No more speculation, this is official: Mississippi State is headed to the Orange Bowl to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on New Year's Eve.
.@HailStateFB & @GeorgiaTechFB will play in the 2014 #CapitalOneOrangeBowl on December 31! pic.twitter.com/sqPrnUiogz— Orange Bowl (@OrangeBowl) December 7, 2014
The Bulldogs head back to the Orange Bowl for the first time since 1941 when they defeated Georgetown 14-7, while their opponent, Georgia Tech, heads back to the Orange for the first time since 2009 when they lost to the Iowa Hawkeyes.
My initial impressions are mixed. From a travel standpoint, Miami is a much more difficult trip than the Peach Bowl would have been. From a pure bowl perspective, though, it's obviously cool to go to one of the older, historical bowls. Despite my travel complaints like I'm an old man with kids on my lawn, getting selected for the Orange Bowl is pretty cool. I'll take it, and it's a great reward for the hard work this team has put in this season.
As for "was this expected?", if you read anything I've published since early this week you'll know that I am very surprised by this. Michigan State was locked into the Orange Bowl with a higher CFP ranking going into the weekend, however the Bulldogs -- also idle this weekend -- somehow jumped the Spartans, flipping us from the Peach or Cotton to the Orange Bowl. So there you go, I along with everyone else outside of the committee room had no clue what was coming today.
Matchups-wise, Mississippi State draws a tough to defend triple option Tech team that gave #3 Florida State all they wanted in last night's ACC Championship game. I think the Bulldogs match up with the Yellow Jackets better than they would have against TCU or Baylor's passing attacks, but the triple option can be an offense that runs you ragged if you don't play sound defense. Luckily, MSU will have three weeks to prepare for it.
The game is set to kickoff at 7:30 ET at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida on New Year's Eve. It will be televised by ESPN. You can get more information on the game by checking out the Orange Bowl website or Twitter.