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35 Post-SEC Championship Game And Bowl Selection Thoughts

600px-US_35Thirty-five random two-line thoughts for you on a rare day off from MrSEC.com…

 

1.  Auburn deserves it’s BCS Title Game show as, once again, the BCS system works out in the SEC’s favor.  Sure it took a last-game loss by Ohio State, but once more Mike Slive’s league will get its shot.

2.  The biggest storyline of the Auburn/Florida State matchup?  In a break from the norm the SEC brings in the high-powered offense while the opponent features the big, bad defense.

3.  Will the SEC win the title again?  Or will the crown once more go to the team with the best defense?

4.  Early verdict: I took the better defense in the SEC Championship Game and watched it get run over, around and through.  Currently, I’d take Auburn by a hair.

5.  Some teams that win on Hail Marys and last-second kick returns are lucky.  Others — and I’m beginning to think Auburn fits this bill — are “teams of destiny.”

6.  More than the SEC’s streak of seven BCS titles will be on the line when Auburn faces FSU.  An AU victory would give the state of Alabama five straight BCS championships (Alabama in 2009, 2011 and 2012; Auburn in 2010 and — possibly — 2013).

7.  So who deserves the SEC’s Coach of the Year award?  After Saturday that question is an easy one — Gus Malzahn.

8.  But can we please stop comparing Malzahn’s one-year turnaround on the Plains to the first-year rebuilding work going on at Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee?  Malzahn returned to a team built with top 10 recruiting classes; Bret Bielema, Mark Stoops and Butch Jones are having to restock the cupboards at UA, UK and UT.

9.  Due to two-team-per-conference limit, Missouri gets the short end of the stick bowl-wise.  The Tigers deserve to be in a BCS bowl after their 11-2, division-winning season.

10.  The Tigers were rewarded for their season with a trip to Texas — where they no longer recruit quite as hard — to play a former Big 12 (and Big 8) rival in Oklahoma State.  Some Mizzou fans weren’t thrilled with such a matchup.

11.  South Carolina fans will feel left out, too, after finishing with two losses and beating Mizzou on the road.  But, oh, doesn’t that inexplicable last-second loss at Tennessee loom large.

12.  The Gamecocks will head to Florida for the third-straight year to face a Wisconsin they’ve yet to play.  It just seems like they’ve played in the Outback or Capital One before because the SEC and Big Ten share too many bowl tie-ins.

13.  We still say it’s a shame the SEC didn’t cut a bowl deal with a game outside its footprint (New York City, Las Vegas) for the next cycle of games.  There will be no Pac-12 matchup, either.

14.  And no, we don’t count the Belk Bowl as an out-of-territory bowl.  Charlotte’s metro area reaches into South Carolina.

15.  Congrats to Vanderbilt.  Birmingham in January isn’t anyone’s idea of a tropic paradise, but it beats staying in-state for yet another bowl game.

16.  Alabama and Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.  Oregon might have been more interesting, but this ushers in the next era of Sugar Bowl — SEC versus Big XII — a year early.

17.  Bob Stoops has flapped his gums about the SEC being overrated since last summer.  Now his Sooners can put up or shut up.

18.  What’s it say about Bama’s season, however, that a date with Oklahoma in New Orleans is viewed as a disappointing arrangement.  Only a last-second lost to Auburn could cause such disappointment.

19.  Speaking of Auburn, kudos to Nick Saban for voting the Tigers #2 in his final USA Today Coaches’ Poll ballot.  You can be sure some Tide fans wouldn’t have been gone there.

20.  LSU draws Iowa in the Outback Bowl.  Those two schools met in the Capital One Bowl in January of 2005 in what turned out to be Saban’s final game as the Tigers’ coach.

21.  The Tigers haven’t been to Tampa for a postseason game since it was called the Hall of Fame Bowl back in 1989.  It’s just the second time a West Division team has played in the Outback game since January of ’98.

22.  Don’t expect Les Miles to be leaving the Bayou anytime soon.  That puts him in the same category with Malzahn and Kevin Sumlin (both of whom recently inked contract extensions.)

23.  The Saban rumors won’t go away, however.  Some sites claimed last week that a Saban-to-Texas move was imminent while others claimed Bama’s coach had already reached a new deal in Tuscaloosa.

24.  We don’t believe Saban will move, but we do believe he and agent Jimmy Sexton know how to turn rumors into gold.  Their brand of alchemy will likely earn the coach another raise to say put.

