At the beginning of the season, many people would have assumed that if the Florida Gators and the Penn State Nittany Lions were going to meet in a bowl game, it would be a significantly bigger one than the Outback Bowl. However, both teams struggled to a 7-5 finish, and will meet today in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida.
This match-up is a classic battle of speed versus physicality, as the the Gators are the more athletic team on the field today, while the Nittany Lions are the more physical of the two. The Gators' offense has struggled to transition from the loss of Tim Tebow to a quarterback that's more of a mortal type, but they still have outstanding athletes on offense, particularly running backs Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey, who figure to get plenty of work, as Gators' quarterback John Brantley has been. . .well, he's been pretty awful for most of the year.
Matt McGloin has taken good care of the football for the Penn State offense this year, having only thrown four interceptions, but he's made some throws that he might not be able to get away with against a speedy defense like Florida's. Penn State's success today is going to rest at the very capable feet of running back Evan Royster. Royster is a powerful runner with good instincts, and he should be able to find a couple of creases in the Gator defense to work through.
This is going to be a pretty interesting game to watch, thanks to the contrast in styles, but I think that Joe Pa and the Nittany Lions have the potential to ruin Urban Meyer's second-annual "last game ever at Florida." They just need to be smart with the football. . .if they can do that, they'll come out on top in a close one.
SB Nation Minnesota prediction: Penn State 27, Florida 24