By MARK LONG AP Sports Writer JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Northwestern and Mississippi State will play in the Gator Bowl. The Wildcats (9-3) and Bulldogs (8-4) accepted invitations Sunday, giving the New Year's Day bowl a less-than-marquee matchup. The Gator Bowl pitted Florida and Ohio State last season, an intriguing matchup that featured Urban Meyer's former team against his future team. MORE: Gator Bowl website This time, the bowl wasn't nearly as fortunate. Sure, Northwestern is playing on New Year's Day for the third time in four years. But the Wildcats aren't known for filling stadiums. And Mississippi State is back in Jacksonville for the second time in three years. In 2010, coach Dan Mullen and the Bulldogs were one of the surprises of the Southeastern Conference. This time, though, MSU comes in having lost four its last five games. Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.