Albama Arkansas Auburn Florida Georgia Kentucky LSU Mississippi State Missouri Ole-Miss USC Tennessee Texas A&M Vanderbilt

Wow Headlines 3/8/2013

Saturday SEC Basketball Schedule…
Florida at Kentucky…South Carolina at Vanderbilt…Ole Miss at LSU…Texas A&M at Arkansas…
Georgia at Alabama…Missouri at Tennessee…Auburn at Mississippi State
Heading into final regular season weekend, FLA and MO look like NCAA Tournament locks, TN and KY on bubble
Jadeveon Clowney has taken out $5 million insurance policy – will only payout in case of career-ending injury
Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron played final six games of season with injured ribs
SEC, Big Ten, Big 12 and ACC discussing a multisite, rotational bowl partnership.
Follow SEC football, basketball and recruiting at MrSEC.com every single day

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The South Is Still The King Of College Football Ratings

ESPN has conducted a 12-year analysis of television ratings for college football and the results aren’t surprising: Southerners watch.  A lot.

According to the research, Birmingham had higher TV ratings for college football than in any other city in 11 of the 12 years examined.  Knoxville and Columbus, Ohio were each ranked #2 behind Birmingham multiple times over that same period.

Below is a list of the Top 25 TV markets for college football in 2011 alone.  And, yes, there’s still a strong Southern lean to the list:

 

1.  Birmingham, AL

2t.  Oklahoma City, OK

2t.  Columbus, OH

4.  Greenville, SC

5t.  New Orleans, LA

5t.  Atlanta, GA

7t.  Jacksonville, FL

7t.  Tulsa, OK

9.  Las Vegas, NV

10.  Knoxville, TN

11.  Dayton, OH

12t.  Greensboro, NC

12t.  Austin, TX

12t.  Charlotte, NC

12t.  Ft. Myers, FL

16t.  Pittsburgh, PA

16t.  Nashville, TN

16t.  Norfolk, VA

16t.  Memphis, TN

20.  Cleveland, OH

21.  Orlando, FL

22t.  Raleigh-Durham, NC

22t.  West Palm Beach, FL

22t.  Detroit, MI

25t.  Cincinnati, OH

25t.  Richmond, VA

25t.  Portland, OR

25t.  Kansas City, MO

25t.  Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL

 

Observations:

* Folks like their football in Ohio and Oklahoma.

* Thirteen of the markets ranked are located in the SEC’s new footprint.

* The ACC-area cities put up higher numbers than this writer would expect.

* It’s surprising that in the state of Texas, only Austin ranks as a Top 25 market for college football viewing.

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Kansas City Aims To Become An SEC City, But The SEC Should Be Picky With Its Tourney

To your immediate left is a map of the Southeastern Conference region.  That red dot at the extreme Northwest of the map?  That’s Kansas City, Missouri.  (You can click the headline above for a bigger look at the image.)

Kansas City wants to continue to make money off of Missouri athletics after the Tigers move to the SEC.  Missouri wants to maintain a presence in the city for its KC fanbase (though the area is a lot closer to the University of Kansas than the University of Missouri).

With the Jayhawks balking at the idea of continuing their football series with the Tigers in Kansas City, the city is looking for new ways to stay connected with MU.  City leaders met with Mizzou officials and state lawmakers yesterday to see if the Tigers were serious about playing games there in the future.

“It was real clear to me that Missouri was absolutely sincere in wanting to keep a major presence here in Kansas City,” said Jim Heeter, the head of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.  And that was enough to lead Heeter to say this:


“I suggest it’s a great opportunity for Kansas City.  We keep our Big 12 base and then expand our base to the SEC.  We can make what’s already one of the great sports towns in America an even greater sports town.”

Sounds good.  But the idea of the Kansas City community embracing the SEC is a bit of a longshot.  Columbia definitely will.  St. Louis — which is on the other side of the state from Kansas City — probably will as well, eventually.  But KC?  Take another look at that map above.

