SEC Bowl Bids: No. 8 S. Carolina-No. 19 Wisconsin in Outback

ORLANDO, Fla. — It would be easy for both No. 8

South Carolina and No. 19 Wisconsin to dwell on the missteps this season

that cost them both spots in the BCS

standings.

Instead, Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier

and the Badgers’ Gary Andersen are embracing what they believe could be

one of the better non-BCS pairings when they matchup for the Jan. 1

Capital One Bowl in Orlando.

“I think we all strived

at beginning of the year to get to BCS game, (but) it’s very difficult

to do and we won nine football games,” Andersen said. “It’s a tremendous

matchup for both teams I think…This is a great bowl game for us for

so many reasons.”

The game will mark the first-ever

meeting between the two programs.

The Badgers (9-3)

are playing in a non-BCS bowl for the first time in three seasons

following three consecutive appearances in the Rose

Bowl.

Wisconsin lost those games, though, and will be

looking for its first bowl win under Andersen.

The

Badgers will be appearing in their 12th-consecutive bowl game, a streak

that includes a 3-1 record in four Orlando bowl

games.

They climbed as high as No. 15 in the BCS

standings, but had their season stunted by early-season losses to

Arizona State and Ohio State and loss to Penn State in their

regular-season finale.

Andersen said though he

doesn’t know Spurrier personally, he is well aware of what kind of

opponent to expect when they meet up with the

Gamecocks.

“From afar really, I understand what coach

has done and the career he’s had. He’s meant a lot to college football

for a number of years. He’s had unbelievably successful teams and does

again this season,” Andersen said. “It will be special. I don’t think

anybody can tell you you’re gonna line up against coach Spurrier and it

won’t be a special experience for all of us who are

involved.”

South Carolina (10-2) won its final five

games of the season, including double-overtime win over then unbeaten

Missouri. It helped salvage a season that was beset by a loss to Georgia

and loss to Tennessee in a game that saw quarterback Connor Shaw go

down with an injury.

The Gamecocks are making their

second Capital One Bowl appearance in three seasons, having beaten

Nebraska in the 2012 edition of the game.

SEC runner-up Missouri, Oklahoma St in Cotton

Bowl

Missouri and Oklahoma

State came so close to conference titles and being in the Bowl

Championship Series.

The No. 9 Tigers and No. 13

Cowboys, who in the past have been in two leagues together, will instead

play each other Jan. 3 in the Cotton Bowl, a pretty nice consolation a

day after both missed shots at conference

championships.

“Playing in the Cotton Bowl is a great

reward for our team,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said Sunday after

the matchup was announced. “Certainly you want to be in a BCS bowl

because it means you won a conference championship. … This location

and venue, this is a great opportunity for the team and our

fans.”

After this season’s game, the Cotton Bowl will

become part of the annual rotation for semifinal games in the new

College Football Playoff. The game is played in the Dallas Cowboys’

massive stadium where the first national championship in the post-BCS

era will be held next season.

Oklahoma State (10-2)

was on track for a Big 12 title and a spot in the Bowl Championship

Series before a 33-24 loss at home to Oklahoma on

Saturday.

Missouri (11-2) is coming off a 59-42 loss

to Auburn in the SEC championship game in only its second season in that

league.

“We know firsthand just how great of a trip

this is, and how first-class of an operation the Cotton Bowl runs,” said

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel, who is taking the Tigers to their ninth

bowl in 13 seasons there.

Mizzou made its SEC debut

in 2012 with its first losing season in eight years, and went only 2-6

in league play. The Tigers this season were SEC Eastern Division

champions with a 7-1 conference record.

No. 22 Duke-No. 20 Texas A&M in Chick-fil-A

Bowl

ATLANTA — Johnny

Manziel might play his final college game in the Chick-fil-A

Bowl.

No. 20 Texas A&M, led by the 2012

Heisman Trophy winner, will face No. 22 Duke in the first-ever meeting

between the schools on New Year’s Eve at the Georgia Dome, officials

announced Sunday night.

Manziel is a third-year

sophomore, making him eligible to enter the 2014 NFL draft. He hasn’t

revealed his plans for next season after guiding Texas A&M to a

disappointing 8-4 record, with all four losses coming against fellow

Southeastern Conference teams ranked among the top 14 in The Associated

Press poll.

Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin said Manziel

has yet to make a decision on turning pro.

“If he

does, he does,” the coach said. “Right now, we’re looking through that

and evaluating his future. Then we’ll go from

there.”

Duke (10-3) was a surprising division winner

in the Atlantic Coast Conference, posting the most wins ever at a school

known more for basketball. The Blue Devils are eager to make up for

their performance in the league championship game Saturday night, when

they were routed by top-ranked Florida State

45-7.

“The invitation to the Chick-fil-A Bowl is the

perfect medicine for us,” coach David Cutcliffe said. “To play a team

with the reputation and history and tradition they have at Texas

A&M, to play the caliber of team they have, it’s going to revive

our guys quickly. It didn’t go like we wanted last night, but the

nation will be watching this game, so we want to put our best foot

forward.”

Manziel will clearly be the star attraction

in Atlanta. While Johnny Football is not expected to repeat as the

Heisman winner after becoming the first freshman to win college

football’s top individual award, he put up another stellar season with

3,732 yards passing and 33 touchdowns, as well as leading the Aggies in

rushing with 686 yards and eight TDs.

