Gators Accept Bid to Orange Bowl, Finish No. 9 in Final CFP Rankings


For the second consecutive season, Florida earned and accepted a New Year's Six bowl bid.

The Gators – who routed Michigan, 41-15, in last year’s Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl – will remain in the Sunshine State and face No. 24 Virginia in the Capital One Orange Bowl, which is scheduled for Dec. 30. Kickoff at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. is set for 8 p.m., with ESPN televising the game.

This will be Florida’s fourth Orange Bowl appearance, and it boasts a 3-0 record in its previous outings. The Gators upset No. 8 Georgia Tech, 27-12, in 1967, routed No. 15 Syracuse, 31-10, in 1999, and dominated No. 10 Maryland, 56-23, in 2002. Florida also won the 2009 BCS National Championship Game at the Orange Bowl site (Dolphin Stadium, now renamed Hard Rock Stadium), as it defeated No. 1 Oklahoma, 24-14, to win its second national title in a three-year span.

The Gators (10-2, 6-2 SEC) will face Virginia (9-4, 6-2 ACC) for the second time in school history. The only other meeting between the two was on Oct. 3, 1959, and the No. 19 Gators came away with a 55-10 victory in Gainesville.

Florida is making its 45th all-time bowl appearance, and it is 23-21 in its previous bowl games. This will be the 19th time the Gators play in a New Year’s Six bowl.

With a win in the bowl game, the Gators would record their eighth 11-win season in program history and first since 2012. Moreover, Florida would end consecutive seasons with bowl wins for the first time since a four-year streak from 2008-11. Florida has already secured its second consecutive 10-win season for the first time since 13-win campaigns in 2008 and 2009, and Dan Mullen is already the first head coach in program history to post 10 wins in each of his first two seasons.