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SEC Bowl Game Lines

Bowl season kicks off in six days.  Here are the SEC bowl matchups and where the lines currently stand.

Music City Bowl: Vanderbilt vs. North Carolina State.  Commodores opened as a 5.5 point favorite.  Most offshore lines now have Vanderbilt as a 6.5 or 7-point favorite.

Chik-Fil-A Bowl: LSU vs. Clemson.  Louisiana’s Tigers opened as a 3.5 point favorite.  LSU remains a 3.5 or 4-point favorite.

Gator Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Northwestern. Bulldogs opened as 2-point favorite.  That line has held steady – MSU favored by 2 or 2.5.

Capital One Bowl: Georgia vs. Nebraska. Bulldogs opened as a 8.5 point favorite – it’s now up to 10 points.

Outback Bowl: South Carolina vs. Michigan.  Gamecocks opened a 6-point favorite.  That line has moved down a point to 5.

Sugar Bowl: Florida vs. Louisville.  Gators opened as 15-point favorite.  It’s now down to 13 or 13.5.

Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma. Aggies opened a 3-point favorite.  That line has moved up to 4.5

Compass Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Pittsburgh. Rebels opened a 2-point favorite. It’s now up to 3.5 points.

BCS National Championship: Alabama vs. Notre Dame.  Crimson Tide opened as a 10.5 favorite.  That line is now 10 points at most offshore books.

That’s nine games – the SEC favored in every single one.

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SEC Bowl Game Lineup

 

 

VU’s Franklin, Mascot Celebrate Bowl Eligibility With Cheesy Song

When you become bowl eligible in back-to-back years for the first time in school history, there’s reason to celebrate.  And celebrate Vanderbilt did last Saturday after it’s 27-26 win at Ole Miss.  At 6-4, the Commodores are the leading candidates for the Music City Bowl and could actually rise higher — doubtful, but possible– in the bowl pecking order with a very possible 8-4 finish.

As usual, the VU athletic department leads the way in pumping out videos to promote its football program.  Below you can watch the pregame, game and postgame highlights from Vandy’s win… or you can skip right to the 5:30 mark where James Franklin picks up and carries the Commodore mascot into the jubilant Vanderbilt locker room.

 

Vanderbilt reVealed: Ole Miss game

 

This Vanderbilt team overcomes adversity.  This Vanderbilt team wins on the road.  This Vanderbilt team finds ways to win, no matter what.”

Whether you believe the message or not, you gotta hand it to Vandy, Franklin and the school’s promo department for knowing how to sell an exciting message to recruits.

With the exception of the cheesy song from The Script, this clip’s about pitch perfect.

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MSU Fans’ Spending Spree At Music City Bowl Should Help In The Future

College football bowl games were started for one reason — to bring in tourist dollars by inviting two groups of fans to town for a football game.  That was the gist.  All of it.  Nothing more.  And that remains the case today.  Bowl selection committees look at a lot of factors, but in the end they will pick the schools that they believe will draw the most fans to town and catch the most eyeballs on television.

For that reason, Mississippi State fans did their school a big favor this past December.  The Music City Bowl drew more than 55,000 fans and an estimated 37,000 of them came from out of town to fill up more than 26,000 hotel rooms.  MSU’s enrollment is more than 20,000.  Wake Forest — the Dogs’ opponent — has an enrollment of less than 5,000.  It’s safe to say that most of the people traveling to Tennessee for the game had ties to State, not Wake.

Now figure in how much food, booze, gasoline, souvenirs, and other items those people purchased and you can grasp why Music City Bowl officials claim their game had a $22.2 million economic impact on the city of Nashville.

And you can be certain that other bowl committees will consider those numbers the next time Mississippi State becomes available to their postseason exhibition.

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SEC Headlines – 12/29/11

We’ll kick the day off with a few headlines, then we’ll dig back into the SEC schedules for a bit more examination.  So first, here’s what’s happenin’ around the league…


1.  With Mike Dyer suspended, Tre Mason is looking forward to being Auburn’s big back in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

2.  Gene Chizik got a 50th birthday serenade from his Tiger players yesterday.

3.  Nick Saban enjoyed Christmas, but he has watching film by 1pm.

4.  Alabama’s players are excited to play “arguably” the best team in the country… again.

5.  Arkansas hasn’t decided which of next year’s home games will be in Fayetteville and which will be in Little Rock yet.

