LSU a Popular Pick to Return to Orlando in Final Media Projections
Selection Sunday is nearly upon us, so it’s time to take one final look at the media projections for the the 2018 Citrus Bowl presented by Overton’s, held Jan. 1 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 match-ups.
Kyle Bonagura (ESPN): Northwestern vs. LSU
David M. Hale (ESPN): Notre Dame vs. LSU
Eric Single (Sports Illustrated): Michigan State vs. Mississippi State
Jerry Palm (CBS Sports): Northwestern vs. South Carolina
Bill Bender (Sporting News): Michigan State vs. LSU
Jason Kirk (SB Nation): Notre Dame vs. LSU
Brant Parsons (Orlando Sentinel): Virginia Tech vs. South Carolina
CollegeFootballNews.com: Michigan State vs. LSU
Brett McMurphy: Michigan State vs. LSU
Northwestern vs. LSU
- There are no previous matchups between the programs.
- LSU’s most recent appearance in the Citrus Bowl was just last year, a 29-9 victory over Louisville, while Northwestern has not played in an Orlando bowl game since the 1997 Citrus Bowl, which they lost 48-28 to Tennessee
- These two programs would be an even matchup on offense, as there is less than a 7 yard difference between their average of total yards per game – Northwestern averages 405.2 yards while LSU averages 412.1 yards per game.
Notre Dame vs. LSU
- Notre Dame and LSU have played 11 times previously; Notre Dame leads the series 6-5.
- Their most recent matchup was in the 2014 Music City Bowl, where Notre Dame edged the Tigers 31-28.
- The Irish have appeared in the Camping World Bowl once, in 2011, and have also played a pair of neutral-site games at Camping World Stadium, most recently against Navy in 2000.
- Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush and the team’s No. 26 offense (454.9 yards per game) would be up against the No. 14 defense in the nation — one that allows just 311.7 yards per game.
Michigan State vs. Mississippi State
- Programs have met four times previously; Michigan State leads the series 2-1-1.
- It’s been a while, though — the last meeting was a Michigan State victory in 1947.
- A Mississippi State Citrus Bowl appearance would be the first in program history, however the Spartans have played in three previous Citrus Bowl games, including a 37-34 victory over Steve Spurrier’s Florida Gators in 2000.
- Both teams have strong defenses that are in the top 10 in the nation – Michigan State at No. 9 (297.8 yards per game) and Mississippi State at No. 10 (302.0).
Northwestern vs. South Carolina
- The Wildcats and the Gamecocks have played one time previously — Northwestern defeated South Carolina 37-20 in 1962.
- South Carolina’s most recent appearance in the Citrus Bowl was in 2014, a 34-24 win over Wisconsin.
- South Carolina’s rushing offense (127.3 yards per game) would be put to the test against the Wildcats’ No. 9 rushing D, which allowed only 111.3 yards per game this season.
Michigan State vs. LSU
- Teams met one time previously in the 1995 Independence Bowl, a 45-26 Tigers victory.
- LSU holds a 2-2 record in the Citrus Bowl, including losses to Penn State (2010) and Iowa (2005) and wins against Wake Forest (1979) and Louisville (2016).
- LSU is stronger on the ground than through the air, averaging 210.8 rushing yards per game, but would be put to the test against Michigan State’s run D, which ranks fifth nationally, allowing an average of 101.3 yards per game.
Virginia Tech vs. South Carolina
- This would be the 21st meeting between the Hokies and the Gamecocks but their first since 1991, when South Carolina beat Virginia Tech 28-21.
- The Gamecocks lead the all-time series 11-7-2 and have a two-game win streak over the Hokies.
- South Carolina has played in the Citrus Bowl three times previously and holds a 2-1 all-time record.
- This matchup would potentially be a low-scoring game, as South Carolina has only allowed their opponents 20.8 points per game, and Virginia Tech is allowing 13.5 points per game on the season.