Mark Schlabach (ESPN): Alabama vs. Ohio State
Brett McMurphy (ESPN): Alabama vs. Ohio State
ESPN Big Ten & SEC Blog: Alabama vs. Nebraska
Jerry Palm (CBSSports): Auburn vs. Ohio State
Bill Bender (Sporting News): Alabama vs. Ohio State
Brant Parsons (Orlando Sentinel): Georgia vs. Ohio State
Phil Steele: Ole Miss vs. Wisconsin
Ohio State, who remains a consistent favorite among college football experts to make a New Year’s Day appearance in Orlando, received five picks in this week’s projections. Three of the five predictions have the Buckeyes facing Alabama. Ohio State had a bye in week seven following a win over new Big Ten opponent Maryland in week six. The Crimson Tide had a close win over SEC opponent Arkansas on Saturday- the game was rife with turnovers and was decided by just one point.
Jerry Palm has Ohio State facing off against Auburn in Orlando and Brant Parsons predicts the Buckeyes will face Georgia. Going into week seven ranked No. 2 in the AP Top 25 poll, Auburn was poised to take over the No. 1 spot with a win but the Tigers could not hold off red-hot Mississippi State. The Tigers reappeared in projections for Orlando for the first time since week four. The Tigers and Buckeyes have met only twice – the last time was in 1989. Auburn won the game that year and when the two programs met in 1917, it resulted in a 0-0 tie. Georgia, who shut out Mizzou on Saturday, has played Ohio State just once. The Bulldogs defeated the Buckeyes 21-14 in the 1993 Citrus Bowl.
The other two matchups in this week’s predictions are Nebraska vs. Alabama and Ole Miss vs. Wisconsin. Nebraska suffered its first loss this season against Michigan State two weeks ago– the Spartans won by just five points. If the Cornhuskers and Crimson Tide met in Orlando, it would be the sixth meeting between the programs. The series record favors Alabama 3-2.
Phil Steele’s projection of the Rebels and Badgers meeting on New Year’s Day has received picks in previous weeks. Ole Miss, now ranked No. 3 in the AP Top 25 after kicking off the season at No. 18, followed up its upset win over Alabama with another big win over Texas A&M. Wisconsin recovered from its week six upset at Northwestern to defeat Illinois 38-28 and even its Big Ten record at 1-1.