Bowl Projection Round-Up, Week 9
Mark Schlabach (ESPN): Alabama vs. Nebraska
Brett McMurphy (ESPN): Alabama vs. Ohio State
ESPN Big Ten & SEC Blog: Auburn vs. Nebraska
Jerry Palm (CBSSports): Auburn vs. Ohio State
Bill Bender (Sporting News): Auburn vs. Nebraska
Brant Parsons (Orlando Sentinel): Georgia vs. Nebraska
Phil Steele: Alabama vs. Michigan State
Upsets among the top teams in college football continued in week eight and, as a result, the experts have new favorites to play in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. Despite three sources predicting an Alabama vs. Ohio State game on New Year’s Day in week eight, the matchup appears just once this week and the Buckeyes have far less projections overall than they had in previous weeks. Ohio State had a decisive win against Big Ten newcomer Rutgers on Saturday – they are now 2-0 in the Big Ten and stand second in the East division behind Michigan State (6-1, 3-0 Big Ten).
Mark Schlabach of ESPN predicts that the Alabama will face Nebraska, while Phil Steele predicts a rematch of the 2011 Capital One Bowl, pitting the Crimson Tide against the Spartans. After narrowly escaping with a win against Arkansas in week seven, Alabama returned to the field with a rout of Texas A&M, improving to 6-1, 3-1 (SEC).
Auburn, the team Jerry Palm picked in week nine to face the Buckeyes, appears three times this week. Two sources believe that the Tigers will face Nebraska. Auburn had a bye in week eight following a loss to Mississippi State in week seven. Despite a No. 5 ranking in the AP Top 25 poll and just one loss in 2014, the Tigers are fourth in the SEC West Division standings.
Nebraska, who trailed conference opponent Northwestern until the last five minutes of the third quarter, earned its second Big Ten win and moved into the No. 2 spot in the Big Ten West behind Minnesota. If the Tigers and Cornhuskers are selected to play in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl, it will be the fifth time the programs meet. Their four previous meetings include two bowl games – the 1963 Orange Bowl and 2006 Cotton Bowl. Nebraska has the advantage in the overall series with three wins.
Brant Parsons selected Georgia and Nebraska as his picks for week nine, a matchup that not only has appeared in previous projections this season but in the 2012 Capital One Bowl, as well. The Bulldogs earned a 45-31 win over the Cornhuskers.