The BCS Bowls continue on Wednesday night in the 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl between the Florida Gators and the Louisville Cardinals. The game is scheduled for an 8:30 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on ESPN. Currently the odds for the game have Florida favored by 14 points.
This year's Florida Gators exceeded a lot of expectations, going 11-1 on the season and ending at No. 3 overall in the polls. A 17-9 loss to Georgia a few weeks back kept them out of the national championship game, but they've got a pretty good consolation prize in playing in the Sugar Bowl tonight.
Louisville is in a similar position. The Cardinals won the BIg East and pulled off a 10-2 season. They're a good football team but the perception for tonight's game is that they'll get blown out by the big, bad SEC team.
Charlie Strong has ties to Florida, so there's the potential he could be taking this game with some redemption on his mind. Remember, Strong could have gone anywhere this off-season and Tennessee really wanted him as their head coach. Yet, Strong chose to stay at Louisville because he wants to build a program that year after year is in the same spot as they are now.
Teddy Bridgewater will look to lead Strong's team to a BCS win in this game against a Florida defense that is downright nasty. Bridgewater completed nearly 70 percent of his passes this season and tossed 25 touchdown passes. The Gators picked off 19 passes this year and allowed only five touchdowns through the air.
The Gators were 7-6 a season ago and many thought it would be a rebuilding year in Gainesville. Must be nice to win 11 games in rebuilding mode.
It's the third overall meeting between the schools and they haven't played since 1992. Florida is looking for their fifth straight BCS win in this one while Louisville is playing in a BCS bowl game for the first time since the 2006 Orange Bowl.
Florida averages 27 points a game and runs the ball quite a bit, led by Mike Gillislee. QB Jeff Driskel has been solid this season. He's thrown only three interceptions, albeit the Gators don't whip it all over the yard a lot. Florida ranks 114th nationally in passing the ball at an average of just under 144 yards per game.
On defense, the third-ranked Gators are led by First-Team All-America safety Matt Elam. Florida gave up just an average of 12.9 points per game, which ranks third nationally.
Combined, we have two teams that rank highly in the turnover ratio department. Florida sits at +17 on the year and Louisville wasn't bad either at +9.
Louisville is 7-8-1 all time in bowl games while Florida is 20-19.
The Cardinals don't run the ball very well at 127 yards per game, and Florida keeping the ball on the ground quite a bit leads us to believe this game could be close. Why? The Gators will be chewing up quite a bit of clock and the Cardinal defense isn't bad — they surrendered 23.8 points per game this season. If they can score points on that Gator defense, which won't be easy, this game is going to be a lot closer than people think.
In the end, we think two touchdowns is too many points. Louisville has the world against them in this game and if Strong can be a motivator, the Cardinals are the play in this game tonight. We are still taking Florida to win the game, but scooping up the points is our main concern.
Free Pick: Florida 31, Louisville 21
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