That said, there are a couple of options Kansas City and Missouri are already discussing:

1.  Have the Tigers play an annual football game in KC… even if it’s not against Kansas.

2.  Let the Tigers host a holiday basketball tournament in Kansas City.

3.  Bring the SEC basketball tournament to Kansas City.

Mizzou AD Mike Alden says he’s in favor of bringing the tourney to KC by as early as 2017-18.  “(The SEC is) gonna take a look at bids throughout their entire footprint, which includes KC.  I know they’re hoping they would receive a bid and proposal from Kansas City to be able to host their tournament here.”

Are 20,000 or so of you interested in heading to Kansas City in March to watch the SEC Tournament?  Didn’t think so.  Heck, even Kentucky fans might view that as being a bit of a haul.

It’s good business for the Southeastern Conference to award its tourney to the highest bidder.  The league should just know that the attendance will likely be rather low for such an event held in a place far from the South.  Like it or not, Kansas City is still Big 12 territory.  There won’t be much walk-up traffic from folks wanting to buy a seat to an afternoon session between South Carolina and Auburn.

For that matter, very few SEC fans chose to travel to St. Petersburg for the 2009 tourney and St. Pete’s in long-time league territory.

Since being revived in 1979, here’s a breakdown of the cities that have hosted (and are scheduled to host) the league’s annual basketball championship:

City Hosted or Will Host
Birmingham, AL 79, 80, 81, 83, 85, 92
Lexington, KY 82, 86, 93
Nashville, TN 84, 91, 01, 06, 10, 13
Atlanta, GA 87, 95, 98, 99, 00, 02, 04, 05, 07, 08, 11, 14
Baton Rouge, LA 88
Knoxville, TN 89
Orlando, FL 90
Memphis, TN 94, 97
New Orleans, LA 96, 03, 12

Obviously, the SEC has outgrown the days of playing the tourney at on-campus sites.  Good.  It shouldn’t go back to that.  Ever.

The SEC wants prime bids and it wants great exposure and it wants to expand into new territories and convert new fans.  Fine, fine, fine and fine.  But there’s a price for going too far outside its region.  Namely: Perception.

If the SEC hosts its tourney in Kansas City, Mike Slive had better be prepared for a national TV audience to see scores of empty seats surrounding his teams.  If that issue and overall gate revenue are not concerns, then to KC the tourney should go.

But if we at MrSEC.com were handling things — and obviously we’re not — the league would create a regular rotation of host cities based upon top-notch facilities, good infrastructure, tourist opportunities, and a location close to multiple schools in the SEC.

Here are the cities that would fit the bill:

* Atlanta, obviously.

* Nashville is another fine tourist destination with good facilities and a great downtown.

* New Orleans is a vacation destination and it should be in the mix regularly.  Though we’d keep an eye on this year’s tourney to make sure.

* With Beale Street and barbecue, Memphis would make sense as well — especially with the addition of two Central Time Zone schools to the league — but we notice that the league hasn’t been there in a while.  So Memphis would be a big maybe.

That’s it.  That’s three cities (and possibly a fourth) in the rotation.  If the SEC wants to reward Missouri and Texas A&M with tourneys in their backyards, then the league should focus on St. Louis and Houston which are closer to the SEC’s natural footprint than Kansas City, Dallas or San Antonio.

And St. Louis and Houston would still take the league into new, unconquered territories.

Kansas City?  That seems a bit too far way for the average SEC fan.

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LSU- Alabama & The Rematch Option

Thom Abraham

I have continually maintained that I am not a big “Rematch” guy when it comes to the National Championship Game. After LSU’s overtime victory over Alabama Saturday night, the scenario that the voters are going to be left with is this:

    1. Did anything other than “who has the better kicker” get decided in Tuscaloosa?
    2. In a game that features so much great defense, the college overtime system is decidedly unfair, in as much as it does what the teams were unable to do the entire game – get into the Red Zone.

In the case of Alabama, who kept the Bengal Tiger Offense at bay all night, the system put the ball on the 25 yard line, basically assuring LSU of an opportunity to kick a field goal. Of course, Alabama had that same opportunity, but they had already established they had no one on the team, nor in a fraternity house, who could make a kick.

