Florida Gators to face Michigan Wolverines in Citrus Bowl

Two marquee programs will play in Orlando on January 1.

Florida and Michigan have accepted invitations to play in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl on January 1 at 1 p.m. on ABC.

The Gators are making their 42nd bowl appearance all-time while playing in a January bowl for the 26th time. It will be the program’s fifth time playing a bowl game in Orlando.

"What a great honor for our team and how far we've come this year," Florida coach Jim McElwain said. "A bunch of guys playing their tails off get to come to a great Gator city like Orlando to play in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. I know what a great chance for all the Gator fans to get out there and see the Gators play in a really good bowl game."

It’s the third time the programs have played each other and all three have come in January bowl games in the state of Florida. Michigan has won each of the previous two meetings. They last met in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando at the end of the 2007 season when Michigan won 41-35. The Florida defense struggled all day, allowing 524 yards with 373 of them coming through the air by quarterback Chad Henne.

Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow threw for 154 yards and three touchdowns while running for 57 yards and one touchdown. Percy Harvin was Florida's biggest bright spot that day, rushing the ball 13 times for 176 yards and one rushing touchdown while catching nine passes for 77 yards and one receiving touchdown. Florida's defensive struggles were brought up constantly during the following offseason and helped turn the unit into one of the nation's best on the way to winning the 2008 national championship.

This year’s matchup lines up two of the favorites for National Coach of the Year, both in their first seasons. Jim McElwain’s Gators were projected to finish fifth in the SEC East but ended up winning the division and take a 10-3 record into the game. Florida fell 29-15 to Alabama on Saturday in the SEC Championship Game.

Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines are 9-3 with losses to Michigan State, Ohio State and Utah. Neither team had high expectations coming into the season and both overachieved in the first season under a new coach.

Florida and Michigan will also meet to open the 2017 at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.

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