LSU bowl projections: Where will the Tigers play this postseason?


With the regular season in the books and a bowl game invitation just around the corner, we take a look at the most likely LSU bowl projections. 

Next: Update: LSU to appear in the 10th annual Texas Bowl

The LSU Tigers have finished the regular season with an 8-3 record and in the middle of the pack of the SEC. As a result, bowl projections for the Bayou Bengals have been all over the place.

A top-tier bowl game appearance is not a realistic possibility, due to a three-game losing streak late in the season that eliminated LSU from College Football Playoff and SEC title contention. A respectable bowl bid is not out of the question, however.

Here is a look at where the Tigers could play this postseason.

LSU bowl projections:

1. TaxSlayer Bowl vs. Florida State or Penn State

LSU to the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. has become a popular bowl game projection for the Tigers in recent days. According to a report on Wednesday from ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, TaxSlayer Bowl president and CEO Rick Catlett said that they are looking at Georgia or LSU to represent the SEC in the game. In this scenario, the SEC representative would likely either face Florida State or Penn State.

LSU and Florida State provide the most intriguing potential matchup. The game would feature a pair players set to headline the 2016 Heisman Trophy race in LSU’s Leonard Fournette in Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, something the TaxSlayer Bowl alluded to in a tweet earlier this week.

2. Texas Bowl vs. Texas Tech

If the Tigers do not end up in Jacksonville, Fla., the Texas Bowl in Houston is their most plausible destination. The stature of the bowl game aligns with LSU’s fourth-place finish in the SEC West. The Tigers’ massive alumni base in Houston makes them an appealing option to represent the SEC, and pairing them with a Texas-based opponent like Texas Tech would all but guarantee a strong turnout.

TCU and West Virginia are two other potential Texas Bowl opponents, although neither makes as much sense as Texas Tech does in this spot. Distance makes a road trip unfeasible for West Virginia fans, while TCU is slated to appear in the Alamo Bowl, assuming Oklahoma advances to the College Football Playoff.

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3. Belk Bowl vs. Virginia Tech 

A trip to Charlotte, N.C. for the Belk Bowl would not generate much excitement from LSU fans. But when a team limps to the finish as the Tigers did this season, it is unlikely for them to have much say when it comes postseason destinations.

One thing that could provide a spark to this game, though, would be a matchup with the Virginia Tech Hokies. Longtime Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer is set to retire following the game, and the Hokies are becoming a favorite to represent the ACC in the Belk Bowl.

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4. Citrus Bowl vs. Michigan

Any potential meeting between LSU head coach Les Miles and his alma mater Michigan brings excitement to the college football community, and according to reports on Sunday, the first such occurrence was possibly set to occur at the 2016 Citrus Bowl in Orlando.

Throughout the week, however, this has begun to appear far less likely for the Tigers than a trip to Jacksonville or Houston. Expect the Florida Gators to be filling the SEC’s slot in this game.

Barring an upset defeat of the Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship Game, Florida will not be playing in one of the six big New Year’s bowl games. The Gators have a better conference record than LSU, have not been to the Citrus Bowl since 2008 and their campus is located roughly two hours from Orlando, making them a perfect candidate.

5. Liberty Bowl vs. West Virginia

The Liberty Bowl is a potential postseason destination for LSU that is not being mentioned near as much as other options, but it is still a real possibility. Located in Memphis, Tenn., the game is played less than six hours from LSU’s Baton Rouge campus, making it a manageable road trip for fans. In addition, the Tigers have not appeared in the Liberty Bowl since 1985.

The West Virginia Mountaineers would be a likely opponent for LSU in this instance. Of all the bowl games with Big 12 tie-ins, this is by far the closest destination for the Mountaineers.

Other potential bowl game destinations:

Music City Bowl

Outback Bowl

Independence Bowl