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Team Selection Committee gathers for first meeting of 2018-19 season

On Monday, Florida Citrus Sports hosted its first Team Selection Committee meeting of the 2018-19 season, as members met in the Varsity Club to discuss their trips to campuses across the country during the first two weeks of the college football season.

John Gyllin kicked off the presentations with a recap of his visit to the LSU-Miami season-opener in Dallas. Gyllin and former Florida Citrus Sports president George Nahas were on hand as the Tigers — participants in each of the past two Citrus Bowl games — upset the Hurricanes 33-17 at AT&T Stadium.

“It was obviously an LSU crowd, two to one easily — they seemed to be the home team — and overall the experience was fantastic,” Gyllin said.

After a report from Chuck Ingram, who attended Virginia Tech-Florida State in Tallahassee on Labor Day, Chaz Pike and Todd LeDoux recalled their visit to Norman for Oklahoma’s 49-21 rout of UCLA.

“Everybody there was wonderful,” said, who also distributed a $100 Camping World gift card to a lucky tailgater in the Memorial Stadium RV lot. “We spoke to (Big 12 commissioner) Bob Bowlsby a little bit, and he really appreciates the alliance he has with the Camping World Bowl. After the game was over we spoke to (Oklahoma athletic director) Joe Castiglione.

“He was on cloud nine and says he’d love to have an opportunity to play at Camping World Stadium again,” LeDoux added of Castiglione. “He’s hoping for a playoff this year, but he’d love to have an opportunity to come back.”

In the Big Ten, Brian Wagner was on hand for Scott Frost’s debut as Nebraska’s head coach. The Huskers fell 33-28 to visiting Colorado, but Wagner said it didn’t dampen Nebraska fans’ enthusiasm with Frost at the helm of the program.

“To say that the Husker fans are excited about this season is probably an understatement,” said Wagner, a Nebraska law school grad who also won the Week 2 prize in our Florida Hospital Photo Contest. “Everyone was going crazy. I’ve never seen anything like that in 30 years or more. Even after the loss they were still very upbeat about it, they were very excited. So I think wherever they go, if they are bowl-eligible, the fans will follow.”

Elsewhere in the conference, Mike Thomas said he thoroughly enjoyed Iowa’s 13-3 win over rival Iowa State at Kinnick Stadium — a trip that ended with a conversation with Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz.

“He was just as gracious as he could be,” Thomas said of Ferentz. “As everyone knows, he’s just a really good man and he was really glad that we were there. As always, there was that gracious, midwestern hospitality. The fans were cordial even though it was a big rivalry because when they get together it’s more like celebrating the state of Iowa than anything else.”

Finally, Chad Wright closed the presentations with a recap of his and Cam Middleton’s trip to College Station for the primetime matchup between Clemson and Texas A&M.

“They were some of the most hospitable fans we’ve been around in our years of scouting,” Wright said. “They were very genuine folks and very nice in losing too, and sometimes you don’t find that’s the case.”

Following the scouting reports, Matt Murschel of the Orlando Sentinel offered his take on the first two seasons of the season and also gave previews of the season to come in the ACC, SEC, Big Ten and Big 12.

Looking ahead, Murschel singled out Ohio State-TCU as a game to watch this during Week 3.

“This is their big test,” Murschel said of the Buckeyes, who are 2-0 with convincing wins over Oregon State and Rutgers thus far. “If they can beat TCU at a neutral site, you’ll probably see them jump into the top four and be a playoff contender the rest of the season.”

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