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Bowl Projections: Auburn and Virginia Tech Remain Overwhelming Media Favorites After Week 5

With college football season well underway, the countdown to the 2018 Citrus Bowl has begun in Orlando. After five 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 matchups.

Kyle Bonagura (ESPN): Ohio State vs. Auburn
David M. Hale (ESPN): Virginia Tech vs. Auburn
Eric Single (Sports Illustrated): Virginia Tech vs. Auburn
Jerry Palm (CBSSports.com): Miami vs. Florida
Bill Bender (Sporting News): Virginia Tech vs. Auburn
Jason Kirk (SB Nation): Notre Dame vs. Florida
CollegeFootballNews.com: Virginia Tech vs. Auburn
Brett McMurphy: Notre Dame vs. Auburn

Ohio State vs. Auburn

  • Only met two times previously, the first time in 1917 in Montgomery, Alabama, where they tied 0-0
  • In the second meeting, at the 1990 Hall of Fame Bowl (now known as the Outback Bowl), the No. 9 Tigers defeated the No. 20 Buckeyes 31-14
  • Ohio State has appeared in the Citrus Bowl four times; Auburn has played in the game five times

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 has never appeared in the Citrus Bowl game, but the Hokies did visit Orlando for the 2016 ACC Championship Game at Camping World Stadium, the 2012 Camping World Bowl (then known as the Russell Athletic Bowl), a 2000 road game against UCF and a 1991 neutral-site game against top-ranked Florida State
Florida’s last appearance in the Citrus Bowl came on New Year’s Day 2016. The Gators fell to Michigan 41-7 in front of a sold-out crowd of 63,113.

Miami vs. Florida

  • A potential foreshadowing of the 2019 Camping World Kickoff game, the Gators and Hurricanes 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 (the 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. 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

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 game, although the Irish have appeared in the Camping World Bowl (2011) and a pair of neutral-site games at Camping World Stadium, most recently against Navy in 2000

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