Nashville, Tennessee, anyone?
The guessing game for LSU’s bowl destination has a new player: the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.
Thought as an outlier at first, the Nashville-based Music City Bowl, along with the AdvoCare Texas Bowl in Houston, seem to be leading candidates for coach Les Miles’ squad.
LSU’s bowl site will be announced Sunday afternoon.
The Taxslayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida, remains a possibility, too.
The Taxslayer, Music City and AdvoCare Texas bowls each had LSU on their list of preferred teams they sent to the Southeastern Conference, executives from each bowl told The Advocate this week.
Under the league’s new bowl process, the SEC will select the representative for six of its bowl tie-ins: the Outback, Taxslayer, AdvoCare Texas, Liberty, Music City and Belk. Schools will be allowed to rank their bowl preferences 1-6, and the bowls will be allowed to rank their team preferences in the same manner.
“Certainly, (LSU is) somebody high on our list,” said Scott Ramsey, president and CEO of the Music City Bowl. “It’s one of the schools we’re very interested in.”
The SEC’s new selection process allows for a more “fresh” approach and “avoids” schools repeatedly playing in the same bowl games, Ramsey said.
For example, the Tigers have never played in the Music City Bowl. They haven’t played in Nashville since traveling to Vanderbilt in 2010.
“You open the season in Houston,” Ramsey said, referring to LSU. “Played in Tampa last year. (The new selection process) gives you a chance to make sure it’s fresh.”
The Music City, like the Taxslayer, is paired with an ACC or Big Ten team. The bowl could also pick Notre Dame, which will take one of the ACC’s bowl bids.
LSU could play Oklahoma, Texas or West Virginia if it’s sent back to Houston, said David Fletcher, the executive director of the AdvoCare Texas Bowl. The Tigers opened the season by beating Wisconsin at NRG Stadium, also the site of the Texas Bowl.
LSU seems to be among three teams in the mix for the Taxslayer Bowl, a destination many might consider the top among the three most likely spots for the Tigers.
Rick Catlett, president of the bowl, included LSU on a list of three preferred teams he sent to the league. He declined to reveal the other two, but it’s likely they are Auburn and Ole Miss.
“LSU is 12 hours from Jacksonville,” Catlett said. “Not that far from Houston. (LSU) went to the Outback last year. Nashville is probably closer (than Jacksonville to LSU), but not a lot closer. Any one of those bowls would be a pretty good place to go.”
The Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee, and Belk Bowl in Charlotte, North Carolina, are still in the mix for the Tigers, but the Liberty Bowl told the Knoxville News Sentinel that it’s first preference is Tennessee. The Belk Bowl is nearly 800 miles from Baton Rouge.
So where do LSU players want to go?
“It really doesn’t matter to me,” junior linebacker Kwon Alexander said. “I’m just ready to play another game.”