Dec. 29 Peach Bowl: Florida vs. Michigan

It's Florida vs. Michigan in Peach Bowl.

After Florida fell out of contention in the SEC East with consecutive losses to Georgia and Missouri, the Gators’ focus down the stretch turned to trying to earn a berth in a prestigious New Year’s Six bowl game.

Goal accomplished.

UF’s reward for a big turnaround season — from 4-7 to 9-3 — in Dan Mullen’s first year is a trip to Atlanta to play Michigan in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 29. The game has a noon kickoff and televised on ESPN.

The Gators finished 10th in the final College Football Playoff standings Sunday. About an hour later, the Peach Bowl bid was extended to Florida.

“I’m proud of our team of how they have embraced everything this year and finished strong and now they get the reward of playing in a high-profile bowl game for the opportunity to win 10 games,” Mullen said. “We will have some more time off to focus on academics and get our bodies right before we get back to work, prepare for the game and enjoy our time in Atlanta, which is a special city for us and our fans.”

As part of his contract, Mullen will receive a $200,000 bonus for getting the Gators into a New Year’s Six bowl game.

The Gators earned the bid by closing out the season with consecutive wins against South Carolina, Idaho and arch-rival Florida State. In the final regular-season AP poll, which came out Sunday, Florida is ranked 10th.

“We are honored to accept a bid to play in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl,” UF athletic director Scott Stricklin said. “I’m happy for Coach Mullen, his staff and the players who put in a lot of work to have the opportunity to play in a New Year Six Bowl. It will be a great week in Atlanta for our players, staff and fans.”

The Gators will not be going against their former head coach in Atlanta. Jim McElwain, who coached the Michigan wide receivers this season, was hired as the head coach at Central Michigan on Sunday and is no longer on Jim Harbaugh’s staff.

“I really like Jim a lot,” Harbaugh said. “I’m really excited for him. I think it’s a great fit.”

The Wolverines, who finished the regular season with a stunning 62-39 rout at the hands of Ohio State, finished seventh in the final CFP standings and are 10-2 on the season, 8-1 in The Big Ten.

UF has never beaten Michigan. The Wolverines own a 4-0 record against the Gators, including  a 33-17 win in last season’s opener and a 41-7 victory in the 2015 Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl.

“I always looked at the Florida Gators as one of the top teams in college football,” Harbaugh said. “A lot of talent and very well coached team. I caught them on TV a few times and we’ll have a good amount of preparation time. Looking forward to the competition and how we can be successful.”

The Gator ticket office is accepting Peach Bowl order requests until 5 p.m. today. Ticket holders can login to their account to order tickets. Complete bowl ordering information can be found at https://florida UF students will be receiving separate information on how to purchase tickets.

Note: Offensive analyst Ben McDaniels will coach the receivers in place of McElwain. McDaniels was offensive coordinator at Rutgers in 2015 and was an analyst for the Chicago Bears for two years before joining the Wolverines staff.



    • Would like to see the Gators finally beat the Wolverines, too, Sparky. I know the Gators have also lost to Michigan twice in the NCAA basketball tournament, and as far as I know, have never beaten them in that sport, either.

      • Joe, on the good news side, our ladies softball team beat the Michigan team to win the Women’s College World Series a couple years back. I think this year’s Gator football team will go into this game with more confidence and desire than the last two games with the Big Blue and I’m looking forward to seeing this. A little trivia here: Florida and Michigan are two of only four schools to have NC’s in football, men’s basketball and baseball (the other two are UCLA and Ohio St.) Pretty heady company I would say.

        • Hey, that’s right, Dan! I’d forgotten the ladies took two out of three to win the WCWS over the Wolverines. During this year’s March Madness I was rooting against UM, because, had they won, they would’ve become the first school to win multiple championships in all three major sports. I was hoping for UF to become the first by repeating in the CWS, but it wasn’t meant to be…. yet. Hope you’re right about this year’s football team being better prepared to face them.

