Outback Bowl President McVay: “This is exactly what we were hoping for.”

Bowl projections for most of the week had Tennessee playing Northwestern in the Outback Bowl at noon on Jan. 1 in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. Outback Bowl president Jim McVay said Sunday evening after projection became reality that he had been rooting for the projection.

“This could be a heck of a football game,” he said in a phone interview with the News Sentinel. “This is what we were hoping for. We’re like you. We have a big board and we’re trying to figure out who is going where, but this is exactly what we were hoping for.”

McVay said last week that he believed Tennessee checks every box in terms of what the bowl wanted in an SEC representative. He reiterated that on Sunday evening.

“We love everything  about the Tennessee Volunteers,” McVay said. “Their players are tough guys they’re competitors. They have an excellent coaching staff.  Butch Jones is exceptional. Their fans, and how about the way they finished. Tennessee, I guarantee, there’s teams they played earlier in the year, I don’t think they’d want to play Tennessee again.”

McVay said he’s just as excited about Northwestern, which is rated No. 13 in the College Football Playoff Top 25.

“How about 10-2?” McVay said. “How about beating Stanford? Northwestern has tough guys that are well coached, that are disciplined and know how to play the game.”