Carr to face defending champ Gators in final Capital One Bowl

Updated: December 2, 2007, 9:27 PM ET
Associated Press

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Lloyd Carr's final game will be against the last team he beat in a bowl game.

Michigan and its retiring coach will play Florida (No. 12 BCS, No. 9 AP) in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando on New Year's Day.

The Gators (9-3) won four consecutive games to end the season and were chosen ahead of Southeastern Conference Eastern Division champion Tennessee in the league's bowl pecking order.

The Wolverines (8-4) could have secured a spot in the Rose Bowl by beating rival Ohio State two weeks ago, but they lost 14-3 and Carr announced his retirement the following day.

"This is the bowl we wanted to be at,'' Florida coach Urban Meyer said. "We had a staff meeting today and we were awful excited to go and play such a tradition-rich program like Michigan.

"I grew up in the state of Ohio. I'm very acquainted with the University of Michigan and I've always admired coach Carr.''

Michigan is still looking for its next coach after LSU coach Les Miles agreed Saturday to stay on with the Tigers.

Regardless of when the search wraps up, Carr already decided to coach through the bowl game.

Now, Carr can only hope for better results against Florida than what the Buckeyes had in January. The Gators romped 41-14 in the Bowl Championship Series national title game.

That was Florida's second national title.

Carr won one in 1997, but that seemed like a distant memory after Michigan's shocking loss to Appalachian State to open the year and after Carr fell to 6-7 against Ohio State. He also dropped to 1-6 against Jim Tressel-coached teams.

Michigan has lost its last four bowl games. The last win came against Florida in the 2003 Outback Bowl, a 38-30 victory that was highlighted by one of the worst coaching decisions in former Florida coach Ron Zook's career.

Driving for a possible tying score with time dwindling, Zook OK'd a play that called for receiver Vernell Brown to take a handoff and try to throw downfield to quarterback Rex Grossman. It failed. Michigan intercepted the pass and Grossman, unbelievably, wrapped up his college career running a pass pattern instead of throwing a pass.

The Gators have won both of their bowl games under Meyer, beating Iowa 31-24 in the 2006 Outback Bowl and then winning it all in Glendale, Ariz., last season.

Because the Gators didn't have a shot at the national championship or a BCS game this year, Meyer said the next best bowl option was the Capital One because the close proximity reduces the chance of "travel nightmares'' and gives the coaching staff a recruiting advantage by playing in talent-rich Florida.

"College football is all about momentum,'' Meyer said. "We have momentum going right now with four straight wins and our win against our rival. ... The future, I'm proud to say, is very strong at Florida.''


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press