    • Yup! This is a great chance of our online, especially, to show how far they have come since last season. I think our players should be very excited to get revenge against Michigan and our first team wn against the Wolverines. It’s a chance to do a first, and that is always exciting! Michigan dline better strap on those helmets tight because our guys are bringing a new Savage attitude!!!!

    • I have a feeling Michigan is going to come into this game a lot less interested than the Gators. They’ve already announced Gary won’t be playing and it wouldn’t surprise me to see some other star players do the same. It’s human nature to lose interest when you thought you’d be in the playoff. Look no further than Auburn against UCF last season. The Gators on the other hand are going to be jacked to play in a game like this.

    • Sparky – I hope we can beat UM. If CDM can get Jones to be a part of the offense, then the UM defense might be of little consequence to us. Also get Kadarius Toney involved more with the O, and we might just be down right dangerous! Also we have this golden gem that was a part of this article above: “The Gators will not be going against their former head coach in Atlanta. Jim McElwain, who coached the Michigan wide receivers this season, was hired as the head coach at Central Michigan on Sunday and is no longer on Jim Harbaugh’s staff”. This might explain why CJM’s teeth are yellow. Read those lines in quotation marks.” LOL. If you get it then your comedic fervor is as perverted as mine…LOL. GO GATORS!!!

  1. David “UGA” Pollack (sp?) laughing about Florida on the ESPN playoff show when the Chick Fil A Bowl matchup was announced, literally laughing out loud and over the other folks talking on the show about the Florida offense and saying the over and under will be 10 and 12 points . He obviously paid no attention to the improvement in the Florida offense vs. South Carolina and FSU, or over the entire year for that matter. Pretty UGLY of him.

  2. And I am assuming that since McElwain has taken the Central Michigan head coaching job that he will not be coaching the Michigan WRs in the bowl game vs. Florida. Would have loved to have seen him on the sidelines coaching against the Gators. We have less of an advantage now.

  3. This is the icing on the cake as far as I’m concerned. 9-3 (which includes beating FSU) plus a prestigious bowl… following a 4-7 nightmare season…. wow, just wow. Thank you Scott Stricklin and Dan Mullen for a great Gator season. I’m fine with playing Michigan as I want us to continue to be challenged (and hopefully be up for the challenge) by playing the best. Playing well and winning this game will certainly help recruiting and continue to give UF some positive national attention. I agree with Swampy….it’s too bad that Mac won’t be on the other sideline to see the new look Gators up close and personal 🙂

    • “I’m fine with playing Michigan as I want us to continue to be challenged (and hopefully be up for the challenge)”
      When I saw we were going to play Michigan (again!) my first reaction was “no! not again!”. But yea, you are right , we have to look at this as an opportunity for the Gators to learn from challenges. I think our team is capable of winning this game. I’m not sure what our odds are but I would think Michigan will be favored.

  4. And on another note, it will be interesting to see if any players from either team decide not to play in the Bowl game. I personally wouldn’t mind seeing more action from the guys that will be returning next year. Playing at noon on the day of the semifinal playoff games will sure take the spotlight off of our game.

    • At noon on that Saturday you have Florida vs michigan or Virginia vs South Carolina. Pretty sure that most knowledgeable fans that have no rooting interest will tune into the Peach Bowl. Truth be told, there may some good bowl matchups but the majority of the country could care less about most of the bowls (other than the bowl their team is in) and will be focused on the CFP Semis.

    • Actually, playing the game that day increases viewership for the game and therefore interest. And the Chick Fil A Bowl is already sold out. The Mercedes Stadium in Atlanta will be rocking. Great for recruiting as well, as many uncommitted and unsigned recruits will be tuning into the game and to watch the games later.

      • That’s horse crap! Nobody watches games that come on at noon because they want to see games that are more important that start at 4 and 8 that day. Most casual fans will plan on getting in front of their TVs later in the day.

        • SparkyGator. How is this for “horse crap”?