No. 14 LSU will face Iowa in Jan. 1 Outback

Bowl

TAMPA, Fla. — LSU and

Iowa will meet in the Outback Bowl, just the second time the Tigers and

Hawkeyes faced each other on the football field.

The

teams were extended invitations Sunday for the New Year’s Day matchup

played at Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL’s Tampa Bay

Buccaneers.

The only other meeting between the school

with rich football traditions was in the 2005 Capital One Bowl in

Orlando. Drew Tate threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to Warren Holloway as

time expired to give Iowa 30-25 victory.

“We feel

these two teams will continue our reputation of putting on an exciting

show,” Outback Bowl chairman Ken Hoverman said.

The

14th-ranked Tigers (9-4) are making their first trip to Tampa for

postseason action since 1989, when the Outback was known as the Hall of

Fame Bowl.

Iowa (8-4) will be making its fourth

appearance in Tampa, having last appeared in Outback following the 2008

season when the Hawkeyes beat South Carolina

31-10.

No. 23 Georgia,

Nebraska rematch in Gator

Bowl

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. —

Georgia and Nebraska are headed back to the Sunshine State to play

again.

The Bulldogs and Cornhuskers were paired in

the Gator Bowl on Sunday night, setting up a rematch of last year’s

Capital One Bowl.

Georgia won that meeting 45-31,

getting five touchdown passes from Aaron Murray. The 23rd-ranked

Bulldogs (8-4) won’t have Murray in the Jan. 1 rematch. The Southeastern

Conference’s all-time passing leader tore the anterior cruciate

ligament in his left knee Nov. 23 against

Kentucky.

Junior Hutson Mason will make his second

start. Mason completed 22 of 36 passes for 299 yards, with two

touchdowns and an interception, in a 41-34 win in double overtime

against Georgia Tech.

“We think Hutson is going to be

a heck of a ball player,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “It’s good

that he got a little experience against Georgia

Tech.”

Nebraska (8-4) last played in the Gator Bowl

in 2009, beating Clemson 26-21.

Music City Bowl pits Mississippi vs. Georgia

Tech

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The

Mississippi Rebels will finish the season in the same place where they

started back in August.

The Rebels will play Georgia

Tech in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30 in a pairing announced Sunday

night. Ole Miss opened the season beating Vanderbilt a couple miles from

LP Field, home of the bowl game. Now the Rebels are back in this bowl

for the second time.

“We have one of the great bowl

traditions in all of college football, and I’m excited that we have

earned a bowl berth in each of our first two seasons,” Ole Miss coach

Hugh Freeze said. “I appreciate the unbelievable support Rebel Nation

has provided our team, and I look forward to seeing a sea of Red and

Blue in Nashville.”

Ole Miss (7-5) finished on a

two-game skid that dropped the Rebels out of the Top 25 rankings. The

Rebels played in the BBVA Compass Bowl last

season.

This will be the 35th bowl appearance

all-time by Ole Miss. The Rebels are 22-12, including last season when

Ole Miss beat Pittsburgh 38-17 at the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham,

Ala., to cap Freeze’s first season.

The last time Ole

Miss played in the Music City Bowl, David Cutcliffe was the coach and

Eli Manning was the Rebels’ quarterback. That’s the only bowl the Rebels

have lost over the past 10 bowl trips going back to the 1992 Liberty

Bowl.

Ole Miss lost 49-38 to West Virginia in their

first Music City Bowl. These Rebels have plenty of Tennessee connections

starting at quarterback in Bo Wallace, a native of Giles County, and a

running back in I’Tavius Mathers from nearby Murfreesboro.

Vanderbilt to play

Houston in BBVA Compass

Bowl

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. —

Houston will face Vanderbilt in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 4 at

Legion Field.

The bowl game announced the matchup

Sunday, the first meeting between the two teams. Vanderbilt is playing

in its third straight bowl game for the first time, all under coach

James Franklin.

“Four in the last six years,”

athletic director David Williams said. “This is becoming a habit. And it

will remain a habit for the future.”

Houston, which

plays in the American Athletic Conference, is 8-4 and is making its

eighth postseason trip in the past 11 seasons. Vandy is also 8-4 and

beat Georgia, Florida and Tennessee for the first time in the same

season.

The Commodores have posted back-to-back

eight-win seasons for the first time since 1927-28 and are 15-4 in their

last 19 games. Some 1,500 fans and the Vandy band turned out for the

bowl announcement.

Mississippi State to play Rice in Liberty

Bowl

The Mississippi State

Bulldogs are the pick out of the Southeastern Conference to play Rice in

the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 31 in Memphis.

Liberty Bowl

officials made the announcement Sunday night.

Bowl

officials passed over Vanderbilt (8-4) who played in Memphis two years

ago.

Picking Mississippi State gives bowl officials a

team marking the 50th anniversary of its first game in this bowl. The

Bulldogs beat North Carolina State 16-12 in 1963 when this bowl was

played in Philadelphia, Pa.

The Bulldogs (6-6) needed

overtime to beat Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl to become bowl eligible for a

fourth straight season.

Rice (10-3) accepted its

berth Saturday after beating Marshall 41-24 in the Conference USA

championship game.