Virginia finished 24th in the final College Football Playoffs rankings, making them the highest ACC team behind Clemson, who is headed to the Playoffs. Florida finished ranked 9th as the highest SEC team behind LSU, who is also headed to the Playoffs and No. 5 Georgia, who was sent to the Sugar Bowl.
This is Virginia’s third straight bowl game and 21st in program history. The Hoos have an 8-12 overall bowl record.
For Florida, this is their second year in a row making a bowl game and 45th in program history with a 23-21 overall bowl record. This is the fourth time the Gators have made the Orange Bowl, winning each of their three previous appearances, the last coming in 2001 over Maryland.
Last year, Virginia shut down its SEC opponent in the Belk Bowl, a 28-0 blow out over South Carolina. Meanwhile Florida dispatched Michigan in last year’s Peach Bowl, 41-15.
Florida finished the regular season with a 10-2 overall record. Their only two losses came at the hands of eventual SEC champions LSU and SEC runner ups Georgia.
The Hoos and Gators have had two overlapping opponents this year in ACC teams Miami and Florida State. Virginia defeated an early iteration of FSU, 31-24, but fell to Miami in a letdown loss, 9-17. Meanwhile Florida defeated Miami 24-20 and finished the regular season with a convincing 40-17 win over the Seminoles.
Virginia and Florida have only once ever played each other, back in 1959 on the road with the Gators ranked No. 19. That resulted in a 10-55 loss for the Cavaliers. (Virginia finished the season 0-10, the second in a three-year stretch where the Hoos finished 1-29 during that time. It wasn’t a highlight era.)
The Orange Bowl kicks off on December 30, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. in Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins.