Two programs with energized fan bases, two terrific head coaches, two top 25 teams and two squads with 10 or more wins highlight the matchup between No. 4 Florida and No. 18 Louisville in the 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl. Gearing up to meet for the first time in the postseason and just the third time overall, Louisville and Florida will square off on Jan. 2 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (8:30 p.m., ET/ESPN).
The Sugar Bowl marks the 17th bowl game in school history, and the third under head coach Charlie Strong, as the Cardinals will face an SEC opponent for just the second time in a bowl game and Florida for the first time. Strong took the program to a 10-win season and his first BCS berth and the second in school history.
The Cardinals used a never-say-die attitude to win a number of close games. Of the 10 wins, five came by five points or less, including a 20-17 win at Rutgers to clinch the school’s third BIG EAST title.
Strong is certainly familiar with the Gators, having spent four different stints on the Florida staff, including the last seven years as the defensive coordinator. He won a pair of national championships with the Gators in 2006 and 2008.
“We’re very excited to be welcoming the University of Florida and the University of Louisville to New Orleans for the Allstate Sugar Bowl,” said Sugar Bowl Committee President Jack Laborde. “Each year, we have the pleasure of welcoming thousands of fans to this great city and showing off all it has to offer – world-class cuisine, trend-setting music, outstanding gridiron competition and more. We look forward to introducing our unique flavor of hospitality to all of the players, coaches, administrators and fans from these two great schools.”
“We’re very pleased to have the opportunity to host these two outstanding teams in this year’s Allstate Sugar Bowl,” Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan said. “The Sugar Bowl Committee has worked hard over the years to present outstanding match-ups that produce thrilling games. In Will Muschamp and Charlie Strong, we have two of the country’s top young coaches and we know both will have their teams ready to play on January 2nd. We have little doubt that this game will produce another memorable chapter in the great history of the Sugar Bowl.”
“We are extremely excited for the opportunity to play an outstanding Florida team in the Sugar Bowl,” Vice President/Director of Athletics Tom Jurich said. “This is a great match-up of two top-20 teams and is going to be a great test for our football team. This is a great reward for an outstanding season. Charlie Strong and his staff did a remarkable job with this young team to get to a BCS game, and New Orleans is a great destination. We know from being in the Final Four last year that New Orleans is an outstanding city.”