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Bowl Projections 2017: Preseason Edition

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What a difference a year (and a Big Ten championship) makes when it comes to bowl projections.

NCAA Football: Clemson Spring Game Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

That’s right, everyone. It’s time for another way too early look at where the “experts” have the Nittany Lions going bowling this season:

CBS Sports (Jerry Palm)

Bowl: Orange Bowl

Location: Miami, FL

Date: Dec. 30, 2017

Opponent: Clemson

SB Nation (Jason Kirk)

Bowl: Orange Bowl

Location: Miami, FL

Date: Dec. 30, 2017

Opponent: Clemson

Athlon Sports (Steven Lassan)

Bowl: Orange Bowl

Location: Miami, FL

Date: Dec. 30, 2017

Opponent: Clemson

Fox Sports (Stewart Mandel)

Bowl: Citrus Bowl

Location: Orlando, FL

Date: Jan. 1, 2018

Opponent: Tennessee

College Football News

Bowl: Outback Bowl

Location: Tampa, FL

Date: Jan. 1, 2018

Opponent: Florida

To start the season, we have 100% agreement about what state Penn State is headed to, and 60% agreement about both the bowl game and the opponent. As most of us remember, Penn State last appeared in the Orange Bowl in January 2006, where Kevin Kelly (finally) kicked the good guys to victory in the marathon win over Florida State. Clemson, the projected opponent, has lost starters in every position group, but is one of those teams that seems to reload, rather than rebuild. They are fortunate to host Florida State, but as usual, have a few tough road games. This matchup could be one that many prognosticators hold onto throughout the season.

Record in Orange Bowl: 4-1 (Wins against Kansas, LSU, Missouri, and Florida State, and a loss in the 1985 national championship versus Oklahoma)

The Citrus Bowl, which has been renamed several times, was the site of Curtis Enis’ suit situation, as well as the game against LSU where the field was as much of an opponent for both teams as each other. Penn State has not played Tennessee since their Outback Bowl victory in 2007, and facing off against former defensive coordinator and man who left his former position due to “intolerable working conditions”, Bob Shoop, would be very intriguing. However, at this point, I don’t think Penn State falls to this bowl position.

Record in Tangerine/Florida Citrus/Capital One Bowl/BWW Citrus Bowl: 2-3 (Losses against Clemson in 1988, Fred Taylor-led Florida in 1997*, and Auburn in 2002 and wins against Tennessee in 1993 and LSU in 2010)

Finally, Penn State has not been to the Outback Bowl since a loss to Florida, their projected opponent in January of 2018, in January of 2011. Again, I don’t think this is a likely destination given Penn State’s schedule, but we’ll have to see. Florida is a team that is carried mostly by their defense, but that defense lost seven starters to the 2017 NFL Draft. Malik Zaire, the former Notre Dame quarterback, has a shot to start for the Gators.

Record in Outback Bowl: 3-1 (Wins against Kentucky, Auburn, and Tennessee, and the loss against Florida)