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MrSEC.com’s Official Bowl Projections

So where will your favorite team go bowling?  We at MrSEC have our own thoughts on that matter and you can find them below.

But first, let’s establish a couple of ground rules.  First, we’re going to go with the favorite in tomorrow’s SEC Championship Game.  So all of the predictions below are based on the assumption that LSU will avoid an upset at the hands of Georgia.  Also, we’ll assume that Alabama will not be jumped in the BCS standings by Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech, or anyone else come Sunday afternoon.

Now, on with the predictions…

 

BCS Championship Game:  #1 LSU vs #2 Alabama

Capital One Bowl:  Arkansas (SEC 2nd) vs Nebraska (Big Ten 2nd)

Outback Bowl:  South Carolina (SEC 3rd/4th) vs Michigan State (Big Ten 3rd)

Cotton Bowl:  Georgia (SEC 3rd/4th) vs Oklahoma (Big 12 2nd)

Chick-fil-A Bowl:  Auburn (SEC 5th) vs Florida State (ACC 2nd)

Gator Bowl:  Florida (SEC 6th) vs Ohio State (Big Ten 5th)

Music City Bowl:  Mississippi State (SEC 7th) vs Wake Forest (ACC 6th)

Liberty Bowl:  Vanderbilt (SEC 8th) vs Cincinnati (UPDATE — through a series of loopholes the Big East can force a team into the Liberty Bowl in place of a C-USA team.)

 

Comments:

* The SEC will not have a representative in the Sugar Bowl as both LSU and Alabama will land in the BCS title game.

* The SEC does not have enough bowl eligible teams to fill its slot in the BBVA Compass Bowl.

* The toughest call of the above games is the Capital One Bowl.  It’s our belief that the majority of Arkansas fans would prefer the closer trip to Dallas — despite the weather advantages offered by Central Florida.  Also, the Capital One committee might feel that either Georgia (closer) or South Carolina (a program that last played in the Orlando bowl in 1975 and currently has an excited fanbase) will travel better and fill more hotels and restaurants.  In the end, we believe they’ll go with the higher-rated Razorbacks and hope for a good turnout, but we won’t be surprised at all if Carolina or Georgia landing that slot.  In fact, the more we type, the more we’re leaning toward a switch to the Gamecocks…

* The only other game up for real debate is the Music City Bowl which has a choice to make between 6-6 Mississippi State and 6-6 Vanderbilt.  Mississippi State would bring more fans into the Nashville area and fill more hotel rooms than the hometown Commodores.  But it’s also possible some political pressure could come into play which would push the Music City committee to take the re-energized local team.  Ultimately, we think State will get the invite to Nashville with the spin being that Vanderbilt’s players deserve an opportunity to go bowling outside of their own fair city… which means VU will spend New Year’s Eve in Memphis.

 


12 comments
USM1985
USM1985

So Southern Miss is really going to screwed here... Thought they would at least go to the Liberty Bowl.

Rob
Rob

The Cotton Bowl is indoor, so I don't think weather will be an issue. Having said that, I don't know why any of my fellow Arkansas fans would prefer the Cotton.

Denver
Denver

Make that #1 and #2 for Arkansas opponents, sorry for the typo.

Denver
Denver

Guys you've to remember that bowls aren't JUST about the best teams playing. They're ultimately about money and what teams/matchups will draw the best ratings/fanbases/etc (and therefore the most money).

I think USC ends up in the Capital One Bowl. The Cotton likes SEC west teams. Arkansas is a natural fit for a Big 12 opponent given their history with most of the teams in the Big 12. Dallas has become a second home, and nothing says midwest matchup more than a matchup in the super NFL stadium. Additionally, the Cotton is perhaps the most prestigious non-BCS Bowl around. I've seen it argued, but Cotton has way more history than the Capital One bowl. The Cotton has almost always been the Cotton and the Capital One bowl has evolved from being almost nothing. It's close by as well, and fans seem to travel better when it's near.

