Week 9 Bowl Projections: Wisconsin, Penn State emerge as popular Big Ten media picks
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 9:
Mitch Sherman (ESPN): Iowa vs. Florida
Kyle Bonagura (ESPN): Penn State vs. Kentucky
Eric Single (Sports Illustrated): Penn State vs. Florida
Jason Kirk (SBNation): Iowa vs. Kentucky
Jerry Palm (CBS Sports): Iowa vs. Florida
Bill Bender (Sporting News): Michigan State vs. Kentucky
Brant Parsons (Orlando Sentinel): Northwestern vs. Florida
Brent McMurphy (Stadium): Penn State vs. Kentucky
CollegeFootballNews.com: Iowa vs. Kentucky
247 Sports: Iowa vs. Florida
USA Today: Penn State vs. Florida
Bleacher Report: Penn State vs. Mississippi State
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 20th nationally in scoring defense (19.0 points per game), while Iowa ranks 11th (16.1).
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.
- 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 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.
- The Gators last played in the Citrus Bowl in 2016 and lost to Michigan 41-7.
Iowa vs. Kentucky
- Iowa has only made one previous appearance in the Citrus Bowl – a 30-25 victory over LSU thanks to a last-second Hail Mary in the 2005 game.
- This could be a low-scoring affair, as Kentucky is tied with Clemson for first in the nation in points allowed (13.0) while Iowa ranks 11th (16.1).
- This would also pit one of the nation’s fiercest run games (Kentucky) against one of the toughest run defenses (Iowa). Benny Snell Jr. of Kentucky is currently averaging 116.9 rushing yards per game (10th in the nation), while Iowa’s run defense has allowed only 84.4 yards a game (4th in the nation).
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.
Northwestern vs. Florida
- Northwestern and Florida have only met twice, in 1965 and 1966 — the Gators defeated the Wildcats both times.
- 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.
- Northwestern has won a bowl game in each of the past two years (2016 Pinstripe Bowl, 2017 Music City Bowl).
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.