25.  In further proof that the SEC needed to branch out bowl-wise, Georgia will face Nebraska in this year’s Gator Bowl.  A year ago the Dawgs and Huskers met in the Capital One Bowl, about two hours away.

26.  Yawn.  Double-yawn.

27.  On paper, Texas A&M versus Duke looks to be a mismatch.  But with A&M’s defense on the field, it’s a good bet that the Blue Devils will be more competitive than they were against Florida State in the ACC Championship Game.

28.  Question: Will Aggie fans make the trip to Atlanta to give Johnny Manziel a maroon-colored send-off?  Or is the distance from East Texas to North Georgia just to far to travel for a date with a basketball school?

29.  No offense to Duke, but A&M has drawn one of the dreaded “so what?” opponents this bowl season.  Win and you were supposed to… lose and you just fell to a hoops school.

30.  Mississippi State is in the same boat as they’ll face Rice in the Liberty Bowl.  Of course, the Fighting Pilafs are exactly the type of team Dan Mullen’s squad tends to devour.

31.  While he’s made a living off of beating weaklings and Ole Miss — which counts for a whole lot in the Magnolia State — let’s give credit where credit’s due.  There’s a proliferation of bowls these days, sure, but no other Bulldog coach has ever taken the program to four consecutive bowl games.

32.  Ole Miss, meanwhile, will be involved in one of the more interesting SEC bowl games.  Georgia Tech’s triple-option versus Hugh Freeze’s hurry-up should make the Music City Bowl one to watch.

33.  The SEC finished the regular season with seven teams in the BCS top 25 standings — Auburn (#2), Alabama (#3), Missouri (#8), South Carolina (#9), LSU (#16), Texas A&M (#21) and Georgia (#22).  It was an unusual, offense-driven season around the league, but end of year results look awfully normal.

34.  Last week we took a bit of grief for daring to suggest that strength of schedule should play a role when deciding who plays whom in the BCS title game.  Ohio State’s loss to Michigan State — it’s first game versus a top 10 foe in two years — seems to bear out the old adage: Pressure busts pipes.

35.  The loss had to be a blow to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and everyone in his league hoping to be the ones to unseat the hated SEC.  Well, the SEC’s streak might end against Florida State, but it won’t be the Buckeyes of the couch-burning, rioting fans of the upper Midwest who’ll get to do the postgame bragging.

 


15 comments
Geemom
Geemom

While initially disappointing, I think the Compass Bowl will be a very close and exciting game; much better than some of the other bowls that SEC teams are in.  I am looking forward to traveling for a day and half to see my Dores.  And I think that once again we will show the strength of having a national alumni base. We have NEVER not sold our allotments and we have sold over 50% of all tickets in every bowl we have attended. The total attendance for our bowl appearances has beaten that of some other SEC schools in the same bowl. We do seem to get stuck with opponents that don't travel well but we do very well. Our biggest problem is folks making uninformed comments based on the past and season ticket holders; most of our fans don't live in Tennessee. Take a look at the photos of our side of the Liberty Bowl - amazing....and why was the head of the Liberty Bowl so ecstatic to our press about the turnout.


Anyway we will enjoy the Compass Bowl and B'ham. that no other bowl games are on the day should help us too. Almost all the national sports press has commented about our placement, so they KNOW there was a problem.  I am extremely proud of our team and looking forward to a great game against a very good Houston team. I encourage viewers to look at the turnout of Vandy fans at Bowl games.  Go Dores!

the_voice
the_voice

I see Arkansas' schedule for next year includes 10 bowl teams. Does anyone remember another school with that many before?

vandyfan1
vandyfan1

I find it strange that you congratulate Vandy for being the last team picked and getting the worst Bowl the SEC has to offer. This is not a shot at this site or the writer and I hope and think it was sarcasm. This was a major blow to the fans, and program and will destroy recruiting for the team. Most Vandy fans feel if they had have held on and beaten Ole Miss and went 9-3 they would have still gotten this crap Bowl. Some are even suggesting leaving the SEC. Another cold weather bowl while the rest of the Conference laughs at us. 

bpa_kc
bpa_kc

I am a little confused at why Missouri isn't going to the Capital One Bowl since they ended up with the 3rd best record in the SEC, and Bama/AU are both playing in BCS games.  I was under the impression that unlike the Big 12, SEC teams were slotted for bowl games based on record. 

