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SEC Bowl Projections 12/8/2013

stacks-of-bowls1-150x138With Auburn’s victory over Missouri Saturday, the Tigers appear headed to Pasadena to face Florida State in the BCS title game.  Where are the likely destinations for the rest of the bowl-eligible SEC teams?  Here’s a roundup of the projections. Bowl selections will be revealed tonight on ESPN.

1. Alabama: Sugar Bowl with Oklahoma a likely opponent.

2. Missouri: Capital One, Outback or Cotton. Jerry Palm says Cotton Bowl with Oklahoma State a likely opponent.

3. South Carolina: Capital One or Cotton.  Outback Bowl unlikely since Gamecocks played there last year and four times since 2001.

4. Texas A&M. Likely headed to Atlanta to play in Chik-fil-A Bowl. Outback also a possibility.

5. LSU: Cotton or Outback most likely.  If Missouri ends up in Cotton Bowl, LSU could go to Outback or Gator Bowl.

6. Georgia: Chik-fil-A or Gator.  Decision may hinge on what the Outback Bowl does.

7. Ole Miss: Music City Bowl in Nashville a likely destination.

8. Mississippi State.  Liberty Bowl or  BBVA Compass Bowl. Report this week indicated Liberty Bowl was likely.  

9. Vanderbilt: If Mississippi State goes to Liberty, Commodores likely headed to BBVAA Compass Bowl.

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SEC Headlines – 1/5/12 Part Two

1.  A pair of Florida footballers who announced they were last October have decided to join former Gator coach Charlie Strong at Louisville.

2.  Billy Donovan’s guards are having a big year even though they’re not scoring big points.

3.  Georgia AD Greg McGarity says the Dawgs loss in the Outback Bowl won’t have an impact on his contract negotiations with Mark Richt.

4.  Kentucky is out-rebounding its foes at a ridiculous clip.

5.  A state senator from Louisville is pushing a bill that would require the Cats and Cards to meet in football and basketball each year.

6.  Steve Spurrier says Carolina will “try to have a big year next year.”

7.  Tennessee got “out-toughed” in a 69-51 loss at Memphis last night.

8.  James Franklin was pleased with the number of Vanderbilt supporters who showed up at the Liberty Bowl.

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SEC Headlines – 12/27/11 PM Edition

1.  Here are this week’s SEC basketball Players of the Week.

2.  If Florida hires Jeff Dillman — as expected — as its new strength coach, the way the Gators lift weights will change.

3.  All Georgia’s football players are present and accounted for as bowl week preps kick off in Tampa today.

4.  As for next year, this writer says it’s all but certain the Bulldogs won’t face Alabama.

5.  UGA forward Marcus Thornton — the Dawgs’ leading rebounder — is undergoing exploratory knee surgery today.

6.  Joker Phillips wants Kentucky to build next year on its “strong finish” in 2011 (meaning a nine-point loss to Georgia and a win over 5-7 Tennessee).

7.  This writer believes South Carolina’s best possible move might be to promote Lorenzo Ward to replace Ellis Johnson.

8.  Folks in the Volunteer State are looking forward to the mid-season arrival of true freshman hoopster Jarnell Stokes.

9.  This scribe says Tennessee fans should also be paying attention to Vanderbilt’s recruiting class.

10.  Vanderbilt moved its Liberty Bowl practice indoors as rain fell on Memphis.

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SEC Headlines – 12/20/11

1.  Auburn slipped past Florida A&M 76-69 last night, but Tony Barbee isn’t happy his team plays down to the level of its competition.

2.  Might AU use a “mystery tailback” in the Chick-fil-A Bowl?

3.  Alabama is getting back to basics for its bowl preps.

4.  Outgoing offensive coordinator Jim McElwain got emotional when Nick Saban praised him to the team during practice… and the team responded with applause.

5.  Freshman quarterback Brandon Allen is drawing praise at Arkansas during bowl practice.

6.  Will tailback Knile Davis play in the Cotton Bowl and burn a medical redshirt?  Will he return next year?  Or turn pro?  No one’s saying.

7.  Of LSU’s two All-American cornerbacks, Morris Claiborne is the low-key one.

8.  MSU’s linebacking corps jelled as the season played out.

9.  Quarterback Tyler Russell will play through the pain of an MCL sprain in the Music City Bowl.

10.  Mississippi’s Hugh Freeze and his staff of five assistants are trying to play catch-up on the recruiting trail.

11.  The Rebels’ new head coach said yesterday that he’ll be calling plays next season… even though he still might give someone else the “offensive coordinator” title.

12.  In hindsight, Will Muschamp says he should have put his first Florida team through a more physical August camp.

13.  The roundball Gators whooped up on Mississippi Valley State 82-54 last night.

14.  Georgia has wrapped up the on-campus part of its Outback Bowl preps.

15.  The Dawgs want to make amends for last season’s bowl loss to UCF when they face Michigan State.

16.  Mark Fox’s basketball team hosts Mercer tonight.

17.  Kentucky’s Darius Miller says he’s been rushing the 3-point shot.

18.  John Calipari is trying to create a “Breakfast Club” on his Wildcat team.  (That’s my cue to do this for those of you who are children of the ’80s.)

