Following bowl announcements on Selection Sunday just over a week ago, participating teams have resumed practicing in preparation for the games signaling the start of bowl season. Several media outlets have broken down the matchups and ranked all 39 bowls with both the Citrus Bowl presented by Overton’s and Camping World Bowl receiving consensus Top-10 rankings among the channels.
The Citrus Bowl presented by Overton’s features two historic programs in Notre Dame and LSU. The two teams have met 11 times previously, with three of the last four coming in bowls.
“We saw this matchup in the Music City Bowl a few years ago, and it was a great game. I’d take a repeat performance in Orlando.”
The game which features premier running backs in last year’s Citrus Bowl MVP Derrius Guice from LSU and Josh Adams of the Fighting Irish is called an “unquestioned ratings winner” by Patrick Stevens of the Washington Post. Sporting News ranked it as the top game outside of the College Football Playoff New Year’s Six mentioning that fans should “expect lots of rushing yards in this one.”
SBNation ranked their games on a ‘Watchability’ scale that saw the Citrus Bowl tied with the Alamo Bowl and Foster Farms Bowl for sixth-highest watchability of all bowls, trailing only five New Year’s Six games. The 4.2 (out of 5) even ranked higher than one New Year’s Six game, the Orange Bowl (3.8).
The only non-CFP game that Fornelli had higher on his list than the Citrus Bowl was the Camping World Bowl. His reasoning was, as he put it, “potential for ridiculousness”.
That is to be expected when you have the nation’s third-ranked scoring offense, Oklahoma State (46.3 points per game), taking on the nation’s fourth-ranked scoring defense, Virginia Tech (13.5 points per game allowed).
ESPN’s Greg McElroy sees the game as a toss-up, calling it his third-least confident pick of all the bowls.
— OXVT (@OX_VT) December 11, 2017
The Cowboys tout the nation’s top quarterback-receiver duo in Mason Rudolph and James Washington, both of whom announced they would be playing in the bowl. At the Home Depot College Football Awards Show last week, Washington took home the Biletnikoff Award presented annually to the nation’s top receiver. His gunslinger, who ranks among the top five in almost every statistical category among quarterbacks, also took home postseason honors, earning the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award given annually to a quarterback who excels on and off the field.
Oklahoma State will be a good opponent for the Hokies and their typically staunch defense. This game also features the No. 1, No. 17 and No. 31 receivers in the country in Oklahoma State’s James Washington (1,423 yards), Marcell Ateman (1,049) and Virginia Tech’s Cam Phillips (964 yards), respectively.
On the other side of the ball, the staunch Virginia Tech defense has been tough for opposing teams to figure out this season as the Hokies have posted three shutouts and held two others to only one score. Longtime defensive coordinator Bud Foster has the Hokie defense running on all cylinders per usual as the Hokies have added to their totals of 810 sacks and 373 interceptions since 1996, tops in the Power 5 for both categories over that span.
From Dr. Saturday, Yahoo:
This should be one of the better non-New Year’s Six bowl games. Both teams were clearly at the top of the second tier of their conferences. Oklahoma State has the No. 2 offense in the country (behind Big 12 rival Oklahoma) and Virginia Tech coordinator Bud Foster can be trusted to have something creative with plenty of time to prepare for an opponent.