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Updated: Friday, December 31, 2004 6:24 AM EST
NCAA FOOTBALL PREVIEW
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No. 19 Florida (7-4) at No. 14 Miami Fla (8-3) December 31 Peach
FLORIDA GATORS
Florida Gators
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MIAMI (FL) HURRICANES
Miami (FL) Hurricanes
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ATLANTA (Ticker) -- No. 19 Florida will play its only game under Charlie Strong when it takes on No. 14 Miami in the Peach Bowl in a battle for Sunshine State supremacy.

The Gators (7-4) fired Ron Zook on October 25 following an embarrassing loss to lowly Southeastern Conference foe Mississippi State that dropped them to 4-3, but he was allowed to coach the remainder of the season.

Florida hired Utah coach Urban Meyer on December 4, but he is coaching the Utes in the Fiesta Bowl. Meanwhile, Zook took the job at Illinois on December 7, so the Gators will have Strong, their defensive coordinator under Zook, lead the team for the bowl game.

Miami (8-3) would have secured the Atlantic Coast Conference's automatic BCS bowl bid in its first year in the league but it lost to fellow newcomer Virginia Tech at home on December 4, 16-10.

The Hurricanes had won their first six contests before consecutive losses to North Carolina and Clemson.

Both teams beat Florida State this season. The Hurricanes opened their season with a 16-10 overtime home triumph over the Seminoles on September 10, while the Gators beat them on the road on November 20, 20-13.

The Hurricanes swept both Florida and Florida State last season. They trailed the Gators by 23 points late in the third quarter before scoring 28 unanswered points in a 38-33 home win.

Brock Berlin, a transfer from Florida, threw two TDs and Frank Gore ran for two scores in the final 19 minutes in the victory.

Miami has won the last five games to take a 27-25 all-time lead in the series. Florida has not beaten Miami since 1985, 35-23.


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