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Music City Bowl emerging as possibility for Purdue

Purdue football could be making its first trip to Tennessee's capital city in 76 years.

GoldandBlack.com has learned Purdue officials are operating under the impression that the Music City Bowl in Nashville is a bowl destination possibility for the Boilermakers. Music City Bowl President and CEO confirmed in a phone interview Thursday that Purdue is a major possibility for their bowl game.

"We've had traditional success with schools and fanbases that fit the profile of what Purdue looks like this season," Music City Bowl President and CEO Scott Ramsey said. "You're looking at a program that is excited about being in a bowl game again and one that I think has shown the biggest jump in fan support maybe in the entire country."

The bowl game is played on Friday, Dec. 28, 1:30 ET on ESPN and is sponsored by Franklin American Mortgage.

The Boilermakers only trip to Nashville was on Oct. 3, 1942 during a 26-0 at Vanderbilt. Purdue has never played in the Music City Bowl.

"The energy that (athletics director) Mike Bobinski and Jeff Brohm have injected into Purdue is noticeable nationwide," Ramsey said.

Brohm has a connection with the Music City Bowl executives as the bowl chairman Brad Lampley, who is a law partner in Nashville, is a graduate of Trinity High School in Louisville, where Brohm and his brother Brian starred. Lampley's father, Dennis, was the head coach at Trinity during Jeff Brohm's senior year and Brian Brohm's entire high school career.

Stewart Mandel, the college football editor-in-chief of The Athletic, reported Thursday that "one of the closest picks to being a lock at this point is Purdue to the Music City Bowl". In his weekly bowl projections piece for The Athletic, Mandel reported the Music City Bowl is very interested in Purdue and Boilermakers' coach Jeff Brohm.

The Music City Bowl shares an ACC and Big Ten tie-in with the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl in which the Gator Bowl gets first choice for a team either from the ACC or Big Ten as representation in their bowl game against a SEC school. After the Gator Bowl makes its selection, the Music City chooses from the ACC or Big Ten (the conference not selected for the Gator Bowl) to face an SEC team.

As part of the six-year agreement which began 2014, each of the two bowl games must split the ACC and Big Ten selections evenly. Therefore, if the Gator Bowl were to select an ACC team for the third consecutive year, they'd be required to take a Big Ten school in 2019. If the Music City were to select Purdue, the Boilermakers would be the last Big Ten school the Nashville bowl would have through the 2019, the end of the contract. The Music City had Nebraska in 2017 and Northwestern in 2018.

Ramsey told GoldandBlack.com Thursday his bowl committee members "are thinking about only this year and not really thinking about next year".

"It’s really difficult to predict next year so we'll worry about next year when next year comes," Ramsey said. "The introduction of the Big Ten option for us has really given us newfound flexibility for our SEC opponent."

For a more on the bowl selection process, check out our discussion GoldandBlack.com podcast with CBSSports.com analyst Jerry Palm. As of last Sunday. Palm's prediction was for the Boilermakers to play in the Motor City Bowl in Detroit, but he also said Nashville was a possibility if it can work out an arrangement with the Gator Bowl, which is played on Dec. 31 at 7:30 p.m. in Jacksonville, Fla.

Despite its 6-6 record, Purdue is considered an attractive option for the Music City Bowl based on the national attention of Wednesday's news of Brohm electing to pass on Louisville's offer to stay with the Boilermakers program and the fact it is less than a half day's drive for much of the Boilermaker fanbase.

Bowl announcements will begin to be revealed beginning noon Sunday with ESPN's College Football Bowl Selection Show. The show will reveal the College Football Playoff four-team bracket followed by the New Year's Six bowl games and then finally the rest of the bowl matchups. Purdue's bowl destination will likely be announced on "Championship Drive: Bowl Selection Show" which begins at 4 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

The Music City Bowl in Nashville has selected Northwestern and Nebraska from the Big Ten in each of its last two years
The Music City Bowl in Nashville has selected Northwestern and Nebraska from the Big Ten in each of its last two years (Associated Press)

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