Florida football: Five possible bowl opponents for the Gators

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In less than 24 hours, Florida football will soon know what four teams will be competing in the college football playoffs.

The final game in the Florida football season will soon be known.

Three of the five Power Five conference champions have yet to be determined. Friday night saw the end of No. 5 Utah’s potential playoff hopes, as they suffered a crushing 37-15 defeat to Oregon in the PAC-12 championship game. Earlier Saturday, the No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners defeated No. 7 Baylor for the Big 12 championship in overtime 30-23.

While the Florida Gators did not participate in the SEC championship game, their bowl fate relies heavily on today’s outcomes.

Capping off a 10-2 season with a dominating victory over archrival Florida State, the Gators are practically a surefire be one of the 12 teams participating in this season’s New Year’s Six bowl games.

With the playoff committee sliding Alabama behind Florida football in its most recent playoff rankings, the Gators are poised to possibly be the SEC’s automatic bid into the Sugar Bowl based on the current rankings. However, should Georgia or LSU fail to make the four-team playoff during Sunday’s selection show, they would most likely replace Florida in that position.

Should the Gators not receive the Sugar Bowl bid, their place in the standings during tomorrow’s selection show will determine whether they will instead be playing in the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas or the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida.

There’s a healthy variety of different opponents from the ACC, Big 12, and even outside the Power 5 conference that the Gators could find themselves paired against at the end of December. Some of these matchups have a great probability of coming to fruition, while others may just be a pipe dream.

Here is a list of the five likeliest opponents the Gators will be playing against this bowl season.

BOISE, ID – DECEMBER 7: Quarterback Jaylon Henderson #9 hands the ball off to running back George Holani #24 of the Boise State Broncos during first half action in the Mountain West Championship against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors on December 7, 2019 at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho. (Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images)

5. Boise State Broncos

Bowl: Cotton Bowl

Path to Matchup: Boise State wins Mountain West championship, LSU wins SEC championship, Cincinnati wins AAC championship, and Alabama moves ahead of Florida in the rankings.

Why Florida Fans Should Want This: Boise State has consistently been one of the best football programs outside the Power 5 for the last 20 years.

During Florida’s second national championship victory in 2006, the Broncos also grabbed the national headlines by defeating Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl to secure the program’s first undefeated season.

The Broncos have an all-time winning percentage of 73.2 percent, which is the highest all-time win percentage among qualified Division I teams. Though the Broncos football program has played 630 games throughout their history, they have never played against the Gators.

For Florida football fans, the Broncos have some qualities that relate to the Gators.

Both teams rank inside the top 40 in scoring offense in the country, with Boise State averaging 37.3 points per game to Florida’s 33.0.

Both schools have the same pair of colors and have head coaches that at one time served as successful offensive coordinators for their respective programs in the previous decade.

Perhaps the most relatable aspect is that both programs were victorious against Florida State in 2019.

Probability: Highly unlikely, as there are several dominos that would need to fall in order for this matchup to be possible. While Boise State is heavily favored to win the Mountain West championship, Cincinnati lost to Memphis in the regular season last week and is a nine-point underdog today against the Tigers. The playoff committee would also need to admit to overreacting to Alabama’s loss in the Iron Bowl and move them ahead of Florida in the rankings on Sunday.

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