19.  UK and the city of Lexington continue to differ over the future of Rupp Arena.

20.  Melvin Ingram told fellow Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to “keep pushing” through the freshman wall.

21.  When Ellis Johnson is announced as Southern Miss’ new head coach, Steve Spurrier will lose a solid recruiter.

22.  Tennessee may be on a four-game losing streak but Cuonzo Martin is “sticking to the script.”

23.  Martin also won’t cut Trae Golden’s minutes just because he’s got a broken nose.

24.  Vanderbilt got a 29-point performance from Jeffery Taylor — who was coming off a bad stomach bug — in a 99-71 win over Longwood last night.

25.  It looks like Cincinnati will have a healthy Zach Collaros at quarterback when they face the Commodores in the Liberty Bowl.

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SEC Headlines – 12/15/11

1.  Alabama and LSU grabbed plenty of All-American honors.

2.  Gus Malzahn will coach Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Bowl; Gene Chizik says there’s “no panic” in search for coaches.  (Anybody else think of this?)

3.  AU is 5-1 in hoops after a 52-40 win over South Florida.

4.  New Arkansas defensive coordinator Paul Haynes will make just short of $500,000 a year.

5.  Les Miles “wanted everyone to know that he is not interested in the Miami (Dolphins) job.”

6.  Recuperated LSU O-lineman Josh Dworaczyk can either take part in the BCS title game or gamble that the NCAA will grant him a sixth season of eligibility next year.

7.  LSU’s cornerbacks make history on the All-American team.

8.  Tiger hoopster Andre Stringer continues to undergo tests after fainting at practice last week.

9.  Ole Miss improved to 9-1 with a 66-54 win over Louisiana-Lafayette last night.

10.  Hugh Freeze will not honor the grayshirt agreement reached by quarterback Maikhail Miller’s family and Houston Nutt… yet another reason why player should look out for themselves.  (And, yes, the kid will be fined $364 for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana, but that’s hardly a murder charge.)

11.  Dan Mullen is going to get a contract extension at Mississippi State.  (Kudos to his agent for attaching his name to every job opening in the country.)

12.  Florida kicker Caleb Sturgis garnered All-America honors.

13.  Georgia landed two on the AP All-American squad.

14.  The length of Mark Richt’s contract extension will send a message to Dawg fans… and recruits.

15.  Kentucky’s Marquis Teague looked tougher against Indiana.

16.  South Carolina receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Steve Spurrier, Jr. is no longer a candidate for the head coaching job at Coastal Carolina.

17.  But Carolina defensive guru Ellis Johnson is reportedly a leading candidate for the top gig at Southern Miss.

18.  Here’s a good, lengthy look at USC’s NCAA response.

19.  Tennessee dropped to 3-6 on the season with a 71-65 loss at College of Charleston last night.  (The Vols have now lost to mid-majors Oakland and C of C in back-to-back years.)

20.  Perhaps that’s why this writer says UT has now fallen to “mid-major hell.”

21.  Vanderbilt promises to be aggressive on offense in the Liberty Bowl.

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SEC Headlines – 12/8/11 PM Edition

1.  Patric Young put on a one-man show for Florida’s hoops team last night.

2.  Put in context, South Carolina’s 3-5 start might not be as bad as it seems.

3.  Vandy fans have bought 8,800 of the 10,000 tickets allotted to them by the Liberty Bowl.

4.  Gene Chizik says he’ll act as Auburn’s defensive coordinator during Chick-fil-A Bowl preps.

5.  Chizik put out a press release today praising the work of outgoing coordinator Ted Roof.

6.  Alabama defensive back Mark Barron says he never got over his team’s loss to LSU and he’s eager for the rematch.

7.  If LSU beats Alabama next month, every Tiger class since the freshmen of 2000 will have one at least one set of BCS championship rings.

8.  When Wake Forest faces Mississippi State in the Music City Bowl, the Deacons will be trying to prove something to the SEC.

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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.)



* 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.

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Egg Bowl Preview? Mullen, Fedora Trade Barbs

As noted earlier today, Larry Fedora is figuring prominently in Ole Miss’ search for a new head coach.  He’ll likely win a few Rebel fans to his corner with a barb he tossed toward Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen… a coach who has tossed his own barbs at UM for three years.

After Saturday’s Egg Bowl win, Mullen said:

“Hopefully the kids in the state of Mississippi understand this is the place to come to win championships.”

Said the man who’d just finished up a 6-6 regular season.  While Mullen dart was clearly aimed at Ole Miss, Fedora — who is at Southern Miss — took notice.  And it just so happens his team is 10-2 on the season and is heading into a C-USA title game with Houston this weekend.  His reply to Mullen’s boast:

“We’re proud of the fact that all the great players from the state of Mississippi on this team have an opportunity to actually play for a championship.”


