Who and where will the Tigers' play? Sunday shuffling could send Vandy to Atlanta

The Clemson Sports Blog

Clemson football

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson football

In the aftermath of college football's final Saturday, most bowl projection lists initially had Clemson pegged for a Chick-fil-A Bowl date with LSU.

LSU may well have other ideas.

According to school officials, LSU fans have already pre-ordered more than 16,000 tickets to the Cotton Bowl, and Cotton Bowl chairman Tommy Bain told the Austin-American Statesman Saturday night that LSU is "the favorite in the clubhouse."

“I believe we should be headed to the Cotton Bowl,” LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva told The Advocate Saturday night.

LSU coach Les Miles seemed to be lobbying for a Cotton Bowl bid last week when he told NOLA.com that "the great many LSU faithful will find that stadium and will camp out and be a part and participate very avidly in that event...That'd be a great place for us. We would enjoy playing there. It's the style of venue our team enjoys playing at.

"If it were Chick-fil-A, that'd be fine, too," he added.

It appears there's a good shot, however, that LSU will wind up elsewhere altogether, and that Vanderbilt could climb into the mix for the Chick-fil-A's SEC spot opposite Clemson.

College Football News is now projecting LSU to the Cotton Bowl for a date with Texas, while projecting Georgia as Clemson's Chick-fil-A Bowl opponent.

Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated and ESPN are projecting Clemson to go against Vanderbilt in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, with Georgia in the Cotton Bowl against Texas, LSU in the Outback Bowl against Nebraska, and South Carolina in the Gator Bowl against Michigan.

Projections are based on the assumption that Georgia, a 31-28 loser to Alabama in the SEC championship game, will slip below No. 4 Florida in the BCS standings. Should Georgia remain at No. 3 it would claim the SEC's Sugar Bowl bid.

There has also been speculation that the SEC office would favor the Cotton Bowl protecting the losing of the SEC championship game.

Clemson, while still technically eligible for a BCS at-large bid as long as it remains ranked in the top 14, will likely lose out to higher-ranked Oklahoma for the Sugar Bowl at-large spot. There is also a slim chance that either Northern Illinois or Nevada could slip into the top-16, thus earning the final at-large spot.

The Sunday morning reshuffling is a result of Nebraska's blowout loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game on Saturday, and of various bowls' wishes to avoid regular-season and 2011 bowl rematches.

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