6.  Ricky Scott led the hoops Razorbacks to an 80-67 win over Charlotte last night.

7.  Its holiday break over, LSU hits the court tonight against Grambling State.

8.  Mississippi State’s 11-game win streak came to an end in a tight 54-52 loss to #6 (and unbeaten) Baylor in Dallas last night.

9.  In the Music City Bowl, MSU hopes to run right over Wake Forest’s small defensive line.

10.  Murphy Holloway’s high ankle sprain is a tough, tough blow to Ole Miss.

11.  For Gator Bowl combatants Florida and Ohio State, their January, 2007 national title bout seems like a long time ago.

12.  The spotlight will be on UF’s interim offensive coordinator Brian White on Monday.

13.  More Georgia underclassmen are considering a jump to the NFL.

14.  Leading Dawg receiver Malcolm Mitchell says he’d be willing to moonlight at corner if the coaches need him.

15.  Terrence Jones was back as Kentucky toppled Lamar 86-64 last night… and now the Cats’ attention can turn to Louisville.

16.  John Calipari prefers winning, but he says “at some point you’ve got to get stepped on” to learn a coach’s lessons.

17.  Bruce Ellington drained five 3-pointers to lead South Carolina past Wofford 57-45… and then he left to join the football team in Orlando.

18.  A number of Gamecock underclassmen are considering a jump to the NFL.

19.  Receiver DeAnthony Arnett is leaving Tennessee to move closer to his ailing father in Michigan.

20.  Cuonzo Martin wants his team to play better defense tonight against The Citadel.

21.  Vanderbilt will ease Festus Ezeli back into action tonight at Marquette.

22.  The football Commodores appear loose as they prep for their bowl game with Cincinnati.

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MSU Won’t Have A 3rd QB In Music City Bowl

When Mississippi State lines up against Wake Forest in the Music City Bowl, Tyler Russell and Chris Relf had better stay healthy.  That’s because third-string quarterback Dylan Favre has left the team.

Favre — a redshirt freshman and the nephew of NFL legend Brett Favre — left the MSU squad on Saturday with the intention of transferring to Pearl River Community College for a year.  After that, it’s anyone’s guess.

For State, Favre played sparingly in 2010.  He completed 13 of his 26 pass attempts or 119 yards and a touchdown.  He rushed 12 times for 8 yards and 2 TDs.

Mullen says of the emergency quarterback situation, “We’ll figure it out”  And Relf and Russell are reportedly happy that they’ll be getting additional practice reps.

The only other quarterback on scholarship in Starkville is Dak Prescott, but Mullen isn’t going to pull his redshirt in this month’s bowl game.  If Russell and Relf get hurt against Wake Forest, it’s likely a player from another position will take over in some sort of variation of the Wildcat.

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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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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.

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SEC Headlines – 12/1/11 PM Edition

1.  Music City Bowl officials say they have a tough choice between Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.

2.  Florida forward Will Yeguete is providing valuable minutes for the Gators.

3.  Georgia wants to stop the run and force LSU to pass on Saturday.

4.  The O-line has been key to the Dawgs’ 10-game win streak.

5.  So what would a refurbished Rupp Arena — and the surrounding area — look like?

6.  Did we mention that Bruce Ellington will be back for South Carolina’s game with Providence tonight?

7.  Tennessee’s Cuonzo Martin wants his team to start playing better defense.

8.  The football culture is changing at Vanderbilt.

9.  Southern Cal’s Matt Barkley could help Alabama’s Trent Richardson win the Heisman.

10.  Some of the best seats at Jordan-Hare Stadium will be more expensive next year.

11.  Arkansas’ Mardracus Wade is stepping up in Marshawn Powell’s absence.

12.  ESPN.com’s Rick Reilly would rather see LSU versus Oklahoma Sate, Stanford, Virginia Tech or Boise State than Alabama.

13.  Rick Stansbury says West Virginia will be a “heck of a challenge” for Mississippi State.

14.  Ole Miss’ young guards had better be ready as the Rebels hit the road to DePaul and then Penn State.

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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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