          UCF’s 34-27 win over Auburn in the 2016 Peach Bowl posted a strong 5.1 national TV rating, which was the highest-rated non-CFP Semifinal Peach Bowl in the New Year’s Six Era, according to ESPN. The game drew a total of 8,377,000 viewers. The game was up 28% from the 2015 game and 55% from the 2014 game, according to ESPN. The Peach Bowl was the fourth most-watched game on January 1st behind the two playoff games and the Citrus Bowl between Notre Dame and LSU. That game kicked off at noon.

          • More “horse crap”.

            In its second year as a part of the New Year’s Six group of bowls, the 2015 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl saw significant increases in attendance and TV viewership. The game was between Houston and FSU and started at….NOON.

          • Daz. Been reading that the Michigan fan base is very unhappy with another bowl game vs. Florida. Just another blow out, boring, and meaningless bowl game easy win for them. They wanted a new and more challenging foe. They feel like they deserved Georgia or LSU instead of a bad Florida team. Funny, I remember Florida beating LSU and giving Georgia a battle for three quarters this year. But I must admit, I was hoping for another opponent than Michigan myself. UCF was a trap game, so I was hoping that the Gators would get West Virginia and Will Grier. That would have been a great match up in Atlanta with a lot of storylines. The Florida vs. Michigan game has no new storylines, and especially now that Jim McElwain will not be coaching during the game for Michigan. Oh well, maybe it will be Florida in the Sugar or playoff series vs. Michigan next year.

        • And Sparky. It is exactly the “horse crap” type of posts on here that has made me more responsive and aggressive in responding to certain people who post on here. And then I get jumped on even more while being accused of being self righteous, arrogant, and whatever other insulting comments that come my way for trying to consistently post original thoughts with intelligence and with as much insight as I can provide. But I will let you know this; I usually (not always) do my research and read a lot about topics I am strongly interested in learning or know about, and that does not just apply to sports. And I find that, when I sometimes post emotionally and without research data to back me up, I get burned. What does that now feel to you?

    • The ones who will consider not playing are 1st round locks. They don’t want to play themselves out of the 1st round or risk injury. Everyone else has something to play for in trying to improve their stock against top notch competition. Rashan Gary, a likely top 10 overall pick from Michigan, has just announced he’s going to sit out of the bowl game against the Gators.

          • Ed – You’re right! Polite likely is a first rounder. We are deep at that position though. Who is the other?

          • Sly – Here are those that may make a 1st round pick: CG-Johnson (DB), Reese (LB’er), J Taylor (OL), and Zuniga (DL). I don’t know where they are presently projected, but I think it is possible that any one of them may come out and be gone before the 2nd round. GO GATORS!!!

  5. another tone deaf choice by the college football whoever in charges. i take the athletic director at his word that he knew playing ucf was far more appealing to the gator fans.
    im getting weary of the requirements to continue to be in the SEC, things like this, playing south carolina, arkansas, missouri. im probably in the minority but this game is just needless injury risk to me, a chance to practice you could get from any game. i dont see a lot of interest on anyones part, and in games like that players get hurt, maybe a few can pick up individual draft status, but nothing for the team or the fans as a whole.

    • Needless injury risk? This is huge feather in CDM’s cap and a huge reward for an awesome season. It’s 18 more days of practice, a big time pay day, and a chance to help with recruiting. How do you not get fired up about playing Michigan? And as far as the “requirements” of playing teams within your conference goes (Missouri, SC, etc.), it’s because you are part of a conference. Every conference operates the same way and that’s not going away. The only way you get to pick and choose is if you’re an independent (see Notre Dame). I think you are spot on when you said that you are probably in the majority. Ask FSU fans if they would like to play in one of these needless injury risk games?

    • The SEC doesn’t have any say in who their teams get matched up against in Bowl games. If you listened to the CFP guy explaining the New Years 6 Bowls, he said Michigan was slotted first to the Peach Bowl by being ranked 7th. They didn’t want to send UCF back to the same bowl they went to last year so they went to the Fiesta. Finally it was the Gators turn and they tried for best ratings/matchup. That left LSU for Fiesta. Seemed logical when he explained it.

