The 2017 TaxSlayer Bowl between Mississippi State and Louisville is set for Saturday, December 30 in Jacksonville, Fla. Last year, Georgia Tech took down Kentucky, 33-18. The first TaxSlayer Bowl, formerly known as the Gator Bowl, was played back in 1946, when Wake Forest beat South Carolina.
Where is the TaxSlayer Bowl, and how can I watch?
Stadium and city: EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.
Date and time: Dec. 30, Noon ET
TV and streaming: ESPN and WatchESPN
What should I know about the two teams in the TaxSlayer Bowl?
Louisville (8-4, 4-4 in ACC)
Lamar Jackson is still great. That’s the first and most important thing to know about Louisville in 2017. He is unlikely to repeat as Heisman Trophy winner because Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield has had a historic season. But Jackson’s numbers have been great, and he’s been as fun as ever despite having a weirdly mediocre offense around him. If he’s playing in this game, that will be reason enough to watch it.
Louisville on the whole, though? The Cardinals aren’t nearly as fun this year as they were last year. A tumultuous year for the entire athletic department has included the Cards being generally mediocre, losing to the likes of Boston College and Wake Forest, among others.
Drop into SB Nation’s Card Chronicle for more.
Mississippi State (8-4, 4-4 in SEC)
The Bulldogs have been solid and occasionally great, like when they destroyed LSU by 30 in September. This year’s team has looked a lot more like the contenders of 2014 than the sub-.500 team Dan Mullen fielded in 2016. Its biggest strength is an elite defense, which sometimes gave up big passing plays but more often than not was stout during the regular season.
MSU is bowling for the eighth season in a row, something never done before (or even close, really) in Starkville. That required an APR score entry after a 5-7 season last year, but anyway: The Bulldogs have proven to be one of the country’s consistent winners. They’ll try to keep that up now that their longtime coach, Dan Mullen, is off to Florida. Joe Moorhead should do well at MSU in the years to come.
TaxSlayer Bowl 2017 history
The first TaxSlayer Bowl was played in 1946 as Wake Forest beat South Carolina. The bowl game was orginally known as the Gator Bowl.
In 1978, iconic Ohio State coach Woody Hayes punched a Clemson player. That Gator Bowl happened to be Hayes’ final game at Ohio State.
The game will feature an SEC team for certain. The bowl eligible SEC teams are Auburn, Georgia, Alabama, LSU, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Missouri, Kentucky and Texas A&M. Kentucky played in the game last year.
The bowl eligible Big Ten teams are Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Penn State, Iowa, Northwestern, Michigan State and Purdue.
Among the bowl eligible ACC teams are Florida State, NC State, Boston College, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Miami, Clemson, Louisville and Duke. Georgia Tech played in the game last year.