The CEO of Citrus Bowl breaks the choice

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Breaking Kentucky’s failed victory over rival Louisville in the Governor’s Cup

Dominic Yates of CJ, Cameron Teague and John Hale summed up the Governor’s Cup.

Dominic Yates, Louisville Courier Journal

LEXINGTON – Football in Kentucky will have to wait a little longer to find out its destination for the cup.

While the college’s football playoff committee rankings revealed on Tuesday, it guarantees that no. 1 Georgia, No. 3 from Alabama and No. 8 Ole Miss will play in the games of the six cups for the New Year, Citrus Bowl, which has the first selection of available SEC teams after the New Annual six games are filled, is still in the process of gathering information.

The cup will choose between № 22 Arkansas, № 23 Kentucky and № 25 Texas A&M.

“We want to reward the deserving team first,” Steve Hogan, CEO of VRBO Citrus Bowl, told the Courier Journal on Thursday. “When some discussions need to be held, if it is not entirely clear, we just want to make sure that we have all the data points and that we are attentive to the position we have on the top of the selection line. So that’s why it takes a little longer. “

In the five years since the SEC adopted its ongoing cup selection process with the start of the four-team playoffs in 2014, the Citrus Bowl simply took the top SEC team in the final CFP poll outside the New Year’s six games.

He twice deviated from this strategy in 2014 when he took No. 16 from Missouri (10-3, 7-1), SEC East champion, over No. 13 Georgia (9-3, 6-2) and in 2016. when he took no. 20 LSU (7-4, 5-3) over no. 17 Florida (8-4, 6-2), who had played in the game the previous year.

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In most years, the highest ranked SEC team available for the Citrus Bowl is also the best-performing team available. This is not the case this year, as Kentucky boasts one victory over Arkansas and is ranked one place behind the Razorbacks.

The ranking is a reflection of the strength of the Razorback’s graphics, something the Citrus Bowl will also take into account.

“The only team available with nine wins is Kentucky,” Hogan said. “Arkansas probably played the most difficult schedule in the country, and there was a good season. A&M with a victory over Alabama. There are many things to consider. They are all gathered. This is the debate we are leading and fighting. “

Ranking, records and direct results will play a key role in choosing the Citrus Bowl. Arkansas’ victory over Texas A&M, combined with the lowest Aggies ranking of the three SEC schools, seems to make Texas A&M a good choice.

When Kentucky played in the Citrus Bowl after the 2018 season, the fact that the Wildcats never played in the game was a major selling point for Hogan and his staff. Now Kentucky is the team in the group that played there last.

Arkansas last played in the Citrus Bowl since the 2006 season. Texas A&M has never played in the game.

“I don’t see this kind of separation as disqualifying in the Kentucky case,” Hogan said. “But on the other hand… I think the news of Arkansas or A&M in this case is always exciting and good for the team, for the destination and all that. I would emphasize that this is just one kind of data point among a few that we weigh.

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The Big Ten slot in the Citrus Bowl will depend on the outcome of Saturday’s Big Ten Championship game. If no. 13 Iowa does not upset No. 2 Michigan, Hawkeyes may be the Citrus Bowl’s Big Ten choice. If Iowa copes with the disappointment, it will win a place in the Rose Bowl League, leaving No. 11 Michigan State as the leading candidate for the Citrus Bowl depending on how the remaining slots for the New Year’s six cups are filled.

Avoiding games that have already been played in the regular season or previous cup games is a goal for the Citrus Bowl, but creating storylines like a Kentucky game with Iowa, the alma mater of coach Mark Stoops, is out of the question.

“This is a storyline that will be used if this is our game,” Hogan said. “He is not the one driving the decision.”

If the Citrus Bowl chooses Arkansas or Texas A&M, Kentucky will likely head to the New Year’s Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida.

Just a week ago, there was a real scenario where the Citrus Bowl took the Texas A&M, the SEC sent Arkansas to the Outback Bowl, and Kentucky fell to the Music City Bowl thanks to the SEC selection process with its related cups after Citrus. Texas A&M’s LSU upset in the regular season finale ensures that Kentucky has another win and a better ranking than Aggies, essentially ensuring that Kentucky gets its first choice from the SEC’s Pool of Six games. (Outback, Gator, Music City, Texas, Duke’s Mayo and Liberty).

Stopes is clear that the team is aiming to play for the New Year.

“In terms of Kentucky, they’re the only 9-3 team, I don’t really see them in our mix this year,” Scott Ramsey, president and CEO of Music City Bowl, told the Courier Journal.

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Ramsey and his team, like the rest of the Pool of Six bowls, will wait for the Citrus Bowl to make their choice before committing to the SEC for final talks on how the league will fill its next level of cups. The results of the conference championship games should be the last piece of data for the Citrus Bowl to make a decision late on Saturday night or early on Sunday morning.

The Citrus Bowl will announce its selection after the playoff committee unveils a field of six for the New Year.

“We feel we can’t lose, to be honest,” Hogan said. “I know you hear a lot, but you feel like you can’t lose with any of these three.

Email John Hale [email protected]; Follow him on Twitter at @JonHale_CJ.

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