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2019 Orange Bowl to pit Florida vs. Virginia

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The Gators and Cavaliers will meet for the first time in decades.

Florida State v Florida Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Florida Gators will meet the Virginia Cavaliers in the 2019 Orange Bowl on December 30, ESPN announced during its endless College Football Playoff and bowl selection show.

For the Gators, it will be a second consecutive trip to a so-called New Year’s Six bowl, and a return to the Orange Bowl for the first time since Steve Spurrier’s last game as Florida’s head coach.

The Rex Grossman-led Gators — who were without Grossman for the early goings of the 2002 Orange Bowl due to a curfew violation — strafed Maryland, 56-23, in that matchup.

Florida has not played Virginia since 1959, when a Gators team that would go 5-4-1 drilled what would be an 0-10 Cavaliers team by a 55-0 count. That is the only meeting between the two programs in football.

Florida earned its Orange Bowl berth by virtue of being the SEC’s second-ranked team outside the College Football Playoff, its 10-2 record good for the No. 9 spot in the final CFP rankings released on Sunday. No. 1 LSU is the SEC’s only CFP entrant this fall, while No. 6 Georgia fell just one spot after being routed by the Tigers in Atlanta, and earned a Sugar Bowl berth as the SEC’s top-ranked non-Playoff team.

Virginia is making the trip to South Florida as the ACC’s top team outside the Playoff, and is the lowest-ranked team that will appear in a New Year’s Six game this year, with the Cavaliers dropping just one spot to No. 24 despite being obliterated by Clemson, 62-17, in the ACC Championship Game.

The Gators will be making their fourth Orange Bowl appearance. They are 3-0 in the previous three visits, winning all of those games by double digits. Florida also won the 2009 BCS National Championship Game, hosted by the Orange Bowl — and that, too, was a double-digit win, as the Gators downed Oklahoma, 24-14.

Virginia’s Orange Bowl trip is its first ever. This is also the Cavaliers’ first berth in a major bowl since its appearance in the 2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl.

The 2019 Orange Bowl will kick around 8 p.m. on Monday, December 30, and will be televised by ESPN.

Orange Bowl tickets will be available through Florida. Tickets will be available to season ticket-holders through Tuesday morning, then be made available to the general public.