The reason I don’t like a playoff is in this contrived BCS system, the proponents continually tell us that the beauty lies in the fact that the ENTIRE SEASON becomes a playoff.  Well, you can’t have it both ways!

Do I think those are the 2 best teams in the country?  No question!  Would they meet again if a playoff were in place?  Probably…but without out one, I don’t think you can just tell LSU, now do it again!

In reality, with the Tide only falling to 3rd in the BCS, it could happen.  In the end, Alabama made way too many mistakes to win that game, and seemed on the brink of breaking it open several times…but no one ever came up with a play to finish a drive.  And if Daniel Moore would like to take some money from the Bayou faithful, he ought to be doing a painting of Reed’s play against Williams and call it “The Theft”.

The final nail in Alabama’s temporary coffin was when Jim McElwain decided to put the overtime in the hands of AJ McCarron instead of Trent Richardson. That was a panic move that may have cost the Tide a shot at #14.

Thom Abraham hosts a daily sportstalk radio program that is syndicated from Nashville, TN to Huntsville, AL to Bowling Green, KY.  His website is thomabraham.net.

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Dooley Panics, Bama Covers Huge Spread

Thom Abraham

Well, Alabama did end up covering the spread by the dreaded hook… the half point. But the story of the game was Tennessee coming out in the first half and selling the farm to stop the run, which they did, and taking chances to hang in the game, which they did; going for it on fourth down on the first drive, the fake punt, all brilliant, gutsy calls.

The result was the 6-6 tie at the half, and getting the ball to start the third quarter… but a 3-and-out gave the ball to Alabama and the Tide’s adjustments were apparent.

UT said, beat us with AJ McCarron, not Trent Richardson; so the Tide obliged.  McCarron took Alabama right down the field, throwing the ball, and scored without having to call a second down play.

When Tennessee came up with 3rd-and-inches at their own 39 on the following drive, Derek Dooley’s decision to go for it again felt more like desperation.

I think he panicked.

Punt the ball, and make Alabama go the length of the field again.  When the Vols came up short, it set off that oh so familiar feeding frenzy.  The Tide defense was jacked up, the crowd was jacked up and it was only a matter of moments before the band was jacked up.  20-7.

Game over.

Now I’m not saying the ending would have been different.  Just that it wouldn’t have been over so quickly. And the longer you stay in it, the better chance of something crazy happening.  Dooley panicked, and in doing so, ended his own misery.

Thom Abraham hosts a daily sportstalk radio program that is syndicated from Nashville, TN to Huntsville, AL to Bowling Green, KY.  His website is thomabraham.net.


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Tennessee-Vandy Could Be Bowl Play-In Game; No Florida Teams In Polls

 Thom Abraham

There was so much hope going into the weekend for Tennessee, and now the situation appears bleak. Tyler Bray is basically done for the season, putting the Vols  two most dynamic players, Bray and Justin Hunter, on ice just five weeks in. Now it’s Matt Simms’ team and he’s gotta be, like, REALLY?  “I turn it over to you for the soft part of the schedule last season, and all the non-conference stuff this year and you hand it back to me for LSU, Alabama and South Carolina?”  And by the way, who is the 3rd guy because if LSU doesn’t take him out next week, Bama likely will the following week. The Tide have sent three QBs to the training room in just the past two weeks.

The fact is, it’s not like UT got run out of the building by Georgia. They lost by eight points and were victim to several self-inflicted wounds, including not being able to execute some of the simplest of Special Teams…you don’t have to be dominant, you just can’t be screwing up…missing FGs and extra points, a weak onside kick effort.

And then there’s the running game…the second consecutive SEC game that the Vols finished with negative yards rushing?  And it got worse!  -9 against Florida, then -20 against Georgia. By the time they get done with LSU and Alabama, they could be in negative TRIPLE DIGITS!

You’ve got to love Derrick Dooley though; he did not sugar coat anything and was very blunt evaluating his team.  During the game, Dooley was pretty conservative, maybe too conservative, for his own good. He would be well served to take a couple of more chances, and could have clearly run another play before the end of the half to take a shot downfield.

