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Bowl Projections: Mississippi State Joins Miami as Favorites After Three Weeks Of Play

With college football season underway, the countdown to the 2018 Citrus Bowl in Orlando has begun. After three weeks of play, it’s time to take a look at which teams the college football media are predicting to meet on New Year’s Day at Camping World Stadium.

Though the Citrus Bowl has been a traditional Big Ten/SEC match-up for more than two decades, last season’s game featured the Louisville Cardinals, the first participant from the ACC since 1992. The Cardinals’ appearance against LSU (a 29-9 Tigers victory) was the result of the Citrus Bowl’s unique relationship with the Orange Bowl in Miami.

In years where the Orange Bowl hosts a Big Ten team (like last season, when it featured 2016 Citrus Bowl champion Michigan), the Citrus Bowl replaces the traditional Big Ten pick with the top non-Playoff selection from the ACC. As a result of that twist in the selection process, bowl projections now span a wide range of potential match-ups.

Kyle Bonagura (ESPN): Michigan vs. Mississippi State
David M. Hale (ESPN): Virginia Tech vs. Mississippi State
Eric Single (Sports Illustrated): Florida State vs. Mississippi State
Jerry Palm (CBSSports.com): Miami vs. Auburn
Bill Bender (Sporting News): Virginia Tech vs. Auburn
Jason Kirk (SB Nation): Miami vs. Mississippi State
Brant Parsons (Orlando Sentinel): Florida State vs. Georgia
CollegeFootballNews.com: Notre Dame vs. Auburn
Erick Smith (USA TODAY): Miami vs. Mississippi State
Brett McMurphy: Miami vs. Georgia

  • Following its 37-7 victory against LSU over the weekend, Mississippi State caught the eyes of our spotlighted media and led all teams with a spot in six projections
    • A Mississippi State Citrus Bowl appearance would be the first in program history, however the Bulldogs have played in six Florida-based bowl games, including last year’s St. Petersburg Bowl
    • Dating back to 1937, Mississippi State has played in 20 bowl games overall, compiling a 12-8 record
  • Miami is a popular choice to return to Orlando, with four Citrus Bowl projections this week
    • This would mark Miami’s first appearance in the game, and fourth in an Orlando bowl
  • Miami and Mississippi State is the only matchup projected by more than one member of the media this week
    • The two programs have only met five times, and not since 1983 when Miami won 31-7 during an 11-game winning streak that culminated in a national championship
    • Miami leads the all-time series 3-2
  • Only Kyle Bonagura features a Big Ten team in this week’s projections, picking Michigan and Mississippi State to square off in a rematch of the 2011 Gator Bowl, where the Bulldogs overpowered Michigan for a 52-14 victory
  • Mississippi State was also projected to square off with Virginia Tech for the first time
  • A potential matchup with Florida State would be the 10th in Mississippi State history, but the first since 1979, Bobby Bowden’s fourth year on the Seminole sidelines
  • Jerry Palm, Brant Parsons and Bill Bender all kept their projections the same as last week.
  • Brett McMurphy altered his projection this week, replacing Florida State with its in-state rival Miami in a tilt with Georgia
    • The game would see Mark Richt, in his second season at the helm of his alma mater, face his former team for the first time
    • The two programs have met 12 times previously, all Miami, with Georgia holding a 7-4-1 series lead.
  • CollegeFootballNews.com projects an Auburn-Notre Dame matchup on New Year’s Day
    • It would be the first meeting between the two storied programs and also the first appearance in the game for Notre Dame
    • The appearance would be Auburn’s sixth in the game, tying them with Florida and Georgia for most all-time

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