COLUMBIA, Mo. — The Missouri soccer crew is aware of it’s taking part in in a bowl sport, however the vacation spot remains to be unclear.
LSU’s gorgeous loss to Texas A&M in final week’s regular-season finale possible shook up the Southeastern Convention bowl image, costing the league a 3rd crew within the New 12 months’s Six bowl video games, which might have a trickle impact on the remainder of the SEC’s bowl lineup.
Comply with alongside right here. This might get bumpy.
The SEC has 11 bowl-eligible groups this yr, together with Mizzou (6-6), one in every of three SEC groups that received the minimal six video games for bowl eligibility, together with Arkansas and Florida. There are greater than sufficient bowls for the SEC’s 11 groups this yr. All bowl pairings will probably be introduced Sunday.
Georgia, No. 1 within the School Soccer Playoff rankings, will virtually actually make the four-team playoff area no matter Saturday’s consequence in opposition to LSU within the SEC championship sport. That places Georgia in one of many two New 12 months’s Eve CFP semifinal bowls, both the Peach or Fiesta.
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Subsequent up, the opposite CFP New 12 months’s Six bowls: Rose, Cotton, Sugar and Orange. Not less than two SEC groups are positioned for these video games: Alabama, almost definitely, within the Sugar (Dec. 31) and Tennessee within the Orange (Dec. 30) or Cotton (Jan. 2). Ought to LSU upset Georgia in Atlanta for the SEC championship, the three-loss Tigers may slip into one in every of these 4 video games, however as a 17-point underdog, LSU is probably going headed towards a fourth loss.
Subsequent within the SEC choice course of is the Jan. 2 Citrus Bowl, which matches the SEC in opposition to the Large Ten. That is LSU’s possible touchdown spot, until the Citrus goes for late-charging South Carolina (8-4) as an alternative.
Both approach, subsequent comes the SEC Pool of Six. The SEC crew for the next six video games, all performed between Dec. 17 and Jan. 2, are determined by the league workplace in session with the bowls with some enter from the colleges: Las Vegas Bowl (Dec. 17 vs. Pac-12), Texas Bowl (Dec. 28 vs. Large 12), Liberty Bowl (Dec. 28 vs. Large 12), Gator Bowl (Dec. 30 vs. Large Ten), Music Metropolis Bowl (Dec. 31 vs. Large Ten) and Reliaquest Bowl (Jan. 2 vs. Large Ten or ACC). The Reliaquest Bowl, performed at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, was previously often called the Outback Bowl.
Right here’s the place Mizzou‘s muddled outlook comes into play: The SEC will in all probability have seven eligible groups for these six bowls. The contributors aren’t essentially determined by won-loss file or head-to-head outcomes. Proximity, projected ticket gross sales, nationwide branding and potential matchups all issue into which crew performs the place.
The place does that depart Mizzou? The crew’s early desire was Las Vegas — potential opponents would have included Oregon, Oregon State or UCLA — however crew sources have indicated the Las Vegas Bowl prefers Florida or an SEC crew with a greater file, perhaps Ole Miss (8-4).
On Friday, The Motion Community’s Brett McMurphy reported that Mizzou turned down an opportunity to play longtime rival Kansas within the Liberty Bowl, citing nameless business sources. Mizzou later refuted that report on the soccer crew’s official Twitter account: “Not True … trying ahead to our bowl sport vs. any crew!”
A number of media retailers had projected a Mizzou-Kansas pairing in Memphis, however MU sources have indicated for the previous week that the crew and athletics division most popular bowls on totally different dates at different places, particularly contemplating the Liberty Bowl falls on the identical night time because the Missouri males’s basketball crew’s SEC residence opener in opposition to Kentucky. Final yr, Mizzou followers had to decide on between the Armed Forces Bowl in opposition to Military and the Braggin’ Rights basketball sport in opposition to Illinois when each had been performed on the identical night time.
MU performed within the Liberty Bowl in 2018. Arkansas, additionally linked to the Memphis bowl in a number of studies, final performed within the Liberty Bowl in 2016.
Wherever they play, the Tigers could have a depleted roster because of transfers and opt-outs. Senior security Martez Manuel has declared for the NFL draft and introduced he received’t play in a bowl sport. Senior defensive finish Isaiah McGuire has additionally declared for the draft and can possible skip the bowl, particularly after he performed the regular-season finale with a separated shoulder. Main receiver Dominic Lovett has instructed the employees he plans to enter the switch portal, together with as many as eight backup gamers as of Friday.
For SEC groups disregarded of the Pool of Six, there are two extra SEC-affiliated video games: Gasparilla Bowl (Dec. 23) and Birmingham Bowl (Dec. 27). The opponent for each video games is picked from a pool of eligible groups with out convention tie-ins. Projected opponents for these video games embody East Carolina, Memphis, Buffalo, SMU and Coastal Carolina, amongst others.
If there’s one out there SEC crew between the Birmingham and Gasparilla, ESPN Occasions, which owns and operates each bowls, decides the matchup. The Gasparilla Bowl can be performed at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium, residence of the NFL’s Buccaneers.
If Mizzou is the odd crew out of the SEC Pool of Six, this system would possible want the Gasparilla Bowl over Birmingham. Final yr, Tigers coach Eli Drinkwitz made it clear the crew most popular a bowl earlier than Christmas so gamers might be residence for the vacation if solely the mid- and lower-tier video games had been out there. The Tigers misplaced to Military within the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 22 in Fort Price, Texas.
“Truthfully, I don’t give a crap the place we play,” Drinkwitz mentioned after the Tigers beat Arkansas final Friday. “A bowl sport is a celebration. Wherever our administration thinks is greatest for us to go, we’ll saddle up and go.”