The 27th edition of the Outback Bowl (nee Hall of Fame Bowl) will see the South Carolina Gamecocks face off against the Michigan Wolverines, two of the game's most frequent participants at three and four appearances, respectively.
Michigan is hoping to continue its resurgence under second-year coach Brady Hoke, who led the team to a Sugar Bowl victory in 2011 in his first year in Ann Arbor, despite a 7-5 record in the previous season and NCAA sanctions.
South Carolina is appearing in its seventh bowl game (and second Outback Bowl) under head coach Steve Spurrier, who has his sights on a second consecutive bowl victory for the first time since Lou Holtz prowled the sidelines.
Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. EST on New Year's Day. ESPN will broadcast the game, beginning its coverage at the conclusion of "College GameDay."
For those so inclined, ESPN will also offer live streaming at 1:00 p.m. to subscribers through its ESPN3 service both at ESPN.com and the Watch ESPN app.
Michigan's offense will be led by junior quarterback Devin Gardner, who it was announced on Monday will be given the start over Denard Robinson. Gardner started in the final four games of the season after Robinson was injured against Nebraska, winning his first three games before losing in the season finale to Ohio State. Robinson will not spend the entire game on the bench, however, as Hoke will look to find creative ways to include the athletically gifted Robinson in the game plan.
Michigan's outstanding run offense will face off against a ferocious Gamecock defense, headlined by sophomore first-team All-American Jadevon Clowney, winner of the Hendricks Award as the best defensive end in the nation and school single-season record holder for sacks and tackles for loss. South Carolina racked up its two losses in consecutive defeats at the hands of conference powerhouses LSU and Florida, but finished the season with several strong performances.
South Carolina's offense will benefit from the suspensions of three Wolverines, topped by starting cornerback J.T. Floyd.
Both the Gamecocks and the Wolverines have a lot at stake in the Outback Bowl, as both teams attempt to cap off outstanding seasons and reestablish themselves as elite programs with a victory in a New Year's Day bowl game. The Outback Bowl may not feature teams quite at the level of those playing in the BCS Bowl Games, but it promises to be one of the most exciting games of the bowl season.