Gators take on Louisville at Sugar Bowl in N’awlins

Published on Jan. 1 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

Florida will be looking to cap an improbable 12-1 season Wednesday night at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. The Gators will collide against the 10-2 Louisville Cardinals, who are coached by former defensive coordinator Charlie Strong.

Strong turned down an SEC job at Tennessee to return to Louisville. Therefore, you would think his players will put forth an inspired effort as the program tries to win its second BCS bowl game. The Cards knocked off Wake Forest 24-13 in the 2006 Orange Bowl when Bobby Petrino was their head coach.

Most books have Florida favored by 14 with a 46-point total for ‘over/under’ wagers. Gamblers can take Louisville on the money line for a plus-450 return (risk $100 to win $450).

For the rest of my Louisville-Florida preview on, click here.

In other football developments, Michigan and South Carolina waged a thriller in Tampa today. The Gamecocks were seemingly in control until the third quarter when the Wolverines began to flex their muscle. They took their first lead on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Devin Gardner to Jeremy Gallon.

The game would go back and forth the rest of the way with South Carolina getting a momentum shift when Jadaveon Clowney created a turnover with a spine-rattling hit that came one play after the referee unfathomably gave Michigan a first down when the ball was clearly short of the marker. (PLEASE suspend that guy for such an incomprehensible act!)

With 11 seconds remaining, Brady Hoke’s team held a 28-27 advantage with the Gamecocks 32 yards from the end zone. But Dylan Thompson threw his second TD pass of the day, finding Bruce Ellington for the game-winning scoring strike. For our purposes, the ending was crazy depending on when you made your wager on the side.

With South Carolina failing to make the two-point conversion, it won by a 33-28 count. The Gamecocks opened at -3.5 and spent a good bit of time at -4. But in the final 10 days of betting, most spots had the line at -5 or -5.5. I was fortunate enough to get my selection in early and therefore cashed a winner with South Carolina.

I also won with Georgia and the ‘over’ for Northwestern-Mississippi St. To polish off a 4-0 New Year’s Day, I won with Stanford. All four games could have gone either way, so I certainly concede that it was a fortunate 4-0 to improve my season record to 65-40-1 (62%). Check out my play on the total for tonight’s Sugar Bowl if you wish.

My big plays that I hyped all month (LSU and South Carolina) didn’t turn out as I anticipated. I was fortunate to win with Steve Spurrier’s bunch and LSU lost outright to Clemson in a huge victory for Dabo Swinney.

With Northwestern’s 34-20 win over Mississippi St., the SEC now owns a 3-2 straight-up record in bowl games. On a side note, I’m prompted to remind all that I’ve been calling Dan Mullen overrated for some time now. To the contrary, I love me some Pat Fitzgerald. The Wildcats finished the season 12-1 ATS and won their first postseason game on Fitzgerald’s watch.

FSU finished off New Year’s Day by taking the cash in a 31-10 win over No. Illinois as a 14 1/2-point favorite. The ‘under’ was an easy winner. Now, if only E.J. Manuel could get granted another season of eligibility. Happy New Year to all!

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