If the Capital One Bowl committee had it its way, the Northwestern Wildcats would be preparing to take on Heisman-winner Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies on Jan. 1 in Orlando, Fla.
Unfortunately for the committee, the SEC and Big Ten preferred a more traditional matchup between the runner-up from each conference, which is why the Georgia Bulldogs will take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Capital One Bowl.
Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel offers up the juicy details on the behind-the-scenes battle:
According to two members of the bowl search committee, the Jan. 1 Cap One Bowl reps wanted Texas A&M quarterback and Heisman winner Johnny Manziel to play in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1, but the Southeastern Conference essentially forced them to take Georgia -- the loser of the SEC Championship Game. Not only that, but Cap One Bowl reps wanted to match up Texas A&M with Northwestern, but the Big Ten forced them to take Nebraska, which was in the Cap One Bowl last year and was clobbered by Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Steve Hogan, the executive director of the Capital One Bowl, made sure to say all the right things when Bianchi followed up with him, but he did not specifically confirm or deny the report. Instead, he chose to speak about the importance of conference partnerships and the valued 20-year relationship the bowl has cultivated with the Big Ten and SEC.
In the end, Johnny Football won't be coming to Orlando this winter, and neither will Northwestern. The Wildcats are set to take on Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl on Jan. 1, while Texas A&M will play Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 4.