With 39 players from the state of Florida on its roster, it's fitting the University of Louisville football team will spend Christmas in the Sunshine State this season.
Louisville will leave for Orlando, Fla., and the Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 22 to prepare for Miami, Fla. The game is slated for 6:45 p.m. on Dec. 28 at the Citrus Bowl.
And the U of L players couldn't be happier.
U of L coach Charlie Strong said on Sunday night that "this is the game (the U of L players) wanted to play."
Cardinal Authority has talked with several players and here's what they had to say:
Senior wide receiver Damian Copeland, who is from Bradenton, Fla.: "It's just big to go home and play in Orlando. We have a lot of guys that are close by and we will have a lot of family there for support. As players, you want to be in a warm state instead of the cold."
Senior linebacker Preston Brown: "It should be pretty exciting to get back down to some warm weather. It's been snowing here lately, so we're going to enjoy the warm weather. We have a lot of guys from Florida, so it will be fun."
Senior defensive lineman Brandon Dunn: "It'll be nice to play in warm weather again. A lot of guys will have family and friends there, it should be like a home game for us."
Junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater: "The warm weather, back home and in front of the family. It's all a great feeling for me."
Junior running back Dominique Brown: "It's going to be emotional for the guys going back home just like it was for me (at Cincinnati). But it's going to be great for all of us."
Junior center Jake Smith: "Getting some warm weather, it will probably be about 75-80 degrees down there, will be nice and we're getting a quality opponent. It's going to be fun."
U of L lost to Virginia Tech in the Gator Bowl but beat Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl and beat Southern Miss in the Beef O'Brady's Bowl in the previous three bowls in Florida.