The internet was abuzz Sunday night once the teams were chosen for the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. Nobody predicted Minnesota or Missouri to play in Orlando at the beginning of the season, but both will spend the holidays in Central Florida.
The Missouri Tigers won their second-consecutive SEC East title in their third year in the conference. The lethal combination of defensive ends Shane Ray and Markus Golden led Mizzou to 10 wins for the third time in five years.
Missouri’s defense will have its hands full with Minnesota running back David Cobb, who set the school’s single-season rushing record currently with 1,548 rushing yards on the season. The Golden Gophers’ ground game will test Missouri’s top-25 defense.
“[The Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl] have a choice of a lot of different schools they could have taken in the SEC, and they chose the University of Missouri,” beamed Tigers coach Gary Pinkel. “That made me feel really good, as a matter of fact. I needed something to pick me up a little bit today.” Pinkel also stated that his team was “elated,” “excited” and “thrilled” to play in the SEC’s top non-playoff bowl.
Pinkel downright giddy about playing in citrus bowl on teleconference tonight. He believes the selection was a statement about his program.
— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) December 7, 2014
The Tigers’ opponent is equally excited about the New Year’s Day opportunity. Gopher Defensive lineman Cameron Botticelli summed up the overall feelings of the Gopher team. “I am humbled; I am surprised; I am excited. Christmas came early. You know we’re going to go down and play down in Orlando, Florida, in the beautiful weather, and play a quality opponent in Missouri. And I’m just excited to be a part of it all.”
SB Nation ranked the game #10 out of all 38 bowls in terms of watchability. They evaluated each matchup based off quality of each team, evenness of the matchup, excitement of the game, and the morale of the teams after regular season.