As for UGA, South Carolina won the head to head no matter how much you cry about it. UGA did win the east, but I don't think anyone outside of UGA circles is expecting the upset - which becomes a nonissue for the bowls even if it happens because you guys will then go to a BCS bowl. I think it depends on how UGA looks against LSU, as well. However, you've got USC that has spanked a rival 3 years in a row, has tied the school record for wins, and has a shot at setting a single season win mark. That's MO.

That's going to put USC ahead of a UGA team with the same amount of loses. USC has the momentum. It has a pretty decent fanbase to be from a small state, and this is history in the making for the team. If UGA loses, those 9-in-a-row wins just aren't worth as much.

Last but not least, the argument for Arkansas being the #3 team in the nation is legitimate. However, it's hard to exclude other great teams because Arkansas got thumped in games with #2 and #3. Had one or both been close, then I think you'd have a case. They're clearly a top 10 and possibly top 5 team, but struggles with Vandy, Texas A&M, and a bad Ole Miss make it questionable if they're better than a one-loss Ok St or so on.

All-in-all, John did great work here. Can't fault a guy who covers a conference for not knowing every one of the 5,000 bowl stipulations for opponents.

Jeff Willis
Jeff Willis

I believe that this would be the ideal year to make an exception for the "two team per conference maximum" on BCS representation. The exception would be based on "if two teams from the same conference played each other in the title game." It's only fair! Arkansas was the third best team in the conference. But a case could be made that they are the third best in the nation. Even at six or seventh best(which is a stretch, it would still make more sense to put them in the Sugar Bowl as a BCS at large.

Gamecock in ATL
Gamecock in ATL

John,

If the Cotton and Outback pick at the same time, but there isn't a West team available (assuming Arky is in Citrus), how would they decide between UGA and USC? Any precedent on how they would pick? Or does it just come down to matchups, travel, etc?

VladEmrick
VladEmrick

Nice try, but there won't be a Conference USA team in the Liberty Bowl. The Big East has the right to send a team to the Liberty Bowl instead of the BBVA Compass Bank Bowl if the SEC is unable to provide a team for the Birmingham bowl. So the C-USA team (Southern Miss) goes to Birmingham instead of Memphis, and the Big East goes to Memphis to play an SEC team (unless Georgia wins Saturday).

GeoffDawg
GeoffDawg

Georgia fans would be excited and would travel well to the Cotton Bowl because it's been so long since we've been there but with conventional wisdom being what it is, it's hard to see it going that way. I also don't see SC getting picked over what's a more compelling story and energized fanbase with Georgia but weirder things happen during bowl selection season.

Rob
Rob

Bowls are supposed to be rewards for the players and have a pecking order for good reason. Of course they're looking to make money, but that approach makes the bowl games far less exciting.

Rob
Rob

My guess would be Georgia to the Cotton.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

VladEmrick...

Yep, you got me. I didn't know my Big East bowl deals. Actually, several factors and clauses between multiple conferences come into play in this -- SEC not having enough teams to fill BBVA Compass Bowl, C-USA likely getting a team in the BCS, Big East's deal with Liberty Bowl, etc. It's kind of obtuse and I'm not ashamed in the least that I didn't know the loopholes of multiple contracts dealing with who the OPPONENT in the Liberty Bowl would be.

I started to not even include the opponent. Shouldn't have, really.

I've talked to some folks at various SEC schools to gauge their views on their own league's bowl rundown. I didn't do that -- nor will I ever have the time or desire to do that -- with the Big East, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, etc. So it's guesswork based on a standings sheet, matchups, and past bowl appearances that led me to pick the opponents as I did.

I like the "nice try" part. If you tried to cover 12 schools, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year... you probably wouldn't be such a smart aleck to those who do.

Next time, we'll study up the loopholes in all the league's contracts before making our picks. Just kidding. The key is the SEC side of things.

Thanks for reading,
John

VladEmrick
VladEmrick

John,
I'm sorry if I came off as snarky. I didn't mean it. I actually did mean "nice try," because it's a hard task.

Thanks for doing this.

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