Jerry Palm (CBSSports) – Virginia Tech vs. Kansas State
Phil Steele (Phil Steele’s College Football Preview) – Notre Dame vs. Kansas State
Brett McMurphy (ESPN) – Notre Dame vs. Kansas State
Mark Schlabach (ESPN) – Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma State
Bill Bender (Sporting News) – Notre Dame vs. Kansas State
David M. Hale (ESPN ACC Blog)/Brandon Chatmon (Big 12 Blog) – Notre Dame vs. West Virginia
Brant Parsons (Orlando Sentinel) – Louisville vs. Oklahoma State
Notre Dame remains the favorite in this week’s projections following their dominant performance at home against their rival Michigan Wolverines over the weekend. The Fighting Irish captured the final meeting of the series with a 31-0 shutout. Bill Bender of Sporting News and ESPN Big 12 Blog reporter Brandon Chatmon are the only two projections that changed from last week.
David M. Hale of the ESPN ACC Blog joins Bill Bender, Brett McMurphy, Mark Schlabach and Phil Steele who all kept Notre Dame in their projections for the second week in a row. In Notre Dame’s last trip to Orlando, the Florida State Seminoles score the game’s final 18 points to knock off the Irish 18-14 in the 2011 Champs Sports (now Russell Athletic) Bowl.
Kansas State also stayed a favorite in this week’s projections receiving the votes of Jerry Palm, Brett McMurphy and Phil Steele for the second consecutive week. The Wildcats are coming off of a 32-28 win on the road against Iowa State in their conference opener where they scored the game’s final 19 points to avoid the upset. After their bowl victory last season, the Wildcats are looking to win back-to-back bowl games for the first time since they won the 1999 Holiday Bowl and 2001 Cotton Bowl. This would be their first trip to Orlando.
The Cowboys of Oklahoma State received Brant Parsons and Mark Schalabach’s pick for the second successive week while Brandon Chatmon changed his projection to West Virginia following a gritty performance in a 33-23 loss against Alabama and a 54-0 shutout victory over Towson. West Virginia made their first visit to Orlando in the 2010 Champs Sports Bowl where they fell to Russell Wilson and the NC State Wolfpack, 23-7. Oklahoma State topped Missouri State 40-23 for their first win of the season after taking the Florida Seminoles down to the wire in their week one matchup, losing 37-31.
Jerry Palm kept Virginia Tech in his projections following their impressive 35-21 victory over Ohio State in “The Horseshoe” while Louisville remains Parsons pick to play in the bowl following their win over Murray State. Both programs made their Russell Athletic Bowl debut in the past two years, with each team coming away victorious (Virginia Tech in 2012; Louisville in 2013).