Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Shake-Up Could Land Aggies in Gator Bowl; Auburn's Stunning Win Increases Options for Bowls with SEC Ties

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Shake-Up Could Land Aggies in Gator Bowl; Auburn's Stunning Win Increases Options for Bowls with SEC Ties

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry Smits

Auburn's shocking victory over Alabama on Saturday has created a trickle-down effect for SEC-affiliated bowls.

And it could involve Johnny Football possibly playing his final college game in Jacksonville.

Monday's meeting of the Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl selection committee, the final one before bowl selection day on Sunday, ended with a feeling that the game's options expanded beyond the projected Georgia vs. Michigan game that has been discussed for more than a month and is the consensus of recent nationwide bowl projections.

However, Texas A&M, which lost its last two games and has the same 8-4 record as Georgia, may fall to the Gator Bowl, where the committee will eagerly jump at the chance.

"What came out of the meeting is that our ideal choices seem to be either Georgia or Texas A&M against either Michigan [7-5] or Nebraska [8-4]," said Gator Bowl Association president Rick Catlett. "Our feeling is that we can't miss this year and no matter how it turns out, it will be a matchup that will have nationwide appeal."

Catlett said LSU (9-3) and Minnesota (8-4) are still possibilities. But the allure of having A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, the charismatic, electrifying 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, would be too much to pass up for the Jan. 1 game at EverBank Field.

Here's how it could happen: If Auburn (third in the BCS) wins the SEC Championship against Missouri on Saturday but stays behind No. 2 Ohio State when the final results are computed, the Tigers will head for the Sugar Bowl. If No. 1 Florida State beats Duke in the ACC Championship, the Orange Bowl not only gets a replacement team for losing its natural conference tie-in to the BCS championship but has the first selection in the BCS bowl draft.

Almost every bowl projection in that regard has the Orange Bowl replacing FSU with Clemson (10-2), despite the Tigers losing last week to South Carolina. Then, with the first selection, the bowl likely will jump on Alabama (11-1). …

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