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Russell Athletic Bowl Projections Round-Up, Week 9

Jerry Palm (CBSSports) – Duke vs. Baylor

Phil Steele (Phil Steele’s College Football Preview) – Louisville vs. Kansas State

Brett McMurphy (ESPN) – Duke vs. West Virginia

Mark Schlabach (ESPN) – Duke vs. Oklahoma

Bill Bender (Sporting News) – Duke vs. TCU

David M. Hale (ESPN ACC Blog)/Brandon Chatmon (Big 12 Blog) – Duke vs. Baylor

Brant Parsons (Orlando Sentinel) – Duke vs. TCU

Duke is the overwhelming favorite to play in this year’s Russell Athletic Bowl after giving Virginia its first conference loss this season. The Blue Devils were picked by six of the seven media members, four more than last week. Duke has never played in an Orlando bowl game and is in search of its first bowl win since 1961.

Phil Steele was the only person not to pick Duke from the ACC, instead choosing Louisville to make back-to-back appearances in the bowl’s history, joining NC State as the only teams to accomplish the feat. The Cardinals defeated NC State 30-18 over the weekend and currently sit in third place in the ACC Atlantic Division.

West Virginia’s upset of Baylor at home and Kansas State surprising Oklahoma on the road has caused the Big 12’s selection for the Russell Athletic Bowl to open up. With Baylor suffering their first loss and Oklahoma, Kansas State and Oklahoma State still ahead on their schedule, the Bears made their first appearance of the season in the projections, earning Brandon Chatmon and Jerry Palm’s pick.

Kansas State’s victory over Oklahoma moved them out of many projections, while Oklahoma made its first appearance in the projections following back-to-back losses. The Sooners have only visited Orlando once before, losing to Clemson in the 1989 Citrus Bowl.

Brant Parsons kept TCU as his pick for the third straight week while Bill Bender picked the Horned Frogs for the first time after they dismantled Oklahoma State 42-9 this past weekend. The Mountaineers returned to the projections following a two-week hiatus, receiving a spot in Brett McMurphy’s selections.