So the question now is, can this team win the six games needed to play one in December?  The Vandy game now becomes, potentially, a bowl play-in game. Forget about the next three and the trip to Arkansas.  They will beat MTSU and Kentucky.  That’s five. So the Vols have to beat Vandy, and are fortunate the “6 wins over D-1” teams rule is no longer in play!

So where were you December 6th, 1982?  I had been married two years, was 22 years old, and 10 days away from welcoming my second child, Kristin, into the world…about 20% of homes had Cable TV, there were no cell phones…no laptops, no PDA’s, the CD player was invented, a new Multi-color National paper called The USA Today debuted, and no Florida school was in the Top 25…no Miami, no Florida St., no Gators…no Bulls, Knights, Panthers or Owls either…As for the Gators, you have to go back 40 years to find the last time they took back to back beats like they just did the past two weeks…Just facts…

Thom Abraham hosts a daily sportstalk radio program that is syndicated from Nashville, TN to Huntsville, AL to Bowling Green, KY.  His website is thomabraham.net.

 

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Signing Day 2011: Where The Talent Came From

We wanted to put together one final breakdown of where the SEC’s talent came from on signing day 2011.  Below you can see exactly where each school went to land its signees and enrollees in this year’s class.  Or you can look state by state to see which areas of the country produced the most SEC talent.

The schools of the SEC run along the top of the grid with the 27 states and one country — Canada — that sent players to the SEC running down the left side of the grid.

Cyrus Kouandjio and Jadeveon Clowney are still undecided, when they make their selections, we’ll update the grid.

STATE ALA ARK AU UF UGA UK LSU MSU UM USC UT VU TOTAL
AL 7 1 10 0 0 3 1 0 3 0 1 1 27
AR 0 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 9
AZ 2 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6
CA 1 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 2 0 1 1 9
CT 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
CO 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
DE 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
FL 4 1 3 13 4 2 0 1 2 4 6 5 45
GA 3 2 5 0 19 8 0 1 0 11 7 1 57
IA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
IL 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 3
IN 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2
KS 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 3
KY 0 0 0 0 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 6
LA 1 1 1 0 0 1 16 2 1 0 0 0 23
MI 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 3
MO 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
MS 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 16 14 0 1 1 35
NC 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 6
NJ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2
NY 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 3
OH 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3
OK 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
SC 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 9 2 0 12
TN 1 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 0 0 7 5 17
TX 0 5 0 0 0 0 3 0 1 0 1 1 11
VA 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 1 5
CAN 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
TOTAL 23 30 24 18 25 26 22 22 27 30 28 21 296

A few notes on this year’s class:

* No school got fewer players from its home state than Vanderbilt with five.  Kentucky was next with just six in-state signees.  The Wildcats lost out on the top three-ranked players in the state.  Arkansas, Tennessee and Alabama each grabbed seven signees from inside their own state’s borders.

* For the second year in a row, Georgia produced more SEC signees than any other state despite the larger talent pool in Florida.  So what gives?  In Georgia, SEC schools are recruiting only against UGA and Georgia Tech.  In the state of Florida, recruits have the option of staying clost to home to play for FBS teams: Florida, Florida State, Miami, South Florida, UCF, Florida Atlantic and Florida International.

* For the second year in a row, Mississippi and Alabama produced more SEC signees than did Louisiana.  Yet from 1988 through 2010, the Pelican State produced more NFL draft picks (251) than either Alabama (178) or Mississippi (137).

* More SEC signees came from Texas (12) than from Arkansas (9) or Kentucky (6).  California produced nine SEC signees.

* SEC teams grabbed just three players from the traditionally deep recruiting base of Ohio (3) and Pennsylvania (0) combined.  Last year league schools got six signees from those states.

* Last year the SEC brought in 305 signees from 23 different states.  This year the total number of signees was 296 entering the league from 27 different states and Canada.

