The No.3-ranked Florida Gators football team (11-1) will play in the 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl Classic on Wednesday, Jan. 2 in New Orleans, La. against the Louisville Cardinals (10-2), the winners of the BIG EAST. The game, which will be held at the Superdome, will be televised by ESPN starting at 8:30 p.m.
As was the case during the regular season, the Baltimore Gators will be holding two viewing parties for the Sugar Bowl, utilizing the Stained Glass Pub in Elkridge, Md. as well as Porter’s of Federal Hill in downtown Baltimore
The Sugar Bowl invitation is the Gators’ second in the last four years and ninth overall in school history. The Orange and Blue last made an appearance in the Big Easy in 2010, sending Tim Tebow out a winner with a 51-24 victory over BIG EAST champion Cincinnati. The Superdome is also the site of the Gators’ first-ever national championship in football after exacting revenge on Florida State with a 52-20 onslaught in 1997.
While those Florida teams were expected to make it to big name bowls at the end of the year, the 2012 edition of the Florida Gators entered the season just hoping to build on a 7-6 record under second-year head coach Will Muschamp. The 24-17 win over Ohio State in last year’s Gator Bowl seemed like a good start, and this year’s group of Gators proved that and more.
After a sloppy performance in a 27-14 opening week win over Bowling Green at the Swamp, Florida ran off six straight wins, all over SEC opponents, punctuated with a 44-11 pummeling of the Ole Ball Coach’s South Carolina Gamecocks.
A week later, the Gators experienced defeat in Jacksonville (still a weird feeling), but that did not stop this squad. Instead they regrouped and went undefeated the rest of the way. Oh and by the way, the regular season received a nice exclamation point with a 37-26 beat down of those Seminoles in Tallahassee.
So on to the Sugar Bowl, and back to the big time for these Gators. In New Orleans, the Gators will be facing a familiar face across the field, not that this scenario is anything new. Second-year head coach Charlie Strong, yes that Charlie Strong that coached our defense to two National Championships, has the Cardinals in rarefied air this season. While his calling card and resume lie mostly on the defensive side of the ball, its Louisville’s offense that has people talking this year.
Sophomore signal caller Teddy Bridgewater was in the Heisman mix for much of the year until a late-season injury and a few losses knocked his chances down a peg or two. And while he may not exactly be Johnny Unitas (Louisville alum), Bridgewater has thrown for 3,452 yds. this season to go along with 25 touchdowns against just seven interceptions.
This shouldn’t exactly scare the Gators who hold the third-best defense in the country, yielding just 12.9 points per game.
So join the Baltimore Gators at one of our two viewing locations on Jan. 2 to watch the Gators take on the Cardinals in the third-ever meeting between the two schools.