Fall Sports

Roundtable: Predicting Florida’s Bowl Possibilities

Photo by Jamie Schwarberow / Getty Images

The Florida Gators completed the regular season with a 10-2 record and sit No. 9 in the College Football Playoff rankings.
With the final weekend of football upon us, we have opted to do a roundtable with some of our friends in the media.
We predict what will happen in the world of college football this weekend as it pertains to Florida’s bowl possibilities.

Michael Pfeffer (ChompTalk.com):

ACC Champ: Clemson 49-10
Big Ten Champ: Ohio State 42-18
Big XII Champ: Oklahoma 24-17
PAC-12 Champ: Utah 21-20
SEC Champ: LSU 45-28
Highest ranked G5 team: Memphis
CFP Top 4: 1.) Ohio State 2.) LSU 3.) Clemson 4.) Oklahoma
Florida bowl game: Orange Bowl vs. Virginia.

I know that this isn’t necessarily the most intriguing matchup for many Gators fans. However, an Orange Bowl berth means the Gators will have gone to back-to-back NY6 bowl games and this one actually allows Gator Nation to really show up and show out since it’s so close to home. At the very least, an Orange Bowl win could generate a little more buzz with some of the recruits in South Florida.
I believe this is the most direct path for the Gators this bowl season and I really don’t expect too many surprises this weekend, outside of Utah winning their first Pac-12 championship (although they are 6.5 point favorites). Though I have Ohio State as the top seed in the playoff, I believe LSU is the best team. However, I have a difficult time seeing the committee flipping if the Buckeyes route the Badgers for a second time this season.

Will Miles (ReadAndReaction.com):

ACC Champ: Clemson, 42-14
Big Ten Champ: Ohio State, 28-24
Big XII Champ: Baylor, 35-31
PAC-12 Champ: Utah, 35-17
SEC Champ: LSU, 63-0
Highest ranked G5 team: Boise State
CFP Top 4: 1) LSU 2) Ohio State 3) Clemson 4) Utah
Florida bowl game: Sugar Bowl vs. Baylor

Let’s at least think about what it would take for Florida to get into the Sugar Bowl. The only realistic path for the Gators is for Georgia to lose big. Then the committee has to believe that Kirby out-Muschamping Muschamp at home against South Carolina’s backup and third-string QB earlier in the season (woof) outweighs wins against Notre Dame and on the road against Auburn, not to mention the head-to-head victory over Florida.
There’s already some precedent for this, as Minnesota has only lost to the 16th ranked (Iowa) and 8th ranked (Wisconsin) teams and has a head-to-head win over Penn State, yet is ranked eight spots below the Nittany Lions even though they sport identical 10-2 records. And certainly South Carolina is way worse than anyone Minnesota lost to.
Also, don’t tell me economics won’t come into play if the decision comes down to Florida versus Georgia. The Bulldogs were just at the Sugar Bowl last season and got waxed by Texas. A playoff appearance is their fans’ expectation. Are they really going to show up to see Jake Fromm play Baylor.
As for the playoff, LSU needs to win big with a close Ohio State victory to jump the Buckeyes into the number one spot. This is critical since it appears to be a three-team tournament this season with a sacrificial lamb from either the Big-12 or Pac-12 thrown into the mix.

David Waters (Gators Breakdown):

ACC Champ: Clemson 52-13
Big Ten Champ: Ohio St 48-17
Big XII Champ: Oklahoma 38-30
PAC-12 Champ: Utah 27-23
SEC Champ: LSU 30-17
Highest ranked G5 team: Boise St
CFP Top 4: Ohio St, LSU, Clemson,Oklahoma
Florida bowl game: vs Virginia in the Orange Bowl.

An ACC team is contracted to have a spot in the Orange Bowl and since I see Clemson taking a spot in the CFP, then that leaves Virginia as the team likely to be selected. The Cavaliers are the next best team in the ACC after their win vs Virginia Tech, so after Clemson beats them, they are pretty much a lock for the Orange Bowl. Then, the Orange Bowl has to take the highest ranked SEC of Big 10 team remaining. Right now, that is #8 Wisconsin. I predict the Badgers lose to Ohio St and then they fall below #9 Florida. With all that said and done, the Badgers or Penn St will represent the Big Ten in The Rose Bowl. That leaves Florida as the highest ranked SEC team left after LSU makes the CFP and UGA gets slotted into the Sugar Bowl.
There is a chance that Florida makes the Sugar Bowl if UGA upsets LSU in the SEC Championship, or UGA loses so bad to the Tigers, the CFP committee drops UGA below Florida in the final CFP rankings. I don’t see that happening, so Florida gets to travel to Miami for another NY6 Bowl in Dan Mullen’s second season.

Graham Hall (GatorSports.com):

ACC Champ: Clemson 27-7
Big Ten Champ: Ohio State 33-10
Big XII Champ: Oklahoma 31-27
PAC-12 Champ: Utah 20-14
SEC Champ: LSU 31-17
Highest ranked G5 team: Memphis
CFP Top 4: 1. LSU 2. Ohio State 3. Clemson 4. Oklahoma
Florida bowl game:Orange Bowl vs. Virginia.

As we all know by now, Florida jumping Penn State took a little fun out of this. Unless Clemson manages to beat the Cavaliers, or two SEC teams land in the CFP, the Gators seem set to accept an invitation to the Orange Bowl as the SEC’s highest-ranked team outside the top-4. While a match-up with UVA presumably isn’t very high on the list for Florida fans when it comes to attractive opponents, a favorable opportunity to secure a second-straight New Year’s Six Bowl victory — in a prime recruiting locale, too — is just about all anyone in Gainesville can ask for right now.

Brian Fox (ChompTalk.com):

ACC Champ: Clemson, 35-6
Big Ten Champ: Ohio State, 31-17
Big XII Champ: Oklahoma, 28-24
PAC-12 Champ: Oregon, 27-21
SEC Champ: LSU, 34-13
Highest ranked G5 team: Memphis
CFP Top 4: 1. LSU 2. OSU 3. Clemson 4. Oklahoma
Florida bowl game: Orange Bowl vs Virginia

Being ranked No. 9 in this week’s CFP poll all but assures the Gators of a New Year’s Six Bowl berth.
In this scenario, Georgia will fall to No. 5 with Florida moving to No. 6 just past No. 7 Oregon and No. 8 Penn State.Georgia ends up in the Sugar against Baylor and the Gators stay in-state with a berth in the Orange Bowl against Virginia, who should remain higher ranked than Virginia Tech despite the loss to Clemson in the ACC Championship.