      • Sparky. The SEC has no say so as to who goes to the New Year’s Six Bowls. The remaining bowls do have SEC tie ins by how the SEC teams finished. If the records are the same, the bowls connected to the SEC have selection preference by bowl status (Citrus gets to pick over the Outback and the Outback picks over the Gator Bowl for example) and the next bowl gets the next best team on down.

          • Sparky. A signed agreement between the SEC and certain bowl games tells those bowls who they get from the SEC and in the order that they get them. So, yes, the conference does for certain bowl games, but not the New Year’s Six bowls. The CFP committee decides who plays in those games without input from the SEC.

    • mveal. If Florida beats Michigan and certain teams lose in their bowl games, Florida could finish in the top 6 or top 5 in the nation. Beating Michigan jumps the Gators over them. And losing to them drops Florida way down in the rankings and slows down momentum on a lot of fronts. I think the Florida players, most of which are returning next year and beyond, have a ton to play for vs. Michigan. And it is going to be a very good football matchup. SEC vs. Big Ten in a New Year’s Six Bowl. Mighty fine to me. Beating UCF and everyone would say…”See, I told you so.” Lose to UCF and everyone would say nothing good at all.

    • Way to think outside of the box mveal. Why should the SEC mandate that we play SEC schools? We could stay in the SEC and play whoever we want. At the end of the season, we could have a committee tell us who won the SEC. Brilliant.

    • I see Mcveal’s point. It’s more from the players’ viewpoint. Admin loves the money. Coaches, too, and the extra practices, exposure, etc. But the players don’t get a lot from that. And the experience could be catastrophic if a player’s injured (I’d get insurance). On the other hand, there’s the test of SEC talent vs. Big 10 talent. Who’s bigger, faster, better? Whose schemes work better, who’s smarter, more composed? The Gators know where they stand in the SEC. Now let’s see where we are vs. the Big 10. You know Big Blue will be pumped. No one’s mentioned Lloyd Carr’s final game, the 2008 Capital One Bowl.

      • guys i am from the overall strategy school. and mine may suck, but it has a longshot chance of being better than the punch a hole and see what follows approach half the world uses.
        priority one, imo, is the state of florida. we allowed, starting in the 1980s for miami, then fsu to at least compete with us. now add ucf to it, and you can bet others are trying. spurrier was right, you play miami. these other schools passed us, from conferences other than the SEC. Florida is a massive state football wise, and the best team here is going to be at or near the best team in the country. if you lose to ucf, you lose to usf, they are strategic losses, towards a goal of maintaining / attracting kids and fans from miami, tampa, orlando, that dont get the gatorsports coverage like we do. you beat south carolina, that gets you nothing. if the SEC would go back to ten schools, i would lighten up, but playing 4 brutal games, 3 meaningless games, and 4 cupcakes, its time to look beyond that imo.
        the state of florida is in reset mode. this coach at ucf is good and hes not going anywhere, unlike Frost. hes going to keep it going. FSU might not work out for taggart, but they will find someone if hes not the guy. miami same thing.
        you have to focus on your base. michigan is a fine program and i dont want to insult them, but they are not our base.
        Mullen had a good season, he doesnt need the win. hes losing a lot of offensive and defensive linemen and weve got to find new ones for next year. thats more important than a final ranking no one will remember.

  6. Because Mac’s dog is a better football coach than he is, you won’t be seeing the same mismatch as last year. Muschamp beat Michigan last Outback bowl; we made them look a lot better than they were due to no physical conditioning and crap coaching from MacNussy. Beating Michigan will be a great springboard into next year!

  7. This is a perfect matchup… All time 0-4 v. UM, last year’s opener, New Year’s 6 after a 4 win season… Our side should be buzzing, while their side was in the CFP just a few weeks ago. I think we could RUTS on these guys.

  8. Making a bowl is the goal of most of the teams out there. Any bowl. Now playing in the what’s that bowl may not be prestigious but it is post season and a big deal fit most players. Playing in a New Years day six game more so. It’s there risk? Yes but it’s also a national exposure opportunity for some. And a good day for Gator fans.

