Citrus Bowl Football

LSU players celebrate a 29-9 win over Louisville during the Citrus Bowl on Dec. 31, 2016, in Orlando, Florida.

AP photo by Joe Burbank

LSU finished No. 17 in the final College Football rankings, and the Tigers are 16th in the AP Top-25 and No. 14 in the coaches poll.

The Tigers (9-3, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) now await their bowl destination, set for release later Sunday on ESPN. The CFP poll shed some light on that, as a potential matchup with No. 14 Notre Dame in the Citrus Bowl continues to pick up steam.

LSU expected earlier this week to receive an invitation to the Citrus Bowl against, potentially, three opponents: Michigan State, Northwestern and Notre Dame. However, Auburn's three-touchdown loss in the Southeastern Conference championship game could conceivably knock AU from a group of bowls known as the New Year's Six to the Citrus, the top SEC bowl-tie in behind the New Year's Six/CFP bowls. 

However, Auburn only dropped to No. 7 in the CFP rankings, likely assuring the Tigers a New Year's Six spot.

LSU was No. 17 in last week's CFP rankings, and Auburn was ranked 2nd. Orgeron's group entered this season ranked 13th in the AP and 12th in the coaches before slipping from the polls after a 30-point loss at Mississippi State and a home defeat to Troy. 

LSU officials this week were expecting a Citrus Bowl invitation, which would be a second consecutive trip to Orlando, Florida, for the Tigers. LSU beat Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson and Louisville 29-9 last New Year's Eve morning. The Tigers would be the first SEC team to make back-to-back trips to the Citrus Bowl since Tennessee after the 1995-96 seasons.

As for the opponent, Michigan State (9-3), ranked No. 18, finished at 7-2 and in a tie for third in the Big Ten this season, losing blowouts to Ohio State (48-3) and Notre Dame (38-18). The Tigers last played the Spartans in the 1995 Independence Bowl, winning 45-26 over then-coach Nick Saban, in his first season at Michigan State. 

A bowl matchup with No. 20 Northwestern would be the Tigers' first ever game against the Wildcats (9-3), which also finished in a tie for third in the Big Ten. They finished the season winning seven consecutive games, claiming victories over Michigan State and Iowa. 

No. 14 Notre Dame (9-3) would be old hat compared to those previously mentioned potential opponents. The Tigers and Irish have met 11 times, most recently LSU's 31-28 loss in the Music City Bowl after the 2014 season. The Tigers beat the Irish in the Sugar Bowl in 2006, too.

Notre Dame climbed all the way to No. 3 in the nation this season, a playoff contender until losing at Miami on Nov. 11. The Irish already lost to one SEC team this season, dropping a home game to eventual SEC champion Georgia, 20-19.

Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter, @RossDellenger.