Picture this: Mississippi State fans believe Liberty Bowl plans to pass on Vanderbilt

There is a clear majority about where Vanderbilt will make its third straight bowl appearance and sixth all-time. The same is true of its expected opponent.

Three days remain, however, until the Commodores and their faithful hear the official word, and projections from college football analysts across the internet are far from any sort of guarantee.

Overwhelmingly, the opinion is that Vanderbilt will play at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis against an opponent from Conference USA, most likely Marshall.

There has been talk in recent days, however, that Liberty Bowl officials have worked out a deal to take Mississippi State, 6-6 and the last of 10 SEC teams to become bowl-eligible.

As of Wednesday evening, the Liberty Bowl’s updated cover photo on its Facebook page was a crowd shot from the 2007 contest, which included Mississippi State and drew a capacity crowd. The near end zone in the photo is painted in Mississippi State’s colors and spells out “Miss. State.”

Bulldogs fans quickly took this as a sign that their team will play in Memphis on New Year’s Eve.

If that is the case, Vanderbilt likely will have no place to go except the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham – a projection made only by one outlet, Sports Illustrated.

The rundown of bowl projections for the Commodores (8-4):

(at Memphis)
ESPN.com: vs. Marshall
CBSSports.com: vs. Marshall
NFL.com: vs. Marshall
National Football Post: vs. Marshall
SBNation.com: vs. Marshall
Athlon Sports: vs. Marshall
PhilSteele.com: vs. Marshall
Huffington Post: vs. Marshall
USA Today: vs. East Carolina

(at Nashville)
Scout.com: vs. Miami
Sporting News: vs. Boston College

(at Birmingham)
Sports Illustrated: vs. Rutgers