Below is a peek at the year-to-year changes to the SEC’s talent pool.  On the left are the states that produced the most talent for the league on signing day 2010.  On the right are those same states’ numbers for 2011:

2010 Rank State Signees from State Pct. of SEC Signees 2011 Rank State Signees from State Pct. of SEC Signees
1 GA 65 21.3% 1 GA 57 19.2%
2 FL 46 15.0% 2 FL 45 15.2%
3 MS 37 12.1% 3 MS 35 11.8%
4 AL 36 11.8% 4 AL 27 9.1%
5 LA 19 6.2% 5 LA 23 7.7%
6 SC 17 5.5% 6 TN 17 5.7%
7 TX 15 4.9% 7 SC 12 4.0%
8 TN 12 3.9% 8 TX 11 3.7%
9 CA 9 2.9% 9t AR 9 3.0%
10 AR 8 2.6% 9t CA 9 3.0%
11 VA 6 1.9% 11t AZ 6 2.0%
12t NC 5 1.6% 11t KY 6 2.0%
12t OH 5 1.6% 11t NC 6 2.0%
12t OK 5 1.6% 14 VA 5 1.6%
15t KS 4 1.3% 15t IL 3 1.0%
15t KY 4 1.3% 15t KS 3 1.0%
17 MD 3 .9% 15t MI 3 1.0%
18t IL 2 .6% 15t NY 3 1.0%
18t MO 2 .6% 15t OH 3 1.0%
18t NY 2 .6% 20t CT 2 .6%
21t CT 1 .3% 20t DE 2 .6%
22t NJ 1 .3% 20t IN 2 .6%
22t PA 1 .3% 20t NJ 2 .6%
24 IA 1 .3%
24 CO 1 .3%
24 MO 1 .3%
24 OK 1 .3%
24 Canada 1 .3%

(Sidenote — Those few juco signees entering the SEC this year are counted as coming from the state of their junior college.  This is where SEC coaches had to recruit them for signing day 2011.)

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Arrangments set for Cal’s mother

Kentucky
Content provided by Jerry Tipton on UK basketball.

In lieu of flowers, the Calipari Family kindly asks that donations be sent in memory of Donna Calipari or by using Tribute #26909623

to:

St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital

ATTN: Tribute Program

PO Box 100, Dept. 142

Memphis, TN  38148

or by calling 1-800-822-6344.

The Calipari Family is scheduled to have a private memorial service to honor Mrs. Donna Calipari on Sunday, December 5th.

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MrSEC.com Hot List And Bowl Primer

Usually, we bring you our Monday Hot List rankings with a helping of news and notes on each squad.  This week we took a bit more time so we could bring you not only our 1 through 12 rankings of the SEC’s best teams… but also the bowl prospects and projections for each squad. 

Enjoy…


MrSEC.com Hot List Rankings


1.  Auburn Bowl Possibilities:

a) BCS Championship Game (Glendale, AZ) vs Oregon, TCU or Boise State — if they remain undefeated (and untouched by the NCAA/SEC)

b) Sugar Bowl (New Orleans, LA) vs TCU or Ohio State — if they lose to Alabama but defeat South Carolina

c) Orange Bowl (Miami, FL) vs Virginia Tech — if they beat Alabama but lose to South Carolina

d) Cotton Bowl (Orlando, FL) vs Michigan State — if they lose to Alabama and South Carolina

e) At Home — if the NCAA or SEC find enough evidence to rule Cam Newton ineligible and force forfeits

MrSEC Prediction: BCS Championship Game vs Oregon

Why: The Tigers’ defense is not championship caliber, but no one to date has been able to match Cam Newton point for point.  If Alabama or South Carolina play perfectly on offense, Auburn can be had.  But they have to play perfectly.


