The Florida Gators (6-5) will meet the East Carolina Pirates (8-4) in the Birmingham Bowl on January 3, 2015 at 11 a.m. CT. The game will air on either ESPN or ESPN2.
The SEC had 12 bowl eligible teams this year, more than the slotted amount and the 6-5 Gators were likely near the bottom of the totem poll when SEC teams were being selected. While other options closer to home, namely the Taxslayer bowl in Jacksonville — who sent representatives to every Gator home game and to Florida’s game in Tallahassee as well as versus Georgia this season — the Gators eventually found their way to Birmingham, home base of the SEC.
“We are excited to be headed to Birmingham for the Birmingham Bowl,” said athletics director Jeremy Foley. “Our players, coaches and staff are looking forward to traveling to the home of the conference office and representing the University of Florida.”
Florida has played at the host site of Legion Field twice in their history, with the last appearance coming in the second ever SEC Championship game where Florida defeated Alabama.
Florida’s opponent will be familiar — in a way. The Gators and Pirates have only met one other time on the field (Florida won 24-17 in 1983) but the two teams are scheduled to face off against one another in 2015 when the Pirates travel down to Gainesville on Saturday, September 12.
ECU is coming off of an improbable and heartbreaking loss in the AAC Conference Championship game to UCF. The Pirates had a lead with just seconds left in the game but Breshad Perriman hauled in a 51-yard hail mary to give UCF the two point victory.
This will be the first and last game that interim head coach D.J. Durkin leads the Gators and he’s excited about the opportunity that ECU presents to him and the team.
“We’re very excited to be heading to the Birmingham Bowl,” said Durkin. “Our guys are ready to get back on the field to begin preparation to face a very good ECU team.”