CRAWFORD | Updating the bowl possibilities for Louisville, Kentucky, IU and WKU
Taking a look at the latest bowl projections for Louisville, Kentucky, Indiana and WKU with the bowl announcements due out next Sunday.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The games are over, now for a week let bowl speculation begin. It's a special year in these parts, because we have four programs who get to take part in the guessing games.
Kentucky is back in the bowl picture for the first time since 2010 and after Saturday's upset of Louisville may be in line for an upgrade. Louisville, in playoff contention for much of the season and slotted for the Orange Bowl for much of the second half of the season, may lose that slot to Florida State, a team it beat 63-20 in September, but which has righted its ship as the season has progressed.
IU is going to back-to-back bowl games for the first time since the 1990 and '91 seasons. And WKU, having locked up the top seed in Conference USA, will play in the league championship game Saturday in Bowling Green.
The announcements for bowl games takes place next Sunday, after the league championship games. Most bowl projections show Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Washington making up the four-team playoff field, but as we have seen, things change.
Here's a look at the bowl speculation surrounding each team, and what the various bowl projections released after Saturday's games have to say about their possible destinations.
Preferred destination: The Orange Bowl, but that's a dwindling possibility at this point. Lamar Jackson remains likely to win the Heisman Trophy, which makes Louisville a draw, but the Cardinals are likely to finish well behind Florida State in the College Football Playoff rankings, which means the Seminoles, not Louisville, would get the Orange Bowl slot.
Likely destination: It seems at the moment to be the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl in Orlando, to be played at 11 a.m. on New Year's Eve.
Projections: Jerry Palm of CBS Sports has the Cardinals in the Citrus Bowl facing Florida, in what would be a rematch of the 2013 Sugar Bowl. SBNation.com puts Louisville in the Orange Bowl opposite Michigan, in a matchup most fans would take (and possibly dread, after the past two games) in a heartbeat. Campus Insiders has Louisville going to the Tax Slayer Bowl (Dec. 31, 11 a.m., ESPN, Jacksonville, Fla.) to face Tennessee. And College Football News has the Cards in the Citrus Bowl against old rival West Virginia.
Preferred destination: At the moment, it would seem to be the Music City Bowl in Nashville. It's where the Wildcats have gone for four of their past six bowl trips, but the ease of travel and affinity of Wildcats' fans for downtown Nashville have made it a favorite postseason spot.
Likely destination: I don't think we can name one. Before beating Louisville, many had the Wildcats penciled in for Shreveport, La., and the Independence Bowl, but at last check, officials from that bowl seemed to think Kentucky might be off the table by the time they got to select. Among the projections, there's little consensus.
Projections: CBS has Kentucky in the Independence Bowl against a North Carolina State team that ended its season by knocking off North Carolina. SBNation.com has Kentucky going to the Liberty Bowl (Memphis, Dec. 30, noon, ESPN) to face TCU. This bowl could be attractive because UK has a basketball game at nearby Ole Miss the night before at 8 p.m. Of course, bowl officials would prefer bowl fans to be hanging out on Beale Street, so that might not work in Kentucky's favor. Campus Insiders has UK going to the Birmingham Bowl to face Houston. That's a very winnable game for Kentucky, given that Houston has lost its coach. Of course, the last time Kentucky went to Birmingham it faced a Pitt team that had lost a series of coaches. Maybe the most intriguing projections I've seen for UK comes from College Football News, which has UK in the Belk Bowl (Charlotte, Dec. 29, 5:30 p.m., ESPN) against North Carolina. This would be an upgrade in bowls for UK, though playing North Carolina in a virtual home game (though Kentucky would travel well to Charlotte) would be a challenge.
Preferred destination: Like Kentucky, Indiana would probably love the chance to play in Nashville in the Music City Bowl. Most projections don't think they'll get that opportunity.
Likely destination: Most seem to think Indiana is headed west to the Foster Farms Bowl, in Santa Clara, Calif. The bowl has gone through various names and used to be played at AT&T Park in San Francisco, but now is played in Levi's Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers. The game is played on Dec. 28 at 8:30 p.m., and is the only bowl game this year televised by FOX.
Projections: CBS has IU in the Foster Farms facing Stanford. SBNation.com and College Football News say the Hoosiers will play in the Foster Farms Bowl, but against Washington State. Campus Insiders has IU going to Nashville to face Georgia.
Preferred destination: I've heard a lot of buzz about the Boca Raton Bowl (Boca Raton, Fla., Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m., ESPN). WKU has taken a liking to the warm-weather bowls with the Bahamas and Miami Beach bowls the past two seasons.
Likely destination: TBD. If the Hilltoppers win the C-USA title game at home, there's no reason to think they wouldn't be the choice of the Boca bowl. But the projections seem to like them going to the Heart of Dallas Bowl, which would be a nice spot for them, playing in the Cotton Bowl Stadium, especially if they got to face a Power 5 opponent.
Projections: CBS has WKU facing Colorado State in the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dec. 27, noon, Cotton Bowl Stadium, ESPN). SBNation.com has WKU in the same bowl, but facing Northwestern. Campus Insiders has the Hilltoppers in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque, Dec. 17, 2 p.m., ESPN) facing Wyoming. And College Football News has WKU in Boca Raton, facing Temple.
Copyright 2016 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.