Jerry Palm (CBSSports) – LSU vs. Nebraska
Brett McMurphy (ESPN) – Mississippi State vs. Ohio State
Mark Schlabach (ESPN) – Auburn vs. Wisconsin
Bill Bender (Sporting News) – LSU vs. Nebraska
ESPN SEC/Big Ten Blogs – Texas A&M vs. Nebraska
Brant Parsons (Orlando Sentinel) – LSU vs. Ohio State
After one week of action, the LSU Tigers and Nebraska Cornhuskers are the early favorites for Orlando, with each receiving three predictions (including two, Jerry Palm and Bill Bender, who picked them to meet in the game). The last appearance the Tigers made in the Capital One Bowl was 2010, where they met Penn State in the infamous “Mud Bowl” game. The Tigers kicked off the 2014 season with a fourth quarter comeback victory over Wisconsin, winning 28-24. LSU faces Sam Houston State in Baton Rouge this Saturday, marking the beginning of a four game home-stand.
Nebraska is no stranger to Orlando. The Cornhuskers have played in the Capital One Bowl three times since 1991, including two consecutive appearances in the last three seasons. Nebraska’s last appearance in Orlando was 2013 against the Georgia Bulldogs. The Cornhuskers faced Florida Atlantic University in week one of the 2014 season, defeating the Owls 55-7. They will remain home in week two to face Football Championship Subdivision team McNeese State.
The next most popular pick for Orlando was Ohio State, who was matched against LSU and Mississippi State in a pair of projections. The Buckeyes last played in the Capital One Bowl in 1996, losing to Tennessee. Ohio State is a surprising 1-3 in the Citrus Bowl stadium, with their win coming in 1985 against BYU. However, the Buckeyes teams that have been at the top of the Big Ten over the past two decades have always landed just shy of Orlando. The 2014 preseason saw the unfortunate loss of their senior quarterback Braxton Miller to a shoulder injury. Red-shirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett took the first snaps of his collegiate career in the Buckeyes’ 34-17 win over Navy.
The rest of the Big Ten and SEC projections are a mixture of teams. The only other Big Ten team projected this early is Wisconsin, who appeared in the 2014 game. The Badgers have appeared in five bowl games in Orlando over the last 10 years, with an overall record in the Citrus Bowl stadium of 3-2.
In the SEC, three teams also received votes: Auburn, Mississippi State and Texas A&M. Of the three, only the Tigers have made a previous appearance in Orlando. Auburn’s last appearance came in 2006 against Wisconsin – the first of those five Badger appearances mentioned above. The Aggies and Bulldogs would both be making their first bowl trips to Orlando. All three teams won big in their opening weekend games.