FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING COVERAGE
- WCC: Florida Coaches on the road recruiting
- Florida Football 3-2-1
- Franks announces departure from Florida
- Tight end Krull will grad-transfer
- Recruit Reaction: The Gators didn’t have to beat Florida State like that
- Blowout shows how far Florida has come
- Senior wideouts shine one last time in the Swamp
- Smith sets Florida official visit
The Gators’ New Year’s Six hopes received a major boost on Tuesday night when the College Football Playoff Committee released its penultimate rankings of the season.
UF moved up two spots to No. 9 following its 40-17 bludgeoning of Florida State, while No. 12 Alabama and No. 18 Minnesota dropped behind Florida following losses to Auburn and Wisconsin, respectively, over the weekend.
The Gators seem virtually assured of at least the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30. That game pits the highest-ranked non-playoff team from the ACC versus the highest ranked SEC or Big Ten team or Notre Dame that’s not in the playoff, Rose Bowl or Sugar Bowl. No. 8 Wisconsin is still ranked ahead of them for now, but they’re heavy underdogs in Saturday’s Big Ten Championship Game against No. 1 Ohio State and will almost certainly drop behind Florida with a loss.
Should the SEC get two teams into the playoff, which most likely will require No. 4 Georgia beating No. 2 LSU in the SEC Championship Game, Florida could slide up to the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 against the top-ranked non-playoff team from the Big 12.
Prior to the releasing of the rankings, the experts had been split on UF’s New Year’s Six chances. ESPN’s Mark Schlabach predicted the Gators to play Virginia in the Orange Bowl, while his ESPN counterpart Kyle Bonagura had them playing Memphis in the Cotton Bowl. CBS’ Jerry Palm predicted that Florida would play Minnesota in the Outback Bowl, with Penn State getting the Orange Bowl nod.
Florida versus Virginia in the Orange Bowl seems almost guaranteed now.
“We’re 10-2; we’ve played a tough non-conference schedule,” Gators coach Dan Mullen said on Saturday. “It’s going to determine a lot. You look, you say, ‘OK, we went out to aggressively schedule two Power Five teams non-conference.’ There’s a lot of teams not doing that.
“I don’t know the discussions that happen in the room and all that stuff, but, resume-wise, I think we have a pretty solid resume to be a top-10 team.”
It looks like the selection committee agrees with his assessment. They’ll unveil their final rankings and announce the New Year’s Six lineup on Sunday at noon.
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