As expected, Michigan was selected tonight to play in the Gator bowl on New Years Day in Jacksonville, FL. The opponent, somewhat unexpectedly, is Mississippi State. Press release:
Dec. 5, 2010
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The University of Michigan football program will participate in the 40th bowl game in program history, facing No. 21 Mississippi State University in the 2011 Gator Bowl at EverBank Field on New Year's Day 2011. The game will kick off at 1:30 p.m. EST and will be nationally televised by ESPN2.
"We are excited about representing the Big Ten Conference in the Gator Bowl," said director of athletics Dave Brandon. "Our players, coaches and football support staff have worked hard all season and this is a great reward for them. We have great alumni and fan support in the Sunshine State, and I anticipate a large Michigan contingent in Jacksonville."
This will be the third time that Michigan has played in the Gator Bowl. The Wolverines' initial appearance came on Dec. 28, 1976, a 17-15 loss to North Carolina. Michigan evened its Gator Bowl mark with a dominating 35-3 victory over Mississippi on Jan. 1, 1991.
The Wolverines (7-5, 3-5 Big Ten) will face the Bulldogs (8-4, 4-4 SEC) for the first time in a school. This will be the 30th time that Michigan faces an SEC school (23-5-1 record all-time), with the Wolverines compiling a 7-3 mark against the conference in bowl games. U-M has compiled a 19-20 record in bowl games and will be looking to even its mark with a victory in the Gator Bowl.
This is the first year of a four-year agreement between the Big Ten, SEC and the Gator Bowl. Visit www.gatorbowl.com for more information on the 2011 Gator Bowl.
Ticket Information: The U-M Athletic Ticket Office will begin selling tickets to the 2011 Gator Bowl on Monday, Dec. 6, at 8:30 a.m. EST. Tickets range from $65 to $130, and will be assigned based on the Victors Club priority point program. Fans can purchase tickets online at MGoBlue.com/tickets or by calling the ticket office at 866-296-MTIX or 734-764-0247.
Alumni Tour: The Alumni Association is taking reservations for the official University of Michigan Bowl tour at 877-513-2320 or www.michigansportstours.com. Please note that this tour will include game tickets. You can also find information about the U-M bowl pep rally featuring the team, marching band and cheerleaders and a pregame tailgate at www.umalumni.com or by calling 800-847-4764.
Comments from Michigan Head Coach Rich Rodriguez
About playing in the Gator Bowl ... "We are excited about the opportunity to play a very good Mississippi State team in the Gator Bowl. They run a first-class operation and our players will really enjoy the experience. I've always enjoyed my previous experiences at the Gator Bowl."
About playing Mississippi State ... "Mississippi State is a great team and has been consistently ranked among the top 25 this season. Dan Mullen and his staff have done an outstanding job. It should be a great matchup and we look forward to playing them on New Year's Day."
About his past trips to the Gator Bowl ... "I have been fortunate to have coached in several Gator Bowls and I also played in it. They do a great job of hosting the teams and making the bowl experience a memorable one for the players. I look forward to seeing many of the Gator Bowl representatives who have become friends over the years."
End press release.
Mississippi State comes into the game at 8-4, rattling off 6 wins in a row smack in the middle of their schedule. Now, two of those came against Alcorn State and UAB, so it's not as impressive as it first seems. Michigan has the opportunity to improve our record against the SEC, which is always nice. Mississippi State lost Defensive Back Nick Bell suddenly this year to Cancer, which like, I can't imagine...
If you'd like to help:
The Mississippi State Athletic Department has established a memorial fund for the Bell family through the Bulldog Club. Donations can be made by calling 662-325-3074 or by submitting a pledge through our Dog Tag system.
The department will also deliver messages and cards sent to the family. The Athletic Department mailing address is P.O. Box 5308, Mississippi State, MS, 39762.
There will be plenty more to come over the next few days regarding Mississippi State, so stay tuned.