How Braxton Miller plays will decide who wins the Gator Bowl. (Photo by Al Tielemans/SI )

Gator Bowl-Ohio State vs Florida-Pick and Analysis

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Urban Meyer’s past and future will be on full display as the Gators (Meyer’s past team) will take on the Buckeyes (Meyer’s future team), but Meyer said that in the present he may not even watch the game due to his feelings for both teams. Both teams had disappointing season by their elite program’s standards, but look to finish with a bowl win in Jacksonville.

The Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl is another one of the New Year’s bowls that gets bumped since January 1st falls on a Sunday and belongs to the NFL. This one kicks off at 1:00 PM on ESPN2, but should be a prime contest between 2 programs trying to gain momentum as they start new eras.

Bowl Breakdown: Ohio State won’t be playing in a bowl next year due to recent NCAA sanctions, but they will still compete in the Gator bowl this year. The offense has grown throughout the year under freshman QB Braxton Miller who leads the Buckeyes in both rushing and passing yards. He and Daniel “Boom” Herron will try and run on a stout 21st ranked rush defense of the Gators while Miller will try and connect with controversial senior WR DeVier Posey and fellow Freshman WR Devin Smith through the air. Miller is young and had his struggles but has played better as of late. The Buckeyes relied heavily on their defense this year which had served them well in recent years (top 20 in points allowed the last 9 seasons) which ranks 26th in points allowed coming into this game. The numbers are skewed slightly by giving up 26, 20, and then 40 in their last 3 game-losing streak. OSU’s losing streak was made even worse by losing to rival Michigan 40-34 to end the season. Losing to a rival is also how the Gators closed their season getting crushed by FSU 21-7 prompting their coach to call them “soft” which is never a good thing. The Gators have dropped 6 of their last 8 with their only 2 wins coming at home over Vandy and Furman. Florida’s main problem during their losses has been lack of offense. Sr. Quarterback Jeff Brantley has been injured and ineffective, and he may not play the whole game in this one if Florida tries to work in one of their young QB’s who have also struggled. This game will most likely be low-scoring with both offenses rank dreadfully in total yards, Florida at 102 and OSU at 107. Recently, the Buckeyes offense has been doing better and the Gators has been trending down. That fact and the Buckeyes recent off-season success (victories in their last 2 bowl games both in January) make me lean towards Ohio State to go into Jacksonville and take an in-state bowl away from the Gators.

Pro Prospects: Jeff Demps-FLA-RB: Demps is a threat to score every time he touches the ball since he’s just straight-up speed. His versatility and durability have been questioned so he will probably come off the board in the 5th or 6th round but is a highlight reel in the making. Chris Rainey-FLA-RB: Rainey comes with some serious character issues including a stalking charge which, if the story’s true, shows the man is crazy. Rainey has speed and quickness but is on the small side for an every down back. His stock is volatile since in the right system, he has Darren Sproles upside, but he comes with huge risk. He’ll probably go round 5 or 6. Jaye Howard-DT-FLA: Howard  had some huge games this year where he completely dominated. There is some concern whether he can excel against elite competition, but his talent and versatility will probably get him drafted in the 4th or 5th round. Daniel “Boom” Herron-OSU-RB: Herron is a power back without the size necessary to be a power back in the NFL. He has skills in the receiving game and can block very well so he could develop into a nice 3rd down back. He’ll probably go in the 4th or 5th round. Mike Adams-OSU-OT: Adams is a big offensive tackle that could develop into an anchor for an offensive line in the NFL. His ability to block in the run game makes him a late 1st early second round pick. Michael Brewster-OSU-OL: Brewster plays alongside Adams on the Buckeyes O-line. He’s the best center prospect in the draft and has been compared to Nick Mangold in terms of his ability to anchor a line. He should go in the middle of the first round but if he falls to the end, he’ll be a steal for a playoff team.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of our ongoing series for our Bowl Mania. You can find the same type of analysis for the  Chick-fil-ALibertyKraft Fight Hunger, Meineke Car Care Bowl of TexasMusic City, PinstripeArmed Forces,   and the Sun Bowls. Or check out the  IndependencePoinsettiaBeef ‘O’ Brady’sLittle Caesars AlamoChamps SportsHolidayMilitaryBelkNew OrleansMAACO Las VegasNew MexicoHawaii, and Idaho Potato Bowls to see how accurate our breakdown was.

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Tags: Bowl Mania Bowl Picks Braxton Miller College Football Picks Florida Gator Bowl Jeff Demps NCAA Football Ohio State Urban Meyer

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