As college football’s regular season nears its end, it’s time to start looking ahead to bowl season.
Instead of typical projections, we’re doing something different: What (at least semi-plausible) matchups would we like to see the most?
Florida vs. Miami, Orange Bowl
The first one was awful to watch, but both teams have made significant strides since the Week 0 calamity at Camping World Stadium. A trip to the Orange Bowl is likely for the Gators if two SEC teams make the College Football Playoff and a third (probably Georgia/Alabama) takes the Sugar Bowl spot. In that case, UF is headed to Hard Rock Stadium to face someone from the ACC. That league’s non-Clemson also-rans aren’t particularly exciting, so a rematch with the semi-rival Hurricanes is probably the best matchup UF fans can expect.
Florida State vs. Texas A&M, Music City Bowl
Eventually, Jimbo Fisher should face the team he bolted before the final game of the 2017 season. This would be a great time, as some of the players he recruited are still with the Seminoles and he might have to coach against Odell Haggins, who replaced Fisher (in an interim role) two years ago. Jacksonville or Shreveport would be more fitting backdrops, but Nashville is the most likely option for a Fisher-FSU showdown.
Florida vs. Memphis, Cotton Bowl
This one has the added perk of being probable, not just possible. If only one SEC team makes the playoff, UF probably gets an at-large spot in the New Year’s Six here against the top champion from the Group of Five. If that’s Memphis, UF fans should be in for a fun matchup. The Tigers have a top-10 scoring offense and an exciting running back, Kenneth Gainwell, plus a mediocre defense the Gators should exploit. What better way to end the season than a shootout in Texas? Bonus points if FSU ends up hiring Memphis coach Mike Norvell.
FSU vs. Kentucky, Gator Bowl
Hurricane Dorian forced the Seminoles’ to move their opener from Jacksonville to Tallahassee, so ending the season at TIAA Bank Field would be a nice consolation prize for the city and fan base. We chose Kentucky as the opponent because of the possibility Mark Stoops ends up as the Seminoles’ head coach.
Indiana or Minnesota in the Outback Bowl
No feasible SEC candidate is especially enticing, so we’ll ignore that part of the matchup and focus on the Big Ten. Indiana coach Tom Allen began his coaching career at now-defunct Temple Heights Christian, so this would be a homecoming for him and a handful of his Hoosiers. Gophers coach P.J. Fleck previously coached at Raymond James Stadium as a Bucs assistant under Greg Schiano in 2012. Both have entertaining teams in the middle of excellent seasons.
UCF vs. Florida Atlantic, Gasparilla Bowl
It’s never boring when Lane Kiffin comes to town. Let’s have him face a good (but not great) UCF team in what would be a high-scoring matchup of two in-state teams.
FSU vs. Central Michigan, Quick Lane Bowl
The ACC has a tie-in to Detroit, so FSU could go here. The other bid goes to the Big Ten, which may or may not have enough bowl-eligible teams to fill this spot. If not, the Banner Society’s Jason Kirk submitted Central Michigan as a potential replacement, and we’re here for it. Jim McElwain has done a nice job in his first season as the Chippewas’ coach, turning Central Michigan from 1-11 to 7-4. He never beat the Seminoles when he coached the Gators. Wouldn’t it be something if he finally got his win over FSU while leading a MAC team?