The 2010 Gator Bowl game was a post-season college football bowl game between the Florida State University Seminoles from the ACC, and the West Virginia University Mountaineers representing the Big East, and was played on Friday, January 1, 2010, at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. It was the sixty fifth edition of the bowl game.
The game was the last one to be coached by legendary Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden prior to his retirement. Bowden had publicly stated that he would like to coach the game in the state of Florida — which created what amounts to a Florida State home game. Prior to coaching at FSU, Bowden was the head coach at West Virginia. Therefore, many felt that the bowl game would serve as a fitting end to his career. Forty-two of Bowden's 389 career wins came at West Virginia between 1970-1975. He was West Virginia's offensive coordinator for four seasons before becoming the head coach. Gator Bowl officials confirmed to The News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina that if they had the chance, they would select the Seminoles.
The main obstacle that surrounded the proposition was that Florida State finished 4-4 in ACC play. Under normal conditions, had Georgia Tech lost the ACC Championship Game to Clemson and been passed over for the Chick-fil-A Bowl then it would have been difficult for the Gator Bowl not to choose Georgia Tech because of the ACC's rule that states, "a team cannot be passed for consideration by an ACC bowl partner for a team more than one loss behind in the conference standings." In this case, the Gator Bowl would have theoretically not been able to pass over Georgia Tech, Clemson and Virginia Tech in favor of Florida State. However, Gator Bowl officials stated that under the same contract the bowl only has to invite the ACC title game loser once in four years, which it did with Georgia Tech in 2007.
Both Florida State and West Virginia had played in the Gator Bowl six times prior to this game. The two teams met in the Gator Bowl on two prior occasions, first in 1982 with FSU winning 31-12 and then again in 2005 with the Seminoles winning 30-18. The 1982 game was the start of Florida State's current 28-year streak of playing in bowl games.