  9. Mveal–you are a majority of one, the only one, who thinks the bowl is a needless game and you don’t see why Florida has to play Cocks, Hogs, etc. It’s called: MONEY. That $20 million Florida football and the SEC bring to Gainesville every year finances a lot of minor sports like volleyball, golf, tennis and swimming (among others) that financially cannot carry the school financially. Only football and basketball make money to support the other programs. So you are way off base. I’ve seen your other comments and you sounded like you knew what you were talking about. I think you missed the boarding call on this train. The Peach Bowl will bring about $4 million to the GAtor athletic department.

    • what isgained by mischaracterizing another persons post. never even hinted not playing the game, just suggested a different priority for the entire program and an approach that may pay off better than the one that is producing empty seats and disinterest all over the country.

      • i was a little touchy about the argument here, sorry. first, i love being “one” that sees it differently. been like that my whole life! anyway, to respond to your larger argument, imo, money is a tool, but its not the goal. my ideas are about the overall goal, which to me is to sustain as the nations top program in multiple sports. i see the state of Florida as the path towards that goal.

  10. At last look I think that the SEC will have 8 teams playing in various bowl games. My information may be dated, but in the past the SEC collects all after costs money the teams receive for playing in the games and then reallocates it back evenly to all 14 schools. I could be wrong and if so I’m sure Swampy will have the current info on this. In the end, this is a great financial haul for the Conference.

    • Dash it was reported we have 11 teams bowl eligible. Most in FBS. I do think there is revenue sharing but i think that has to do with tv rights through the SEC network /ESPN deal not sure how part season stuff works. While the model the conference uses isn’t perfect it’s part of what makes the conference the best.

  11. If you have no interest in this game then you can go play with yourself when it comes on. I don’t care if any wanna be football fan doesn’t want to watch the game. Any recruit that cares about coming here or loves the Gators will be watching. All us real Gator fans will happily watch the end of a very good season at 12 noon. I can’t wait to see how much CDM has us better prepared this time around. Be glad we are in this position to play in the Peach Bowl. It doesn’t matter who the opponent is we are a top 10 team. WTH is everyone’s problem?? We went from complete garbage to a relevant team. Now stop the bixching and show some support. A Michigan win would be far greater for recruiting than a win against UCF who plays no one all year long. You want UCF recruits or you want Michigan recruits? Not even a question to any knowledgeable football fan. Go Gators lets end the year with a big fat smile!

    • Jim if we play UCF we’d be fighting for Florida recruits. Michigan and we are on a bigger stage. Beat them and we’ll be even better. We have a shot at a 10 win season and to flip some guys. Mullen will have some options that we didn’t have before. I’m with you we had a hell of a season compared to last. We’re goin bowling. Let’s make the most of what the rest of the season has in store.

  12. First game for next year. Don’t think for one minute Michigan will be anything but ready for the Gators. Despite their record over Florida, the national perception is Florida is a better program, thus it’s an opportunity to elevate their status in the eyes of many recruits from the Southeast. Go Gators!

  13. It’s payback time for the Wolverines in the CDM era.
    Watch our OL dominate their D line like OSU did.
    Our RB’s should net 200+ yards and Franks will find receivers open for some explosive plays.
    Our D line will make life very difficult for their QB.
    Go Gators, 27-21.

  14. Sports is nearly always about matchups. And this isn’t a good matchup for the Gators. Michigan did peak a little too early. But at their best, that defense was ferocious. They have a physical running game and a home run or bust passing game. In many ways they look like Dawg Scum but with a better fight song. The Gators need to strap up the chin strap a little extra tight. Win the special teams battle, slow down the run (if they can) and pick good times to blitz. Shea Patterson is overrated and can make mistakes. The Gators have to make uncomfortable.

    • Agree, the only post season games that matter are the final four, most of the bowl games will not even be 50% full, corporate sponsors buy up tickets and the schools and media proclaim a sell out. The games themselves mean very little to recruiting, remember Tebow’s sophomore year, they lost 5 games, including a bowl game to Michigan, yet won the national championship the next year. Makes no sense sending UCF out west, should have squared them off with Florida in one of the many in-state bowl games, sent Georgia to the Peach Bowl.