SEC bowl projections: Gators have path to Sugar Bowl or better
The minimum expectation for Florida’s post-season bowl prospects has gone up almost every week. At this point, it would be a big disappointment if the Gators slip below the Sugar Bowl.
That was virtually unthinkable heading into this season. UF went 7-6 last year and would not have qualified for a bowl if it had not beaten Furman.
The phrase “bowl eligibility” hasn’t come up at all this year. The Gators achieved it two weeks ago and no one noticed. Florida surged to the No. 2 spot in the BCS is shooting to play in the national title game.
How realistic is that? The Gators should be favored in all of their remaining regular-season games, beginning this week against Georgia in Jacksonville (3:30 p.m., CBS).
If they win this week, the solidify a spot in the SEC Championship Game, which likely would give them the chance to take down No. 1 Alabama in the equivalent of a playoff game. The winner would be almost certain to play in the BCS National Championship Game, while the loser still probably goes to the Sugar Bowl.
The Sugar Bowl traditionally takes the SEC champ (or the next best team if the conference winner goes to the national title game) and an at-large team. The Sugar is one of three bowls that has one spot tied to a conference and one that goes to an at-large team. The selection order this year is Fiesta, Sugar, Orange.
If Notre Dame does not get into the national championship, it would be an obvious first choice for the Fiesta Bowl. The next best available team for the Sugar Bowl probably would be Oklahoma, creating a rematch of the 2009 BCS National Championship Game. Florida beat the Sooners 24-14 that year.
Here are the current projections:
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