By Parrish Alford and Logan Lowery
A number of bowl game scenarios are on the table for both Ole Miss and Mississippi State, but signs are pointing to Nashville for Ole Miss and to Birmingham for MSU.
Nothing becomes official until bids are announced this Sunday. The SEC season officially ends with the championship game on Saturday.
Ole Miss went into last week’s regular-season finale against MSU knowing that a spot in the Music CIty Bowl was a strong possibility, yet hoping to play its way into a higher spot in the pecking order – the Gator Bowl, perhaps.
Under normal circumstances, losing their last two games would likely have dropped the Rebels lower. The late skid may not work against Ole Miss, though, because Vanderbilt played in the Music City Bowl last year.
Though it’s not without precedent, bowl games typically frown upon having the same team in back-to-back seasons.
Inviting Vandy would leave Music City officials with not only the same team but the team from its own city for two straight seasons, thus missing out on far more hotel and restaurant revenue than they would with two visiting teams.
Vanderbilt at 8-4 overall is one game better than Ole Miss at 7-5, though the Rebels won the head-to-head meeting on opening night in late August.
Though Vanderbilt defeated Georgia, the Bulldogs finished a game ahead in the SEC standings and are also 8-4. Georgia appears headed for the Gator Bowl. If something changes to put Vanderbilt in the Gator, that could put Georgia in the Music City and drop Ole Miss to the Liberty.
Ole Miss is taking pre-orders at olemissfb.com.
Mississippi State qualified for a bowl for the fourth straight year for the first time in school history. The Bulldogs evened their record to 6-6 by defeating rival Ole Miss 17-10 in overtime in the Egg Bowl.
MSU has made two appearances in the Gator Bowl and one in the Music City Bowl under Dan Mullen and have three possible destinations this year – the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham or the AdvoCare V100 Bowl in Shreveport, La.
The MSU ticket office began taking pre-orders after the Egg Bowl and is on track to surpass last year’s pre-ordered sales according to assistant athletic director John King, who oversees the ticket office.
“Memphis and Birmingham are staying ahead of Shreveport but things have been going well,” King said. “We seem to be ahead of last year’s pace especially in terms of enthusiasm.”
The ticket office will continue to take pre-orders through 4:30 p.m. Friday.