The College Football Playoff committee is instructed to avoid landing a Group of Five representative in the same bowl game in consecutive years.
University of Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin told the Orlando Sentinel that the Gators would have been happy playing UCF in a bowl game this postseason.
Stricklin is one of 13 members of the College Football Playoff selection committee, which schedules matchups for the New Year's Six bowl games. No. 10 Florida is scheduled to face No. 7 Michigan in the Peach Bowl; No. 8 UCF will play No. 11 LSU in the Fiesta Bowl.
Stricklin insisted that he didn't prevent a potential UCF–Florida matchup from happening. He told the Sentinel he followed protocol and left the room when the Gators' bowl fate was discussed.
“We would have loved to have played UCF in a bowl game,” Stricklin said. “I think it would have been an exciting matchup and created a lot of interest, but we also think our game with Michigan is an exciting matchup, too.”
Since 2003, Michigan and Florida have played each other in three bowl games, in addition to a 2017 regular-season tilt. Meanwhile, UCF and Florida have played each other twice all-time (1999, 2006).
Stricklin told the Sentinel after Florida's season-ending win against Florida State that possibly facing UCF in a bowl game "would be a lot of fun. We'd be all for it."
Disappointed fans can blame the committee, but the group appears to have followed protocol, as the committee is instructed to avoid landing a Group of Five representative in the same bowl game in consecutive years.
Last season, UCF defeated Auburn in the Peach Bowl, where Florida is slotted to play this year.