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Mississippi State Bulldogs and Bowl Game Projections

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Now that the Bulldogs are bowl eligible, things are looking better than a visit to the Birmingham Bowl.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Not that long ago, it seemed that Bulldogs fans would have to make a post-Christmas trip to Birmingham to watch the Bulldogs play in a bowl game if one read the projections.  However, thanks to the efforts of SEC West sleeper, Arkansas, and the play of SEC Favorites, Auburn, bowl destinations are picking up for the Bulldogs.

Here's a round up of the latest projections:

Prognosticator Projected Bowl Game Projected Bowl Opponent
USA Today-Erick Smith Music City Bowl Minnesota
CBS Sports Music City Bowl Penn State
ESPN-Mark Schlabach TaxSlayer Bowl Louisville
ESPN-Brett McMurphy Outback Bowl Iowa
SBNation Music City Bowl North Carolina
Campus Insiders Liberty Bowl Texas Tech
College Sports Madness Citrus Bowl Northwestern
SI.com Liberty Bowl Oklahoma State
Sporting News Liberty Bowl Texas

From a consensus standpoint, it looks like Bulldog fans best plan to spend some time in Tennessee over the holidays.  While that is a bit closer than Miami, it is not as nice from a climate standpoint, unless you hate being able to watch the game and romp through the Everglades in shorts and short sleeves.

In the conspiracy theorist world, is ESPN trying to flex its muscle and hint to the world that it wants Mississippi State in Florida.  The world wide leader has a lot of pull in bowl matchups, and both of their writers have the Bulldogs in Florida.  If Brett McMurphy is right, we can all go eat Bloomin Onions again!

As far as favorites on this list, it has to be College Sports Madness.  If the Bulldogs go to the Citrus Bowl, they went on a tear down the stretch.  Also the thought of sneaking in a trip inside the Magic Kingdom on New Years Eve sounds way too fun for me and will-then-be-six-year-old. I guess that is doable with the Outback Bowl, my second favorite choice on the list, as well.

In a honest world, none of the Liberty Bowl matchups come off as exciting.  If it is Oklahoma State, they must have fallen apart down the stretch.  A chance to avenge the Cotton Bowl loss to Texas might be nice.

The Music City Bowl holds little appeal to me at this point as well.  Great city, Blah matchups.  The SEC and Big Ten really need to go away from each other for a while in bowl games.  There are so many partnerships that they just sound stale to think about any matchups.  Who reading this is getting excited about a game against Minnesota (is that a hand in the back?  Just stretching?  Oh, ok.)  Penn State would be a contest that would grab my attention though.  North Carolina...just remember the 1974 Sun Bowl, Tar Heels.

TaxSlayer Bowl and a drive across the Florida panhandle works for me.

One bowl that I would have liked to have seen in projections is the Belk Bowl.  Yes, it could be cold, but it would be a new game for the Bulldogs.  I think that is becoming the problem with bowls.  Mississippi State has played in enough Liberty Bowls that the game does not seem all that special anymore.  Under Dan Mullen, the Bulldogs have twice been to the Taxslayer Bowl, and that sort of feels like the floor of exciting bowl games.  No, Mississippi State can't play in the Orange Bowl ever year, but a game in Florida just feels bigger than one in Tennessee.    The Music City Bowl could be fun, even though the opponent would probably not really excite Bulldog fans.  However, after making a second trip in five seasons, how fun would the Music City Bowl be again going forward?

If you are wondering about what all bowl games Mississippi State has played in and when, here you go:

Bowl Name Years Played in that Bowl
Cotton Bowl 1999 (L-Texas)
Gator Bowl 2011(W-Michigan), 2013 (L-Northwestern)
Hall of Fame Bowl 1981 (W-Kansas)
Independence Bowl 2000 (W-Texas A&M)
Liberty Bowl 1963 (W-NC State), 1991(L-Airforce), 2007 (W-UCF), 2013(W-Rice)
Music City Bowl 2011 (W-Wake Forest)
Orange Bowl 1937 (L-Duquesne), 1941 (W-Georgetown), 2014(L-Georgia Tech)
Peach Bowl 1993(L-North Carolina), 1995(L-NC State), 1999(W-Clemson)
Sun Bowl  1974(W-North Carolina), 1980 (L-Nebraska)