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Missouri football has 5 realistic bowl destinations

Friday, December 6, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CST

COLUMBIA — One week after the SEC regular season, and Missouri is still playing. One week after the SEC regular season, and Missouri's bowl future is still not clear.

There are myriad possibilities that could send the Tigers to the Sugar Bowl, the Capital One Bowl, the Cotton Bowl or the Outback Bowl if they don’t earn a spot in Pasadena.

Let’s break down how Missouri might end up at each of the five bowls:

OUTBACK BOWL — Tampa, Fla.

How Missouri gets there: This is the worst scenario for the Tigers. They would likely need to be blown out by Auburn, then passed by the Capital One and Cotton bowls.

Chances: 10 percent.

COTTON BOWL — Dallas

How Missouri gets there: The bowl tends to pick teams from the SEC West division. The last team to be selected from the East was Tennessee in 2005. This is a down year for the West after Alabama, Auburn and LSU. The decision could come down to Missouri vs. Texas A&M — the Tigers hypothetically would have two fewer losses and the head-to-head victory over the Aggies.

Chances: 10 percent.

CAPITAL ONE BOWL — Orlando, Fla.

How Missouri gets there: This is the likeliest destination if the Tigers fall to Auburn on Saturday. Each major conference is capped at two teams in the BCS, so an Auburn win would mean Alabama would likely go to the Orange Bowl, and Missouri would be left out. The Capital One Bowl has picked a team from the East two years in a row.

“Their fans will probably jump at the opportunity to go down there,” BCS expert Brad Edwards said Tuesday of Missouri. “Because they haven’t been going down there every year like some of these SEC teams have for the last several years."

Chances: 40 percent.

SUGAR BOWL — New Orleans

How Missouri gets there: The SEC champion automatically earns a Sugar Bowl bid if it is not ranked No. 1 or No. 2. So if Missouri beats Auburn and Florida State and Ohio State take care of business in the ACC Championship and the Big Ten Championship, respectively, it could be time to book a hotel in New Orleans.

Chances: 30 percent.

BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP — Pasadena, Calif.

How Missouri gets there: If you're a Missouri fan, it's time to root hard for the Duke Blue Devils and Michigan State Spartans. If Missouri could beat Auburn, it could earn a spot in Pasadena if Florida State or Ohio State were to go down. But what about No. 4 Alabama, which resides one spot above Missouri in the BCS rankings? Is there a chance the Crimson Tide sneaks in above the Tigers? BCS expert Brad Edwards says no.

"Even if the polls didn’t move them at all," he said Monday, "the computers would do enough to put them past Alabama.”

Chances: 10 percent.

Supervising editor is Greg Bowers.


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