EXCLUSIVE: Why the Outback Bowl Selected Florida

The setting: An elegant hotel room in Tampa. Various members of the Outback Bowl's selection committee are milling around, talking amongst themselves and selecting dinner from a buffet, as the chairman begins knocking on a long table in the middle of the room to get members' attention.

OUTBACK BOWL CHAIRMAN MITCH SHRIBER: Okay, guys, let's get things started here. We're all agreed that Penn State is going to get the invitation for the Big Ten, right. [Committee members voice general agreement.] Then let's talk about who to select to play against them. Now --

COMMITTEE MEMBER: I think we should go with Oregon.

SHRIBER: Bill, we've been over this before. We can't go with Oregon because Oregon's going to the national championship game and we don't have a Pac-10 tie-in anyw--

ANOTHER COMMITTEE MEMBER: What about Ole Miss? They have that new quarterback, what's his name, Jeremiah Fazoli.

SHRIBER: Jim, it's Masoli, and they haven't won enough games to go to a bowl. Let's take a look at the teams that we actually can select. Auburn and Arkansas are going to the BCS, Alabama is going to the Capital One and LSU is headed to the Cotton. That leaves us with South Carolina, Mississippi State --

THIRD COMMITTEE MEMBER: Dan Mullen is going to have to put a smile on my face if he thinks he's going to go to the Outback Bowl.

SHRIBER: -- and, um, Florida.

OUTBACK BOWL PRESIDENT JIM McVAY: We should all keep in mind that it really is a good thing to circulate the inventory when possible.

BILL: What the heck is that supposed to mean?

SHRIBER: Bill, he means that we shouldn't pick the same teams to go to the bowl game that have gone recently.

BILL: Which is exactly why we should pick Oregon.

JIM: No, I'm telling you, that Bologna kid had a great year.

SHRIBER: For the last time, we cannot invite either Oregon or Ole Miss. And it's Ma-- never mind. So our options are Mississippi State, which is really far away and means we have to listen to the cowbells all day, South Carolina, which isn't circulatory enough, and a mediocre Florida team, which hasn't defeated a good team all year but is still going to bring us lots of money. All in favor of Florida say "I." [A round of murmured "I's" around the table.] All opposed? [Silence.]

Okay, then, Florida vs. Penn State it is. Meeting adjourned.

BILL: I still think we should have gone with Oregon.

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