck a Clemson player that ran onto his sideline after catching a pass with the game winding down.)
The Gators are 1-0 all-time against the Buckeyes, defeating them 41-14 for the 2007 BCS National Championship in Glendale, AZ.
In addition to the game being a rematch of the 2006 national championship, it features a further level of intrigue seeing as head coach Urban Meyer recently agreed to take over the Ohio State program in 2012. However, current head coach Luke Fickell will lead the Buckeyes in the bowl game as Meyer does not take over until next year.
Each school will earn nearly $3 million for participating in the bowl.
Florida will be appearing in its 21st consecutive bowl game, a mark that ranks first in the SEC and second nationally.