QUESTION: Dave, I don't want to get ahead of myself, but are teams chosen by bowl committees or by their individual conference on where they will play?
MATTER: It depends which bowls you're talking about. After the College Football Playoff semifinal bowls (Cotton, Orange) and the New Years Access bowls (Sugar, Rose, Fiesta, Peach), the Citrus Bowl picks the best available SEC team. Back in 2014, Mizzou was the Citrus Bowl’s choice once the playoff seeds were set and the access bowls chose their teams. As of right now, as many as four SEC teams could make the playoff and access bowls: Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Kentucky. Maybe another team cracks that group depending on how things unfold the next couple weeks.
After the Citrus Bowl's SEC selection, there's what the league calls the Group of Six bowls. The league office, in communication with the bowls and the schools, decides which SEC teams play in these six bowls: Outback, Gator, Belk, Music City, Texas and Liberty. If there are any eligible SEC teams left in the mix, the Independence and Birmingham Bowl have the final picks. At this rate, MU should be squarely in the mix for the Group of Six. I doubt the league would want to send the Tigers back to Houston. The Liberty typically gets the final choice, and this year there might not be enough eligible SEC teams for the Liberty. If so, MU's most realistic spots could be Music City or Belk. Proximity will play a factor, too, and some of the more southern teams might make more sense for the two bowls in Florida.
That said, MU has to win one more game and winning three more would make the Tigers more attractive, obviously.
This article originally ran on stltoday.com.