2.  LSU Bowl Possibilities:

a) BCS Championship Game (Glendale, AZ) vs Oregon, TCU or Boise State –  if a whole lot of breaks go the Tigers’ way

b) Sugar Bowl (New Orleans, LA) vs TCU — if they beat Arkansas and Auburn reaches the BCS title game… or if they beat Arkansas and South Carolina after Auburn is forced to forfeit/vacate wins

c) Cotton Bowl (Arlington, TX) vs Nebraska, Oklahoma State or Oklahoma — if they beat Arkansas but fail to earn a BCS bid

d) Outback Bowl (Tampa, FL) vs Iowa — if they lose to Arkansas

MrSEC.com Prediction: Sugar Bowl vs TCU

Why: I still think Auburn reaches the BCS title game (barring NCAA involvement) and a 1-loss SEC team would be very hard for the Sugar Bowl to turn down.  If not, LSU would be a good draw for the Cotton Bowl (possibly against former D-coordinator Bo Pelini).  And the Tigers have not played in Tampa since 1989.  Lots of options.


3.  Alabama Bowl Possibilities:

a) Capital One Bowl (Orlando, FL) vs Michigan State — if they beat Auburn or lose to Auburn

MrSEC.com Prediction: Capital One Bowl vs Michigan State

Why: It would be tough for a two-loss Bama squad to leapfrog some one-loss teams for a BCS slot.  Also, the Tide hasn’t been to Orlando since 1995 and the chance to match Nick Saban against his former employer would make for solid television ratings.  This is the closest thing to a lock on the SEC board.


4.  Arkansas Bowl Possibilities:

a) Sugar Bowl (New Orleans, LA) vs TCU — if they beat LSU and Auburn reaches the BCS Championship Game

b) Cotton Bowl (Arlington, TX) vs Nebraska, Oklahoma State or Oklahoma — if they beat LSU or lose to LSU

c) Outback Bowl (Tampa, FL) vs Iowa — if they lose to LSU

MrSEC.com Prediction: Outback Bowl vs Iowa

Why: Arkansas is good enough to upset LSU on Saturday, but who would bet against Les Miles at this point?  The Outback Bowl always seems to make a controversial selection and I believe they’ll go with a West Division team once again.  Arkansas has never played in the Tampa bowl.  More reasons for this pick below…


5.  South Carolina Bowl Possibilities:

a) Sugar Bowl (New Orleans, LA) vs TCU or Ohio State — if they beat Auburn in the SEC Championship Game

b) Outback Bowl (Tampa, FL) vs Iowa — if they lose to Auburn and/or Clemson

c) Cotton Bowl (Arlington, TX) vs Nebraska, Oklahoma State or Oklahoma — if they lose to Auburn and/or Clemson

MrSEC.com Prediction: Cotton Bowl vs Oklahoma

Why: South Carolina was creamed by Iowa in Tampa two years ago.  They have been to the Outback Bowl three times since 2001 as a matter of fact.  But Carolina has never played in the Cotton Bowl.  It makes sense for the Outback and Cotton to flip-flop their East-West picks this year.  Especially if former Steve Spurrier assistant Bob Stoops can lead Oklahoma into this game.  (If Nebraska is available, expect the Huskers to get the nod as they’ll be out of the Cotton Bowl’s pool when they move to the Big Ten next year.)


6.  Mississippi State Bowl Possibilities:

a) Chick-fil-A Bowl (Atlanta, GA) vs Florida State or NC State — if they beat Ole Miss… possibly if they lose to Ole Miss

b) Gator Bowl (Jacksonville, FL) vs Penn State — if they beat Ole Miss… possibly if they lose to Ole Miss

c) Music City Bowl (Nashville, TN) vs Maryland, North Carolina, Miami, or Georgia Tech — if they lose to Ole Miss

d) Liberty Bowl (Memphis, TN) vs UCF or SMU — if they lose to Ole Miss and a ton of breaks go against them (like Florida to the Chick-fil-A, Kentucky to the Gator and Tennessee to the Music City).

MrSEC.com Prediction: Gator Bowl vs Penn State

Why: If the Chick-fil-A folks can match Florida with either Miami or Florida State (in a rematch of the season finale), it’s possible they’ll take that guaranteed TV and crowd draw.  That would leave MSU to pack their cowbells and head to a Florida bowl for the first time since the Bulldogs knocked off the Georgetown Hoyas in the 1940 Orange Bowl.


