Nov 21, 2018

Week 12 Bowl Projections: Wildcats Dominate Media Picks Again

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 12:

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

Northwestern was a popular pick for the second week in a row.

  • 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.

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).

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.

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.



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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