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Week 7 Bowl Projections: Will Nittany Lions migrate south for the winter?

College football season is well underway, and the countdown to the 2019 Citrus Bowl continues in Orlando.

Though the Citrus Bowl has been a traditional Big Ten/SEC match-up for more than two decades, last season’s game featured the Notre Dame fighting Irish, the second participant affiliated with the ACC since 1992. Notre Dame’s appearance against LSU (a 21-17 Fighting Irish 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 Wisconsin), the Citrus Bowl replaces its traditional Big Ten pick with the top non-Playoff selection from the ACC. This season, the Orange Bowl is hosting a CFP semifinal game, meaning the Citrus Bowl is guaranteed to host a Big Ten-SEC matchup.

Here’s a look at the media’s Citrus Bowl picks after Week 7:

Mitch Sherman (ESPN): Iowa vs. Florida
Kyle Bonagura (ESPN): Penn State vs. Florida
Eric Single (Sports Illustrated):  Penn State vs. Kentucky
Jason Kirk (SBNation): Penn State vs. Florida
Jerry Palm (CBS Sports): Wisconsin vs. Florida
Bill Bender (Sporting News): Michigan vs. LSU
Brant Parsons (Orlando Sentinel): Wisconsin vs. Florida
Brent McMurphy (Stadium): Wisconsin vs. Kentucky
CollegeFootballNews.com: Penn State vs. Kentucky
247 Sports: Michigan State vs. Kentucky
USA Today: Penn State vs. Kentucky
Bleacher Report: Penn State vs. Mississippi State

Penn State vs. Kentucky

Penn State defeated LSU in the 19-17 in the 2010 Citrus Bowl.

• Penn State has a slight edge over Kentucky, holding a 3-2 all-time series lead.

• The last time these two teams met was in the 1999 Outback Bowl. The Nittany Lions won the game 26-14.

• Penn State has appeared in the Citrus Bowl five times and has a 2-3 record in those games.

• The Nittany Lions won their most recent visit to the Citrus Bowl in 2010, defeating LSU 19-17.

• Kentucky has never played in the Citrus Bowl and has not won a bowl game since the Wildcats defeated East Carolina in the 2009 Liberty Bowl.

Penn State vs. Florida

• Penn State and Florida have met previously three times with the Gators defeating Penn State in all three matchups.

• This would be a rematch of the 1998 Citrus Bowl, which Florida won 21-6 in front of a Citrus Bowl-record crowd of 72,940.

• The most recent meeting between the Gators and Nittany Lions came in the 2011 Outback Bowl. Florida won the game 37-24.

• The Gators last played in the Citrus Bowl in 2016 and lost to Michigan 41-7.

Wisconsin vs. Florida

• This would be the first matchup between Wisconsin and Florida.

• Florida is tied with Georgia with a record six Citrus Bowl appearances. The Gators hold a 2-4 record in those games.

• Wisconsin has made five Citrus Bowl appearances, including three victories. The Badgers’ most recent appearance in Orlando was a 34-24 loss to South Carolina in the 2014 game, known at the time as the Capital One Bowl.

Michigan vs. LSU

Michigan won the 2016 Citrus Bowl 41-7 over Florida.

• This would be the first matchup between Michigan and LSU
The Wolverines have made five Citrus Bowl appearances, with the most recent coming in a 41-7 win over Florida in the 2016 Citrus Bowl.

• A Tigers appearance would make LSU the first team since Toldeo (1969-71) to play in three consecutive Citrus Bowl games.

Wisconsin vs. Kentucky

• The Badgers and Wildcats have only met once, in the 1984 Hall of Fame Classic. Kentucky won the game 20-19.

• In Wisconsin’s 2006 appearance (a 24-10 win over Auburn), Brian Calhoun ran for 213 yards, second-most in Citrus Bowl history. In that same game, Brandon Williams had 173 yards receiving, fourth-most in the game’s history.

• In Wisconsin’s 2007 appearance against Arkansas, Taylor Mehlhaff hit a 52-yard field goal, a Citrus Bowl record.

• In Wisconsin’s 2014 loss to South Carolina, Kenzel Doe returned a kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown, the most recent kick return touchdown in Citrus Bowl history.

• The Badgers also rushed for 293 yards in that 2014 game, making them the most recent team to rush for 200 or more yards in a Citrus Bowl game.

Iowa vs. Florida

• The Hawkeyes and Gators have met four previous times, once in the 1983 Gator Bowl and three times in the Outback Bowl (2004, 2006, and 2017).

• The Gators lead the series 3-1, with the Hawkeyes’ only victory coming in the 2004 Outback Bowl.

• This would be a matchup of top defenses, as Florida is tied for 12th nationally in scoring defense (16.6 points per game), while Iowa ranks 13th (16.8).

Michigan State vs. Kentucky

Kentucky running back Benny Snell Jr.

• The Spartans have played in three previous Citrus Bowl games, including a 37-34 victory over Steve Spurrier’s Florida Gators in 2000.

• Former Spartans wideout Plaxico Burress was MVP of the 2000 Citrus Bowl thanks to three receiving touchdowns, tied for the Citrus Bowl record. (Travis Taylor of Florida also had three receiving touchdowns in the game.) Burress’ 185 receiving yards are also third all-time in Citrus Bowl games.

• Michigan State is also responsible for the most recent fumble return touchdown, a 24-yard return by T.J. Turner in the 2000 game.

• Michigan State has also made one appearance in the Camping World Bowl, a 24-21 defeat at the hands of Boston College in the 2007 game.

Penn State vs. Mississippi State

• This would be the first matchup between Penn State and Mississippi State.

• Although Mississippi State has never made an appearance at the Citrus Bowl, the Bulldogs have played five bowl games in Florida in the past seven years (2010, 2012, 2017 Gator Bowl; 2014 Orange Bowl; 2016 St. Petersburg Bowl).

Click here to check out weekly projections from earlier this season.

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