Kan Li / Scout

Florida Gators drop in final rankings

Florida’s SEC Championship Game loss didn’t drop them far in the polls.

The Gators came in at No. 18 in the Coaches Poll and No. 19 in the Associated Press Poll that were released late Sunday morning.

The Crimson Tide stayed at No. 2 with the win. Other SEC teams and Florida opponents in the final top 25 are No. 8/9 Florida State, No. 15/16 Ole Miss, No. 21/22 LSU and No. 25/NR Georgia.

The top four in the College Football Playoff was No. 1 Clemson, No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Michigan State and No. 4 Oklahoma. Clemson and Oklahoma will meet in the Orange Bowl while Alabama and Michigan State meet in the Cotton Bowl. The full playoff rankings will be released at 3 p.m.

Florida’s loss to Alabama came in familiar fashion. The defense was stout in the first half to keep the Gators in the game but was worn out after the offense repeatedly struggled to get anything going. Florida’s rushing attack could muster just 15 yards while Treon Harris went 9-24 through the air for 165 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Alabama iced the game on the back of running back Derrick Henry. The Heisman Trophy candidate had 44 carries for 189 yards -- nine yards more than the entire Florida offense -- and one touchdown. Freshman receiver Calvin Ridley had eight receptions for 102 yards, including a 55-yard reception in double coverage that set up the Crimson Tide’s go-ahead score.

Florida now awaits its bowl game, which will be released late Sunday afternoon. Most bowl projections have the Gators matched up with Michigan in the Citrus Bowl on January 1. It would mean two of the favorites for national coach of the year -- Jim Harbaugh and Jim McElwain -- would face off. Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin, who served as interim coach at Florida when Will Muschamp was fired, left to become the head coach at Maryland and isn’t expected to be with the Wolverines during their bowl game.

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