The Skinny: The Chick-fil-A Bowl represents a chance for both South Carolina (9-4) and Florida State (9-4) to offset some of the pain of losing in their respective conference championship games.
It's also a rekindling of South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier's rivalry with Florida State from his days at Florida, both as a player and a coach. Spurrier is 5-8-1 all-time against the Seminoles.
It will be the second consecutive game played at the Georgia Dome for the Gamecocks; they lost to Auburn 56-17 there in the SEC title game Dec. 4.
Point Spread: South Carolina -3. Over/under 54.5.
South Carolina's Edge: Although the Seminoles are fairly balanced on offense, they do tend a bit toward the run, which is a good matchup for South Carolina's defense, which ranks ninth in the nation with 104.3 rushing yards allowed per game. The one **** in that armor has been Cam Newton, and while Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder is a threat to run, he's not in Newton's league.
Florida State's Edge: The Seminoles rank second in the nation with 3.54 sacks per game, and if they can get pressure on South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia, he is prone to making mistakes. Brandon Jenkins leads Florida State with 13 sacks, which ranks second in the nation behind Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers (15.5).
The Quarterbacks: Garcia, a junior, has enjoyed the most productive season of his career, throwing for 2,816 yards with 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while rushing for 208 yards and six scores. But Garcia's mistakes in big spots have been a concern. He lost fumbles on consecutive drives in the fourth quarter of a 35-27 loss at Auburn in the regular season, and he threw two interceptions in four games, including three of the Gamecocks' four losses.
Ponder was slowed by an elbow injury late in the season, causing him to miss two games, including the 44-33 loss to Virginia Tech in the ACC title game, but he is expected to play in the bowl game. Although he hasn't come close to matching his rushing output as a sophomore, Ponder is still a threat to run; he has rushed for 177 yards and four touchdowns this year. He has also improved as a passer, throwing for 2,038 yards with 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season. If Ponder can't play, the Seminoles have a capable backup in E.J. Manuel, who led them to a victory against West Virginia in last year's Gator Bowl.
NFL Prospects: South Carolina - DE Cliff Matthews, OT Jarriel King. Florida State - C Rodney Hudson, QB Christian Ponder, DE Markus White.
Bowl history: South Carolina is 4-11 all-time in bowls and has won only one of four bowl games under Spurrier. The Gamecocks played in this bowl game once, when it was called the Peach Bowl, losing 14-3 to West Virginia in 1969.
This marks Florida State's 29th consecutive year playing a bowl game, the longest streak in the nation. The Seminoles hold a 23-14-2 record in bowl games, and they went 14 years without losing one beginning in 1982.
South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore (1,198 rushing yards) and Alshon Jeffery (1,387 passing yards) are the first duo in school history to give the Gamecocks a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver in the same season. ... The Gamecocks and Seminoles shared two common opponents this season - both beat Clemson and Florida.