Florida Gators, UCF to play in Tampa’s Gasparilla Bowl

Miami, meanwhile, is headed to the Sun Bowl to face Washington State.
Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson and the Gators are headed back to Tampa for bowl season.
Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson and the Gators are headed back to Tampa for bowl season. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Dec. 5, 2021|Updated Dec. 6, 2021

Florida and UCF are both coming to Tampa for bowl season. The Gators and Knights will meet in the Gasparilla Bowl at Raymond James Stadium on Dec. 23.

The game will kick off at 7 p.m. and be shown on ESPN.

It will be the third meeting between the schools. UF won the first two (1999, 2006) by a combined score of 100-27, but the programs have changed drastically since then.

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There was buzz about the two playing each other in a previous New Year’s Six bowl game under Dan Mullen, but that did not materialize. The schools have traded barbs in the past about scheduling each other. They have a two-for-one series coming up with UF hosting the Knights in 2024 and 2033 and UCF hosting Florida in 2030.

The Gators (6-6) will enter at an interesting time, in the early days of the Billy Napier era. Interim coach Greg Knox is expected to coach UF in the game. UCF finished 8-4 in coach Gus Malzahn’s first season in Orlando.

It will be the second time the Gators have played in Tampa this year; they beat USF 42-20 in Week 2 at Raymond James Stadium. UCF last played in the event in 2019 and beat Marshall. The Gators have won three of their last four bowl games, including a 30-3 Outback Bowl win over Iowa in January 2017.

Miami headed to Sun Bowl

Miami (7-5) is headed to El Paso to face a familiar foe in the Sun Bowl. The last time the Hurricanes played in the Texas bowl in 2015, Washington State won 20-14. Miami will face the Cougars (7-5) again on Dec. 31 (12:30 p.m., CBS).

While Miami’s coaching situation remains in flux, the Cougars promoted interim coach Jake Dickert after they pounded rival Washington 40-13. One constant for Miami has been the play of quarterback Tyler Van Dyke. He has thrown for at least 300 yards and three touchdowns in each of his past six games. The Hurricanes are 5-1 during that stretch.

Washington State is 8-8 all time in bowls, while the Hurricanes are making their ninth straight bowl appearance and 45th in school history.

Information from the Associated Press used in this report.

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