Tennessee Headed To Miami For Orange Bowl, While Alabama Will Play In Sugar Bowl, Cotton And Rose Bowl Set

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The past month might not have gone according to plan for both Tennessee and Alabama, but each will both be playing in a New Year’s bowl game. After the College Football Playoff was announced, it was clear that the Vols and Tide’ would represent the SEC in the two other games on the holiday.

Many made the argument that Tennessee deserved to be ranked higher than Alabama once the final poll was released. But, because of Alabama being ranked higher than Josh Heupel’s squad, it will head to New Orleans to face Kansas State.

Tennessee Heading To Miami For Orange Bowl

Luckily for the Vols, with Utah beating USC on Friday, this propelled Ohio State into the playoff, opening a spot in the Orange Bowl. This is a much better outcome for Tennessee, as it was looking like it’d be headed to the Cotton Bowl to play Tulane. After going 10-2, Tennessee will play in a marquee game against Clemson.

This will be the first time Tennessee has played in the Orange Bowl since 1997.

Tennessee Vols beat Pitt Panthers
Tennessee celebrates the win. Courtesy of Tennessee Football

The amount of orange that will descend upon South Beach will cause many local residents to lose their mind over the amount of fans that will invade their city. According to one bowl rep that I spoke with last week, the Orange Bowl is loving this pairing, knowing the Vols will travel by the thousands to Miami.

Tennessee will be playing without quarterback Hendon Hooker, who suffered a torn ACL against South Carolina.

Alabama Headed To New Orleans For Sugar Bowl

As for Alabama, if it’s not the playoff, it’s usually a hard sell for fans to make the trek to a bowl game. Luckily for Crimson Tide fans, the game will be played in New Orleans, which is a one-day trip for the Nick Saban faithful. Either way, this is certainly not where Alabama wanted to spend New Years, but fans can make the most out of Bourbon Street.

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young not expected to play against Texas A&M. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Alabama Quarterback Bryce Young. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Which players will decide to sit-out the bowl game? How many players decide not to risk injury? These will be questions asked over the next week or so. It’s not worth it for high-profile players to risk a long-term injury before starting their NFL preparation.

Rose Bowl And Cotton Bowl Matchups Set

Thanks to Tulane defeating UCF in the AAC Championship, the Green Wave will face USC in the Cotton Bowl. After losing in the PAC-12 title game, the Trojans’ playoff chances evaporated, sending them to Dallas. This is a huge game for Tulane HC Willie Fritz, who gets an opportunity to close the season with a marquee win.

The team that defeated USC for the PAC-12 Title, Utah, will be headed to the Rose Bowl. The Utes will face Penn State, which was the highest ranked team in the Big Ten that didn’t make the playoff. This will be an entertaining matchup, with Utah quarterback Cam Rising playing fantastic in the conference title game.

Written by Trey Wallace

Wallace started covering the SEC in 2012, as the conference landscape was beginning to change. Prior to his time in Knoxville, Wallace worked in Nashville for The Read Optional, where he first produced content that garnered national attention. His passion for sports is evident in his work and has led him to break some of college football’s biggest stories. His social media reach and natural podcast proficiency continue to make Wallace one of SEC’s most trusted sources.

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