If you thought Mullen would allow Fedora to have the final word, however, you don’t know Mullen.  Told of USM’s coach’s comments, MSU’s coach said:

“It’s neat for them that they get to play in that championship game, obviously it’s not the Southeastern Conference.”

There’s a slim chance that Mullen and Fedora could meet up in the Liberty Bowl this season if the Music City Bowl passes on State, if USM loses to Houston, and if the two in-state schools agree to meet in Memphis.

Perhaps our best hope of seeing this two go head-to-head is for Mullen to stay put in Starkville and for Fedora to land the job in Oxford.  First man to an actual SEC championship wins.

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Vandy Working On Extension For Franklin

James Franklin — perhaps the least-heralded hire of all the coaching moves in America last offseason — has Vanderbilt going bowling in his first year.  His fiery demeanor has also brought attention to VU (and himself) from across the SEC.  The Commodores might not be world-beaters at 6-6, but they sure aren’t a laughing stock any longer.

As a reward for Franklin’s success, Vanderbilt is working on an extension for its new coach.  Some Nashville outlets quote vice chancellor of athletics David Williams as saying a deal is already in place.  Other Nashville sites quote Williams as saying “We’re trying to work on something.”

While the school is planning to make a bigger commitment to its coach in terms of salary and security, Vandy is not yet ready to fork over cash for an indoor practice facility that Franklin has campaigned for.

“We hope to have something and keep working and see what we can do,” Williams said.  “Right now we’re not in a position to move anything on that.  But we’re going to be working real hard to do all of the things we can do and need to do.”

Franklin has also made it pretty clear throughout the season that attendance at Vanderbilt Stadium has disappointed him.  Williams told The Tennessean yesterday that VU fans will need to help the school hang on to its successful, young coach.

“We’re fighting now in a situation of bowl picking… trying to get different bowl people to understand the value of having Vanderbilt in their bowl.  And one of the questions is, ‘Well, will a lot of people come?’

Those are all sort of things that need to be part of this equation.  I can do a lot and Vanderbilt can do a lot, but I can’t come over to your house and pick you up and make you sit in the stands or make you go to one of the bowl sites.

I think Coach has proved himself.  He’s a good football coach.  He’s a good person.  He’s a good part of this community.  Vanderbilt is prepared to step up and support that.

I just think we all have to stand up and support it and basically show the rest of the world, and more importantly show all of our coaches, we’re going to support you and fill up the place and travel with you.”

While Franklin deserves much of the credit for the Commodores’ success this year, the work of Bobby Johnson should not be forgotten.  Johnson made VU competitive during his reign and actually took the Dores to their first bowl since 1982 in 2008.  (The current VU senior class is the first in school history to reach two bowl games during a career.)

Johnson’s team slipped to 2-10 in his final season and Robbie Caldwell matched that record last year.  But Johnson had been stockpiling players for the future.  Franklin inherited a team with 28 redshirt juniors and seniors.  Think about that.  That’s a lot of guys that Johnson put on the shelf to age while he battled with a thinner roster.  Toss in nine more true juniors and true seniors and it’s clear Franklin has been working with a roster of men, not boys.  Johnson deserves some credit for that.

Vanderbilt will spend New Year’s Eve either in Nashville at the Music City Bowl or in Memphis at the Liberty Bowl.  We suspect the Music City will select MSU in hopes of bringing more fans to town.  That would leave the Liberty to deal with what would likely be a small Vandy turnout in Memphis.  On the flipside, VU players would at least get to go to a bowl outside of town.  In ’08, Vandy played in the Music City Bowl.

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Richt And Grantham Don’t See Eye To Eye On Effort Issues

In the minds of some Georgia fans, Mark Richt is only admitting the obvious.  Possibly.  But it’s not often you hear a coach make statements such as this:

“When you watch the film and you see another team played harder than we did, that’s sad, that’s my fault.  We had some games like that in my opinion.  I can name one for sure and that’s the bowl game.  It was most evident that game, maybe that’s the one in my craw and is the one I’m talking about most.”

Richt was referring to the Bulldogs’ 10-6 loss to Central Florida in the Liberty Bowl.  Oddly, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham — rather than taking a “none of us played well” attitude — disagreed strongly with his boss when asked about the effort of his defensive squad:

“Not on defense.  It ain’t happened on defense.  When you look at the Central Florida game, I thought the guys on defense were busting their tail.  Now, we didn’t finish the game the way that we wanted to, but to say that those guys outworked us, that ain’t right.  That didn’t happen.”

First, that comes across as a bit of insubordination on Grantham’s part.  Second, he certainly didn’t defend Mike Bobo’s offensive unit, did he?

Who knows how the question was posed to Grantham?  But it’s highly unusual to see a coordinator disagree with his head coach so strongly and so publicly.  Why it’s even more unusual than a head coach admitting that his team got “out-efforted” on the playing field.

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