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Bowl Projections: Media Tabs Notre Dame and Florida as Top Contenders After Four Weeks of Play

With college football season well underway, the countdown to the 2018 Citrus Bowl has begun in Orlando. After four 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): Virginia Tech vs. Auburn
David M. Hale (ESPN): Miami vs. Auburn
Eric Single (Sports Illustrated): Notre Dame vs. Florida
Jerry Palm (CBSSports.com): Miami vs. Florida
Bill Bender (Sporting News): Virginia Tech vs. Auburn
Jason Kirk (SB Nation): Notre Dame vs. Florida
Brant Parsons (Orlando Sentinel): Notre Dame vs. Florida
CollegeFootballNews.com: Notre Dame vs. Auburn
Brett McMurphy: Virginia Tech vs. Georgia

Notre Dame vs. Florida

    • Only prior meeting came in 1992 Sugar Bowl with Lou Holtz-coached Notre Dame upsetting Steve Spurrier’s No. 3 Florida Gators, 39-28
    • The Fighting Irish were led by NFL Hall of Fame running back Jerome Bettis, who rushed for 150 yards and three touchdowns in the game.
Led by quarterback Jerod Evans (pictured), Virginia Tech made an appearance in the 2016 ACC Championship Game at Camping World Stadium. Could a return to Orlando be in order for the Hokies this bowl season?

Virginia Tech vs. Auburn

  • Teams have met just five times, Auburn leads series 3-1-1
  • Last met in 2005 Sugar Bowl, with Auburn winning 16-13
  • Virginia Tech would be making its first appearance in the game. However, the Hokies did play in last year’s ACC Championship at Camping World Stadium, as well as the 2012 Camping World Bowl (known at the time as the Russell Athletic Bowl). Virginia Tech also paid visits to Orlando for a 2000 road win over UCF and a 1991 neutral-site loss to No. 1-ranked Florida State.

Miami vs. Auburn

  • Met 11 times previously, with Auburn leading 7-4
  • Last meeting was the only neutral-site clash between the two; Bernie Kosar and Miami edged the Tigers 20-18 in the 1984 Kickoff Classic at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Miami vs. Florida

  • A potential foreshadowing of the 2019 Camping World Kickoff game, the Gators and ‘Canes met every year from 1938-1987 except for 1943, but have played just six times since.
  • The Hurricanes lead the all-time series 29-26 and have won five of six since the annual rivalry was not renewed, with two of those wins coming in bowl games (2001 Sugar Bowl and 2004 Peach Bowl).
  • Teams last met in 2013, with Miami coming out on top at home, 21-16

Notre Dame vs. Auburn

  • Programs have never met on the gridiron
  • Auburn has appeared in the Citrus Bowl five times, second-most among all teams
  • Notre Dame has never made an appearance in the Citrus Bowl, however the Irish have appeared in the Camping World Bowl (then-Champs Sports Bowl, in 2011), as well as two regular-season neutral-site games at Camping World Stadium (against Florida State in 1994 and Navy in 2000).

Virginia Tech vs. Georgia

  • Met three times prior; Georgia leads 2-1 in the series
  • Teams split first two meetings, both in Athens
  • Last meeting came in 2006 Peach Bowl, with Georgia leaving 31-24 victors
    • 2009 Citrus Bowl MVP Matthew Stafford brought the Bulldogs back from a 21-3 deficit and led Georgia to victory in the game as a true freshman
  • Georgia has six Citrus Bowl appearances under its belt, tied for most among all teams

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