JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Northwestern University head football coach Pat Fitzgerald and Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen officially accepted the invitation to play in the 2013 Gator Bowl on Thursday.

The 17th-ranked Northwestern Wildcats are 9-3 overall and is the highest ranked team out of the Big Ten, according to the USA TODAY Coaches Poll.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs who are out of the Southeastern Conference, are 8-4 overall and have struggled since starting the season 7-0.

The Gator Bowl is set to be played New Year's Day at EverBank Field.

Kickoff is slated for 12 p.m.