Ole Miss to Peach Bowl; LSU gets Reliaquest; Alabama sneaks into Playoff and Rose Bowl

Published 6:00 pm Sunday, December 3, 2023

Ole Miss is back in the New Year’s Six mix.

No. 11 Ole Miss will play No. 10 Penn State in the Peach Bowl Dec. 30 in Atlanta, giving the Rebels their second New Year’s Six bowl in the last three seasons. The match-up between the Southeastern Conference and Big Ten will be the first meeting between the teams.

Ole Miss (10-2) is chasing the first 11-win season in program history. It closed its regular season with a 17-7 win over Mississippi State on Nov. 23. This will be its third appearance in the Peach Bowl, and first since taking a 42-3 loss to TCU following the 2014 season.

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The Rebels lost to Baylor 21-7 in the 2021 Sugar Bowl in their previous New Years Six bowl under coach Lane Kiffin.

Penn State (10-2) will make its first appearance in the Peach Bowl. The Nittany Lions closed their season by beating Michigan State 42-0 on Nov. 24.

“This invitation is continued validation of the upwards trajectory of our program under Coach Kiffin’s leadership. We are excited to finish this record-breaking campaign on a high note and carry this momentum forward,” Keith Carter, Ole Miss Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics, said in a statement. “Rebel Nation never misses a party, and I fully expect Ole Miss to be well represented in Atlanta.

Ticket requests for the Peach Bowl can be made through Ole Miss’ athletic department here. The priority deadline to purchase is Friday, Dec. 8 at 5 p.m. All ticket requests will be allocated based on blue priority points to the best available seats in the Ole Miss allotment. In the event demand exceeds the Ole Miss allotment, orders will be reduced based on giving level with the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation.

Ole Miss was one of nine Southeastern Conference teams to earn a bowl bid, with four of those in the New Year’s Six.

Alabama, the SEC champion, was selected as the No. 4 seed for the College Football Playoff and will play No. 1 Michigan (13-0) in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1. Pac-12 champion Washington (13-0) will play Big 12 champ Texas (12-1) in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 1 in the other semifinal, and the winners will meet for the national championship Jan. 8 in Houston.

Alabama (12-1) was a controversial choice for college football’s final four because its selection meant undefeated Florida State (13-0) was left out.

Florida State, which won the ACC championship, will play Georgia (12-1) in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30 in Miami.

The Seminoles (13-0) lost star quarterback Jordan Travis to a season-ending injury two weeks ago, but continued to win with a backup and then a third-string quarterback. The committee, though, is instructed to judge teams for what they are heading into the playoff and decided Florida State without Travis is not among the best four in the country.

Florida State coach Mike Norvell did not hold back in criticizing the decision.

“I am disgusted and infuriated with the committee’s decision today to have what was earned on the field taken away because a small group of people decided they knew better than the results of the games. What is the point of playing games?” Norvell said. “What happened today goes against everything that is true and right in college football. A team that overcame tremendous adversity and found a way to win doing whatever it took on the field was cheated today. It’s a sad day for college football.”

The SEC’s other bowl assignments are:

• No. 13 LSU (9-3) and Heisman Trophy candidate Jayden Daniels will play Wisconsin (7-5) in the Reliaquest Bowl in Tampa on Jan. 1.

LSU is making its third appearance in the Reliaquest Bowl, formerly known as the Hall of Fame and Outback Bowls. It also played in it in 1988 and 2013.

LSU and Wisconsin last played in 2016, when Wisconsin won 16-14 in the second game of a neutral-site series at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. LSU won 28-24 at NRG Stadium in Houston in 2014.

“A SEC-Big Ten matchup always creates a lot of excitement, but facing a Wisconsin team led by a great coach in Luke Fickell makes this bowl game even more attractive,” LSU coach Brian Kelly said in a statement. “Wisconsin has a great tradition with a tremendous fan base. I know both teams are excited to be in Tampa during New Year’s to play in the ReliaQuest Bowl.”

• Missouri (10-2) got a New Year’s Six berth, and will go to the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29 to face Ohio State. This is Missouri’s fourth appearance in the Cotton Bowl, and first since 2014.

Ohio State leads the all-time series between the teams 10-1-1, although they haven’t faced each other since 1998.

• Also on Jan. 1, Tennessee will play Iowa in the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl in Orlando.

• Texas A&M will take on Oklahoma State in the TaxAct Texas Bowl Dec. 27 in Houston.

• On Dec. 29, Kentucky will play Clemson out of the ACC in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida.

• Auburn will go to Nashville for the TransPerfect Music City Bowl on Dec. 30, against the Big Ten’s Maryland.