Notebook: New Year’s Six bowl bid a possibility for Gators

Florida coach Dan Mullen celebrates with fans Saturday after the Gators beat South Carolina at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The Gators won 35-31. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

Now that the Florida Gators won’t be playing for a championship this season, the new goal is to win the final two games and earn a berth in one of the New Year’s Six bowl games.

The Gators have positioned themselves to possibly make it happen. They are ranked 13th in the latest College Football Playoff standings. If they win out and make it into the top 12, they’re in.

“It would be huge,” UF coach Dan Mullen said Wednesday. “There’s an awful lot of football to be played. All we can do is try to take care of our business this week and next. Then it’s kind of out of our hands at that point.

“That’s a huge honor. Everybody wants to be in the top four to get to the playoff. If you’re not going to make that, you want to have an opportunity to go to one of the New Year’s Six bowls.

“It’s the next-best thing. It signifies a great season. To be right there on the edge, we’ve got to find a way to win over the next two weeks and keep that a possibility for us.”

Copeland’s debut

Freshman wide receiver Jacob Copeland, one of the highest-rated prospects in the 2018 recruiting class, is expected to make his much-anticipated debut in Saturday’s game against Idaho.

Copeland injured his knee before the start of preseason camp. He returned to full speed a few weeks ago. With the new redshirt rule, he can play in the Gators’ final three games and still redshirt this season.

“He’s going to have an opportunity to get in the game,” Mullen said. “He’s still learning. The injury that he had coming into training camp set him way back in learning the offensive system.

“He’s been back now for two or three weeks. He didn’t to rep (the offense) in spring practice or fall camp. It’s tough to learn.

“He’ll have the opportunity, hopefully, to get on the field. We’re putting him in. He’s continued to develop and grow. As he learns the offense, we’d love to put him on the field.”

Former player dies

Former walk-on wide receiver Kyle Morgan, who played at UF from 2002-05, has been found dead in Tampa, according to reports. Morgan, 35, had been missing since last week.

“It is so sad,” said Mullen, who coached Morgan in 2005. “I remember him when we first got here. As a walk-on, he’s a guy who worked his tail off to find a way to get on special teams. As a coach, you have so much respect for guys that do that.

“Obviously, we keep his family in our prayers. It’s a tragedy when those things happen.”



  1. i know its premature, but imagine ohio state – urban vs fla. or michigan – mac vs florida. or west virginia – grier vs fl. or ucf vs. florida. oklahoma is still mad about 2008. texas would like to play us i promise. syracuse too. lsu wants revenge. mississippi st if they can stretch into it. all of them in the list of 12 just about we will be the top choice.

    we need to play better than we have to get to 10 wins though

    • Not sure Oklahoma cares about 08. The fans might but that’s it. The coaching staff wasn’t there. Could be a holdout or two but that’s it. Most of their players were about 10 years old and probably not even playing football yet. I think it would be a hard sell to use the revenge factor in that game.

      • I don’t know about that, LT, folks up in OK have a long memory. Until this year, I’ve gone up to Tulsa every November for the “World’s Largest Gun Show” (not to be confused at all with the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party”). Last year I drove my truck with Gator-6 Texas plates and Gator stickers all over it, and I got the double whammy — first, the Texas thing, and even more so advertising the University of Florida. Took a lot of heat, most of it in good nature…..but some of it downright hostile with teeth on it! I’ll tell you what, some of those old boys struck me as bad hombres — but they’d vote Bob Stoops in for governor in a heart beat up there.

        • Maybe I didn’t have the best wording but if your Oklahoma you want to play and beat the biggest program out there. Maybe we’re a tad down but my bet is they want to play us more than these other schools due to the branding.
          As far as the ten year old stuff I’m still mad about some things from when I was a kid. I was mad about changing the quarter from silver to aluminum and I didn’t like not being able to change a dollar and get gold for it. Still am. Didn’t like the Georgia bulldogs then and still don’t. I didn’t care for communism and still don’t. I still love the Beverly hillbillies but now get smart has become a new favorite. Big bang remibds me too much of ned on the movie ground hog day…just not that funny

  2. mveal, interesting matchups all, but we’ll only need to get to 9wins to get a shot at one of the NY6 bowls. Once there any bowl win would give us the 10 wins you targeted, but I agree with your assertion that we will need to play better to get to that 10 win mark. Play the next 12 quarters like we played the 4th qtr last Saturday and it is a realistic goal.

    • It can be done, Dan. If they want it, and I think they do. The only question I have is, have they really broken that code, or do I just hope they have? We have about 180 minutes — or rather, 3 hours — of actual football to find out.