7.  Florida Bowl Possibilities:

a) Chick-fil-A Bowl (Atlanta, GA) vs Miami or Florida State — if they win or lose to FSU this weekend

b) Gator Bowl (Jacksonville, FL) vs Penn State — if they win or lose to FSU this weekend

MrSEC.com Prediction: Chick-fil-A Bowl vs Miami

Why: It all depends on the availability of Miami or Florida State.  Florida-Miami — even in a down year — would be a solid TV draw and would lure Gator and Cane fans to Atlanta.  A rematch with FSU would also bring in fans of both schools.  The winner of Saturday’s game would grumble and the loser would rejoice at a second chance.  In the end, mutual hate would draw both fanbases to the Georgia Dome.


8.  Georgia Bowl Possibilities:

a) Music City Bowl (Nashville, TN) vs Maryland, North Carolina, Miami or Georgia Tech — if they beat Georgia Tech and become bowl eligible

b) Liberty Bowl (Memphis, TN) vs UCF or SMU — if they beat Georgia Tech

MrSEC.com Prediction: Liberty Bowl vs UCF

Why: The Bulldogs should dispatch Georgia Tech, but if Tennessee beats Kentucky (more on that below), the Dawgs could fall past the Vols in the bowl selection process.  Liberty Bowl officials are already eyeing the Bulldogs who haven’t played in the Memphis game since topping Arkansas — then of the Southwest Conference — back in 1987.  If the Dawgs reach Memphis, they’ll likely face former Georgia Tech coach George O’Leary and Central Florida.


9.  Kentucky Bowl Possibilities:

a) Gator Bowl (Jacksonville, FL) vs Penn State — if they beat Tennessee

b) Music City Bowl (Nashville, TN) vs Maryland, North Carolina, Miami or Georgia Tech — if they beat Tennessee or lose to Tennessee

c) Liberty Bowl (Memphis, TN) vs UCF or SMU — if they lose to Tennessee

d) BBVA Compass Bowl (Birmingham, AL) vs Syracuse, South Florida or Louisville — if they lose to Tennessee

e) A Non-SEC Tie-In Bowl — if they lose to Tennessee, Georgia beats Georgia Tech (making 10 league teams bowl eligible) and the SEC only lands one squad in the BCS.  The league would then have to campaign to find UK a spot in another bowl.

MrSEC.com Prediction: BBVA Compass Bowl vs South Florida

Why: After 25 years of losing to Tennessee, I’ll believe the Cats can beat the Vols when I see it.  Kentucky’s last five bowl appearances have been in Nashville and Memphis so expect them to drop down to the newly named BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham.  If that’s the case, a rematch with Louisville might force fans of both schools to attend the game due totally to hate.  More likely, UK will face Skip Holtz… who they beat in the 2008 Liberty Bowl when he was with East Carolina.  However, if UK does beat UT, it might be hard for the Gator Bowl to pass on a Kentucky fanbase that travels well.


10.  Tennessee Bowl Possibilities:

a) Music City Bowl (Nashville, TN) vs Maryland, North Carolina, Miami or Georgia Tech — if they beat Kentucky to become bowl eligible

b) Liberty Bowl (Memphis, TN) vs UCF or SMU — if they beat Kentucky

MrSEC.com Prediction: Music City Bowl vs North Carolina

Why: If UT becomes bowl eligible, it’s hard to imagine a Tennessee-based bowl passing on them.  Plus, the Vols would be finishing with more momentum — four straight wins — than Georgia.  Music City Bowl officials also know that they would get fan turnout and solid media coverage with a contentious UT-UNC matchup.  (Unless, of course, Tennessee tried to buy out the Tar Heels in favor of Buffalo.)


11.  Ole Miss

65 teams are now bowl eligible and 70 are needed.  In other words, it’s unlikely a 5-7 team will be extended a bowl invitation this year.  That means Saturday’s Egg Bowl likely is Ole Miss’ bowl game this season.


12.  Vanderbilt

There’ll be no bowl for the Commodores this year. 

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