Most project Tide will play Mich. St.
By MICHAEL CASAGRANDE
Special to the Ledger-Enquirer
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The press box at Bryant-Denny Stadium typically has a wealth of bowl scouts on game days.
This Thursday, just one was represented. And it was not one of the BCS heavyweights.
The Capital One Bowl -- where most projections estimate Alabama will land -- had two seats reserved.
Jack Anderson, a scout with Florida Citrus Sports which hosts the bowl, said Alabama would be an excellent fit. It’s been 15 years since the Tide last played in the event then known as the Citrus Bowl. Alabama beat Ohio State 24-17.
The New Year’s Day Capital One Bowl has the first pick of SEC schools not selected for a BCS Bowl so no decision or invitation can be offered until the league title game is played Dec. 4. The No. 2 team in the Big Ten would also likely get a bid.
“It’s sort of jumbled,” Anderson said. “It will all clear itself up obviously a week from Saturday certainly depending on what happens with Auburn and South Carolina in the SEC game and what happens with LSU and Arkansas. There is a possibility there could be a number of 7-2 or 8-2 teams. But the wildcard is the BCS.”
The other bowl mentioned as a possibility for the Tide would be the Cotton Bowl played Jan. 7.
Only one news outlet making bowl projections mentioned Alabama among those making BCS bowls last week. CollegeFootballNews.com matched the Tide and Boise State in the Sugar Bowl while most of the others pit the Tide and Nick Saban’s former employer Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl.
Anderson noted the aging Citrus Bowl Stadium saw overhauls since last season when Penn State beat LSU on a nearly unplayable grass surface that was destroyed by unseasonably wet weather.
An artificial playing field has since been installed that also plays host to the Champs Bowl a week before the Capital One Bowl.