Adrian Killins

UF could face running back Adrian Killins and UCF in a bowl game.

UCF

This would’ve been the most desireable matchup for the Gators a week ago. It would’ve been a chance for UF to lay claim to the best team in the state. It would’ve given the Knights their toughest opponent since a disheartened Auburn team on New Year’s Day.

“I would love to play them,” UF linebacker David Reese said. “Own the state, you know? It’s an opportunity we don’t get every year, but since that opportunity might be ahead of us, we’re excited for it.”

That all fell by the wayside as the second-best Hawaiian quarterback in the nation fell victim to a gruesome knee injury in his team’s 38-10 win over South Florida. Now if Florida draws UCF in a bowl game, it’ll feel a little more empty. At least it will for the fans.

The Knights would still bring the nation’s longest winning streak and the No. 7 scoring offense into the matchup.

— Morgan McMullen

 

Washington State

Florida and Washington State have never met on the gridiron, which would make this an intriguing New Year’s Six matchup.

The Cougars (10-2) don’t usually come to mind when you think about teams with rich college football tradition, but Mike Leach created a winning culture at this program and his 2018 team is one of the best in WSU history.

WSU won eight games or more in each of the last four seasons and has been bowl eligible in five of the last six campaigns under Leach.

Senior quarterback Gardner Minshew leads the Pac-12 in passing and it’s not even close. He’s got over a 1,200 yards more (4,477 total) than the next most accomplished passer (Stanford’s K.J. Costello, 3,198) and 36 touchdowns to only nine interceptions.

The all-out attack of Minshew and the WSU passing game against Florida’s 13th-ranked passing defense would make for some fantastic football.

— Mark Stine

 

Michigan

Michigan’s 39-62 loss to Ohio State on Saturday shook the table a bit. The Wolverines (10-2) dropped four spots to No. 7 in the latest AP Poll, and they’ll probably fall just as far in the next College Football Playoff rankings. That means they’re out of the playoff but still in for a New Year’s Six bowl game.

And it’s not out of question that a matchup with the No. 11 Florida Gators could be in their future. If so, it’ll be the second time in the last four seasons that the two teams meet in a bowl game.

Michigan stomped Florida 41-7 in the 2016 Citrus Bowl, which was Jim Harbaugh’s first season as the Wolverines’ head coach.

Harbaugh’s squad has been one of the best in the nation this year highlighted by a defense that sits atop the rankings in all of college football.

But there’s no denying that the Florida defense has been a tough challenge for opponents this year behind its 13th-ranked pass defense.

The talent on both sides could provide one of the more evenly matched contests between these two teams in their history (the Gators have lost all four meetings, two by at least 16 points).

And for all the “defense wins championships” extremists out there, there’s no better matchup.

— Alanis Thames

Mark Stine is sports editor for the Independent Florida Alligator. He's a senior at UF and has written softball, women's soccer, men's tennis and cross country in the past.

Morgan is the sports editor at The Independent Florida Alligator. He has previously covered the Gators baseball and women's basketball teams. He began working at the Alligator in spring 2016.

Alanis is a third-year journalism major at the University of Florida. She covers men's and women's track and field for the Alligator's sports section.