Nov 14, 2018

Week 11 Bowl Projections: Kentucky and Florida dominate SEC picks

The college football season is entering the home stretch, and the countdown to the 2019 Citrus Bowl is on 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 11:

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

Northwestern vs. Mississippi State

  • The Wildcats and Bulldogs met in the 2013 Gator Bowl – the Wildcats won 34-20 in the only previous meeting between the two programs.
  • This matchup would be Mississippi State’s first appearance in the Citrus Bowl
  • Northwestern has won a bowl game in each of the past two years (2016 Pinstripe Bowl, 2017 Music City Bowl).

Northwestern vs. Kentucky

Kentucky football has never appeared in the Citrus Bowl.

  • This would be a rematch of last year’s Music City Bowl, which Northwestern won 24-23.
  • Northwestern made one previous appearance at the Citrus Bowl in 1996 – the Wildcats lost 48-28 to a Tennessee team led by future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning.
  • 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.

Northwestern vs. Florida

  • Northwestern and Florida have only met twice, in 1965 and 1966 — the Gators defeated the Wildcats both times.
  • Florida is tied with Georgia with a record six Citrus Bowl appearances. The Gators hold a 2-4 record in those games.
  • The Gators last played in the Citrus Bowl in 2016 and lost to Michigan 41-7.

Penn State vs. Kentucky

  • 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.

Penn State vs. Florida

Florida topped Penn State 21-6 in the 1998 Citrus Bowl.

  • Penn State and Florida have met three times previously, 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.

Michigan State vs. Kentucky

  • 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.

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

For a breakdown of the latest CFP poll and what it means for the Citrus Bowl and Camping World Bowl, click here.

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