There's been plenty of buzz for Arkansas heading to the Liberty Bowl lately.
There are basically two reasons that's happening. One is that a Liberty Bowl representative has been in attendance for at least of a couple of Arkansas' games in November, including handing out Liberty Bowl brochures in the press box to the media. The other reason is there are reports out of Memphis saying Arkansas is the Liberty Bowl's top choice.
Here's the thing though - none of that really matters. At best, it matters very little. Liberty Bowl reps passed out the same brochures in the press box last year and the same outlet reported the Liberty Bowl wanted Tennessee, Arkansas, or LSU last year. They got Texas A&M.
Yes, the Pool of Six bowls will share with the league which teams they prefer. Schools will also do the same. What we don't know is: do any other bowls also want Arkansas? And which bowls does Arkansas prefer? That has just as much impact as the Liberty Bowl wanting Arkansas. The Razorbacks can make suggestions based on whatever criteria they want. Do they want a place easy for fans to get to? Good for recruiting? Where the players want to go? Does Bielema want another shot at Texas Tech or would he rather face a Big Ten team?
So, for instance, if Arkansas tells the SEC they want Nashville or Tampa or Houston again, the SEC takes that into consideration, and ultimately, the league makes the final decision.
Arkansas may very well end up in the Liberty Bowl. The Hogs will always appeal to the folks in Memphis because the Liberty Bowl is so accessible for Razorback fans. And as I've said, for that reason, I suspect Arkansas will go to Houston, Memphis, or Nashville in years Arkansas falls into the Pool of Six much, much more often than going to Charlotte, Tampa, or Jacksonville.
What I'm saying is, go ahead and make reservations for Memphis if you want, but make sure they're refundable. Because it's not a sure thing.
Here's the latest:
ESPN (Brett McMurphy) Music City Bowl vs Nebraska (Wednesday, December 30, 6:00 pm)
ESPN (Mark Schlabach) Liberty Bowl vs Kansas State (Saturday, January 2, 2:20 pm)
SB Nation Liberty Bowl vs Kansas State
CBS Sports Liberty Bowl vs Kansas State
Fox Sports Liberty Bowl vs Kansas State
Bleacher Report Music City Bowl vs Penn State