KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Tennessee athletic department has scheduled an announcement at 5:30 Sunday evening for what bowl game the Vols will play in.
However, UT officials close to the situation have told Sports Overtime that there's a possibility the announcement will be delayed.
From what WVLT has been told, Outback Bowl officials have a strong desire to have Florida a part of their New Year's Day bowl. The Gator Bowl would love to have Florida, but the Outback Bowl picks first. Because it was thought South Carolina would end up in the Outback (and not Florida), it's this move that has complicated things.
Where do the Gamecocks land? There's speculation that the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta would love to have a South Carolina-Florida State matchup. If this happens, it still leaves the Gator Bowl searching for its SEC team--and that's where the Vols come into play.
Since Tennessee beat Kentucky Nov. 27, all indications pointed to the Vols heading to Nashville to play in the Music City Bowl. That game is slated for December 30 against a team from the ACC.
In the last 48 hours, however, there's been some buzz about a possible Tennessee-Michigan matchup in the Gator Bowl. The Gator Bowl takes place in Jacksonville on January 1 and kicks off at 1:30.
Thewolverine.com reports that Tennessee and Michigan have accepted invitations to meet in the Gator Bowl.
Furthermore, Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton tweeted Saturday afternoon: "Gator or Music City Vol fans- if u recd tix email, u can order either on-line tonight & are only charged for where we are selected."
If Tennessee is offered the Gator Bowl, then UT officials have a tough decision to make. It would be hard to pass up a New Year's Day bowl, but plenty of Vol fans have already purchased tickets to the Music City Bowl.
Also, with money tight for many American families, UT knows a three hour drive from Knoxville to Nashville's LP Field is much more doable, and much more affordable, then a trip to Jacksonville and the Gator Bowl.
Earlier this week, Sports Overtime reported that the Vols would not drop below the Music City Bowl (eliminating the Liberty Bowl and the BBVA Compass Bowl).
If it is a Tennessee-Michigan matchup, it would mark just the second meeting ever between the two schools. Tennessee won the only game in the series, a 45-17 victory in the 2001 Citrus Bowl.
Be sure to tune into WVLT Sunday at 6 p.m. for a 30-minute special on Tennessee's bowl announcement.
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