* not complaining as the Cotton bowl has a good history and good prestige, and the match-up with Okie State is a more interesting one that playing Wisc in the Capital One. 

RoadTrip
RoadTrip

I am so looking forward to Bama/Sooners. Stoops will wish he had kept his dumb mouth shut. If the officials don't booger that one up to help them against Okie State they are outside looking in on the BCS anyway.

Leon Despair
Leon Despair

SEC coaches Saban, Miles, Spurrier, Sumlin, Richt and Franklin all put Vandy in the top 25 on their ballots. The lone holdout among SEC coaches who vote in that poll was Bielema.

Leon Despair
Leon Despair

In the USA Today Coaches Poll, Vanderbilt didn't quite make the top 25, but they came in ahead of Southern Cal, Texas, Notre Dame and Nebraska. Would anyone, ever, have predicted that?

sec_fan
sec_fan

I think he was just saying Vanderbilt finally gets out of state.He admits its not a great pick.They did get the shaft but the whole bowl picture is ridiculous. South Carolina is keeps going to the same area playing the same team. The SEC championship looser drops from a BCS bowl. The AAC gets a Automatic BCS berth. The Liberty bowl may regret their decision with State coming off a bit of a disappointment.  This may not be so bad for Vanderbilt. They play on a day with not other games in a rich recruiting area. They split bowl money so they will still get a good check. Vanderbilt is not leaving the conference they helped found, plus it is not the conferences fault. When they get more say in the bowls next year I thing things will change a bit. Having a 8-5 team with wins over Florida and Georgia in the worst bowl has to be an embarrassment to the league.

viciousdawg
viciousdawg

The ACC waits for your call. We can replace you at a drop of a hat.

viciousdawg
viciousdawg

I am also confused. Mizzou played in the championship game and was punished. This needs to stop.

Bamasux
Bamasux

@bpa_kc is thankfully the last year the major bowls can screw up the matchups bases solely on attendance. The last 20 years of bowl lineups has been intolerable.

Gamecock in ATL
Gamecock in ATL

@bpa_kc Interestingly enough, most Carolina fans actually wanted the Cotton Bowl more than the Capital One. The payouts don't really matter since they're all shared with the conference, so everyone just wanted something different than playing another Big 10 team in Florida. Not that we should be too picky after an atrocious history of bowling, but this is the 6th Jan 1 bowl against the Big 10 since the year 2000.


I think there was some traction with the idea of us playing Oklahoma (Spurrier vs. Stoops), but once OU went BCS I think the Mizzou/Ok State matchup was a better fit.


Not complaining but just wish for some variety. At least we have a new opponent unlike UGA ...

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

@bpa_kc


The league, the school and the bowls still work together to make everyone as happy as can be.  I also think Carolina to the Cotton and Mizzou to the Capital One would have been more interesting, but the Capital One folks probably liked the fans USC brought to Orlando two years ago.  And, if you get down to it, Carolina did beat Missouri head-to-head.


The SEC office is expected to take on an even bigger role in assigning teams to bowl when the next cycle kicks off next year... but it's impossible to please everyone.  There will be hoots and hollers every year... always have been... always will be.


Thanks for reading the site,

John

bpa_kc
bpa_kc

@RoadTrip It should be a slaughter for sure...  but the Sugar Bowl has to be viewed as a huge disappointment for Bama, so you have to wonder if they'll bring their "A game".

vandyfan1
vandyfan1

@sec_fan I understand what the writer was saying, but This is very bad for the Dores. Recruiting will be hurt greatly (A coach is going to say "Why would anyone chose Vandy The best seasons there result in the worst bowls, come here and we will have better bowls even in our bad seasons") Last year Vandy was told that the Gator bowl passed on them to avoid a rematch with Northwestern, yet this year they have a rematch of a bowl game from last year. They also claim the reason for choosing UGA was better conference record yet Vandy beat UGA, then the Music City bowl picks Ole Miss with a worse conference and overall record because they won head to head.  The sad thing is if UT or UF gotten 6 wins then Vandy would not have gotten a bowl. Vandy sold all of it's allotment to both the Liberty and Music City bowls, and were told that selling them out would result in better bowls for the team in the future yet they have went down to the bottom of the list. The ACC comish fought to get the best bowl for Duke what did Slive do for Vandy? This bowl is on the same day the NFL playoffs start so no one will watch or care.

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