For over six and a half decades, the Gator Bowl has been among the most famous annual football games on the calendar. It has dished up some epic clashes over the years on its way to showcasing what makes college football so special. The latest edition of this annual extravaganza is now just around the corner with teams vying for a headlining place this year. Thousands of football fans from all across the country are expected to buy 2014 Gator Bowl tickets and go to Jacksonville to enjoy this epic event. This is a wonderful exhibition of college football and fans cannot wait to watch the fireworks go off live.
How it Started
The city of Jacksonville has had a long association with college football. In football terms, the city first made its mark in the year 1933 when the first edition of the annual Florida versus Georgia Football Classic was held. That kick started Jacksonville’s football tradition and it has gone on from strength to strength ever since.
Thirteen years after the inaugural Florida versus Georgia Football Classic took place; the Gator Bowl arrived on to the scene to add its own legacy to the mix. It is said that it was Charles Hilty, Sr. who came up with the concept. He then joined the likes of W.C. Ivey, Maurice Cherry and Ray McCarthy to stump up ten thousand dollars to get the first edition of the Gator Bowl underway. The game was played on 1st January 1946 at the Fairfield Stadium and it was attended by just seven thousand three hundred and sixty two fans. Wake Forest Demon Deacons won the encounter by beating South Carolina Gamecocks by a 26-14 margin.
Growth in Stature
Even though the first three installments of the Gator Bowl failed to attract a big audience, the people behind the scene kept on working. Things began to look up by the time Clemson Tigers took on Missouri Tigers in 1949. Sixteen thousand six hundred and sixty six fans came to watch the 1948 edition but next year saw that figure go up to thirty two thousand nine hundred and thirty nine. It was a huge increase and from that point onwards the attendance numbers have kept on soaring. It is attended by around sixty to seventy thousand fans on a regular basis to make it one of the biggest annual college football games on the calendar.
Most Appearances and Wins
Clemson and Florida have made it to the Gator Bowl nine times each. Georgia Tech, Florida State, West Virginia and North Carolina are second on the list with seven appearances each while Auburn have qualified for the game on half a dozen occasions. Florida leads the win count as well with seven triumphs in nine attempts. Florida are second on the list with six wins whereas North Carolina have come out with five wins to capture third spot in terms of most wins.
The 2014 Gator Bowl will provide another chance for schools to add their name to the winners list. It promises to be another humdinger of a clash, one that football fans just can’t afford to miss out on.