Hey, Let’s Pretend This Game Matters: The Florida Gators will be taking on the Penn State Early Bird Specials in the Outback Bowl. A New Year’s Day game! That would matter so much, if it were 20 years ago. The only way bowl games matter is from a financial point of view; for the team, does a win in a meaningless game matter more or less than any other win or loss in a game when the season was done? Sure, they can use it to sell prospective recruits, but guys aren’t signing up to come to Florida to play in the Outback Bowl; they’re signing up so they can play for titles, get on TV and try to get drafted.
Anyway, on paper it should be a great matchup. Perhaps the best coach in the nation, a young man who rapidly ascended the ranks, facing the cagey old vet; Big Ten power versus SEC speed; the spread versus the run. Except it’s not. These teams are both awful. Neither beat a top 20 team this season. This game will feature wobbly offense and pretty abysmal defense. Also, the last time Florida played a meaningless bowl game against a Big Ten team, they lost the Capital One Bowl to Michigan three seasons ago. (And for history’s sake: Penn State last won the Outback Bowl after the 2007 season, while Florida won it in Meyer’s first season five years ago.)