The end of the regular season is drawing near, and still no clear consensus out there as to where the LSU Tigers will go bowling this season.
Among 15 national bowl projections, the Tigers are picked to go to seven different bowls, with the most popular choices the Texas and Belk bowls with four predictions each.
This week brings the prediction of a new bowl: Jason Kirk of SBNation.com now has LSU sliding outside the pool of six bowls (Outback, Taxslayer, Texas, Music City, Liberty and Belk) the SEC will pick to the Birmingham Bowl on Jan. 3
Bowl bids will be announced Sunday, Dec. 7, the day after the conference championship games are played.
- Bill Bender, The Sporting News: Texas Bowl vs. Texas
- Sam Kahn Jr. (SEC blogger) and Jake Trotter (Big 12 blogger), ESPN.com: Liberty Bowl vs. West Virginia
- CollegeSportsMadness.com: Outback Bowl vs. Wisconsin
- CollegeFootballNews.com: Belk Bowl vs. North Carolina
- Brad Crawford, SaturdayDownSouth.com: Belk Bowl vs. Notre Dame
- Zac Ellis, SI.com: Taxslayer Bowl vs. Maryland
- Jason Kirk, SBNation.com: Birmingham Bowl vs. Memphis
- Steve Lassan, Athlon Sports: Texas Bowl vs. Texas
- Stewart Mandel, Fox Sports: Music City vs. Louisville
- Brett McMurphy, ESPN.com: Taxslayer Bowl vs. Notre Dame
- Dave Miller, NationalFootballPost.com: Texas Bowl vs. Texas
- Jerry Palm, CBSSports.com: Texas Bowl vs. West Virginia
- Brant Parsons, Orlando Sentinel: Belk Bowl vs. Louisville
- Mark Schlabach, ESPN.com: Taxslayer Bowl vs. Minnesota
- Phil Steele, PhilSteele.com: Belk Bowl vs. Duke
THE ADVOCATE’S PICK
No matter if LSU finishes 8-4 with a win over Texas A&M or 7-5 with a loss to the Aggies, a few things appear likely.
One, LSU won’t return to the Outback Bowl. Despite the SEC’s insistence that the pool of six bowls are equal, the Outback looks like the first among equals and thus will likely get a team with a better record than LSU could offer.
Two, the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, North Carolina, makes little sense for the Tigers when it could have six-win South Carolina, Florida or Tennessee or Kentucky (if the latter two win this weekend) much closer at hand. It’s hard to see thousands of LSU fans flocking to Charlotte to watch a 7-5 Tigers team play two days before New Year’s, though it’s possible that opponent could be Notre Dame.
Three, a wild card in the mix is whether the Texas Bowl will get its dream paring of Texas and Texas A&M. There are conflicting reports as to whether one school or the other (or the SEC) would veto it, but if a veto doesn’t happen it appears highly unlikely the Tigers land there. For what it’s worth, ESPN’s three bowl projections (Brett McMurphy, Mark Schlabach and bloggers Sam Kahn Jr. and Jake Trotter combined) project an Aggies-Longhorns Texas Bowl.
So let’s assume A&M and Texas will fill Houston’s NRG Stadium with deep-seated animosity on Dec. 29. That probably leaves LSU to the Taxslayer, Liberty or Music City bowls. The Tigers slipping to the Birmingham Bowl, even at 7-5, seems far fetched. That’s a 6-6 team bowl for sure.
We continue to feel an 8-4 LSU team would be headed to Jacksonville, Florida, for the Taxslayer (formerly Gator) bowl. There was interest by the Taxslayer in LSU last year and there are whispers that there’s interest again. If not, especially if the Tigers are 7-5, it makes most geographic sense for LSU to go to the Liberty over the Music City Bowl, though either could happen.
But we have to make a pick. So we’ll say LSU wins Thursday and goes to the Taxslayer Bowl, and heads to the Liberty Bowl with a loss.
- Texas Bowl: Dec. 29, Houston
- Liberty Bowl: Dec. 29, Memphis
- Music City Bowl: Dec. 30, Nashville
- Belk Bowl: Dec. 30, Charlotte
- Outback Bowl: Jan. 1, Tampa
- Taxslayer Bowl: Jan. 2, Jacksonville
- Birmingham Bowl: Jan. 3, Birmingham