SEC Bowl Predictions: From National Championship Downwards
“Some of the SEC’s the best in the country, and some of the SEC’s The Sun Belt”, a SEC fan told us over cold beverages before the SEC Championship game.
Well, the Sun Belt’s out boys – right now it’s the bowl-making elite – which this year includes Ole Miss. Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas A&M, LSU and Alabama make up the rest of the spots. In other news: Could the SEC West be any stronger?
Anyways, here are your bowl predictions for the SEC teams – in order of the games we FIND THE MOST INTERESTING. Sorry if this gets you confused.
The song for the day’s “Funny The Way It Is” , by the Dave Matthews Band.
1) Alabama vs Notre Dame (National Championship Game) – Jan. 7 (Miami)
Alabama squeaked by Georgia and LSU to get in the National Championship Game, while Notre Dame squeaked by (deep breath) Purdue, Stanford and Pittsburgh to get their spot. The Irish actually won well on the road, beating Michigan State, Oklahoma and once-No.1 USC, and impressed with a solid defense, led by Manti Te’o. The question: Will it be any match for the Alabama offensive line, behind which Eddie Lacy and TJ Yeldon could do the same sort of damage that they did in the SEC Championship Game. If Notre Dame stop the run, then they are going to put the game into AJ McCarron’s hands. Amari Cooper will cause Brian Kelly fits. On the other side of the ball, Everett Golson could prove to be ‘Johnny Manziel-type’ QB that Nick Saban despises….if Notre Dame’s offensive line can deal with Alabama’s pressure. This one’s going to be intriguing.
BOTTOM LINE: Alabama wins their third of the decade…..by 10.
2) Texas A&M vs Oklahoma (Cotton Bowl, Dallas) – Jan 1
Johnny Manziel won the Heisman, Aggies fans. We get it. But now that Kliff Kingsbury’s bolted to be head coach at Texas Tech….will that hurt the Aggies? Bob Stoops and his quarterback Landry Jones sure hope so. Don’t get us wrong, Jones has got the arm to put A&M’s secondary under some trouble – and with Justin Brown and Kenny Stills as his wide receives, the Sooners are going to score some points through the air. They’d better do, because Damontre Moore and the Aggies ‘D’ is going to eat a poor Sooners running game alive. Oh, and as for the Aggies? We think they’ll be fine. This, ladies and gentlemen, is going to be fun.
BOTTOM LINE: Texas A&M wins by 3 in a shoot-out.
3) LSU vs Clemson (Chick-fil-A Bowl, Atlanta) – Dec 31
Soooo…..anyone for some chicken? Anyway, LSU and Clemson come into this game after having far loftier expectations. Both Clemson and LSU were thought of as being contenders for BCS spots, but both of them lost early and never really regained their composure. This doesn’t mean that this one’s not going to be fun, though. Clemson hasn’t got a great defense, and it’s going to get run over by LSU’s running back stable of Hill, Ware and Blue. Having said that, LSU’s secondary could get torched by Mssrs. Boyd, Hopkins and Watkins, who are some of the best receivers in college football. Silly as this sounds, Zach Mettenberger could get himself some early Heisman buzz if he has a good game in this one (he’d be insane to bolt for the NFL now), and against Clemson’s ‘D’, this could quite easily happen.
BOTTOM LINE: LSU’s brawn and ability to play some D catches up with the Tigers. LSU by 7 in another classic.
4) South Carolina vs Michigan (Outback Bowl, Tampa) – Jan 1
We can’t wait to see what manner of destruct Jadeveon Clowney reeks up Michigan’s offensive line. Clowney – who should have been a Heisman contender in our eyes – was frighteningly good this season against some of the best offensive lines in college football – and Michigan’s isn’t. Saying that, if Brady Hoke can take on board Clowney’s naked aggression, and throw small slants to Michigan’s receivers a la Mettenberger in the So.Carolina vs LSU game, then Steve Spurrier’s got some problems. On the other side of the ball, Connor Shaw’s ability to make things happen with his feet should give Gamecocks fans some comfort in the absence of Marcus Lattimore, but it’s going to be a massive hole.
BOTTOM LINE: South Carolina wins this one by 7.
5) Georgia vs Nebraska (Capital One Bowl, Orlando) – Jan 1
Nebraska’s defense gave up 70 against a good rushing attack last time out (Wisconsin). Georgia (with Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall), has one would describe as a good rushing attack. It also has a good throwing attack – especially with Aaron Murray needing to prove that he can perform well against a ranked opponent (he hasn’t in recent memory (sorry folks, but we still think his performance against Alabama left much to be desired). The defence, led by Jarvis Jones, is pretty useful too. Georgia should be able to contain Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead. Having said that, did you see Martinez’ TD in the Big Ten Championship Game? Wow.
BOTTOM LINE: Georgia wins by 17 in a game over by the fourth quarter.
6) Mississippi State vs Northwestern (Gator Bowl, Jacksonville) – Jan 1
There’s no way to describe Mississippi State’s fall from grace as any way other than goddawful. Dan Mullen’s side lost four of its last five games, and was obliterated against local rival Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl. Northwestern, on the other side, have beaten Vanderbilt from the SEC already this year, and will be looking for more. And while we believe Tyler Russell’s a better QB than people give him credit for, Northwestern’s got Venric Mark, who’s a fantastic return special (he was an All-American), running back, and quarterback who could give MSU even more fits.
BOTTOM LINE: We’re going with the upset. Northwestern by 3 in a fantastic lunchtime game.
7) Vanderbilt vs NC State (Music City Bowl, Nashville) – Dec 31
Vandy vs NC State’s never going to get anyone whetting their loins, but the good news for those Music City people is that we might just get a pretty good attendance. Nashville’s a pretty good place for New Year, and NC State fans won’t have too far away to travel. Nor will Vanderbilt fans – although being at a rich private school will mean that a lot of students won’t be there because they are busy at some posh country club do (Jeez…do I sound resentful??). Anyway, Vandy had a great season, coming from 0-2 to get their second straight bowl season – the first time this has happened in the school’s history. Although Vandy’s season was put completely into the dark by NC State’s remarkable takedown of Florida State, which was quite possibly the Upset Of The Season. A lot of people will be looking to see if Mike Glennon’s ‘got it’ as a future NFL quarterback, so Vanderbilt’s secondary can expect some work.
BOTTOM LINE: NC State with the upset! State wins by 3!
8) Florida vs Louisville (Sugar Bowl, New Orleans) – Jan 2
Sorry: We don’t find the match-up of Florida and Louisville that great to watch. The only way we would – and this is never the case in bowl games – if Louisville was at home. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville’s quarterback, is great. There’s no denying it. But having said that, Teddy Bridgewater has never dealt with a defense like Florida’s, which has been brilliant this year. Louisville’s defense is pretty mediocre itself, which might mean that Florida scores more than, er, 10. The big question: Will anyone be awake watching it? We probably won’t be – particularly as we’re going for the Jack Daniel’s to get through this one.
BOTTOM LINE: Florida wins by 14 in an un-exciting game.
9) Ole Miss vs Pittsburgh (Compass Bowl, Birmingham, Alabama) – Jan 5
While the Compass Bowl organisers will be happy because Ole Miss has an incredible fanbase and should fill out their allocation in the 3-hour drive to Birmingham, Alabama, Pittsburgh will not sell out its allocation. In fact, we’re going to struggle to care about this, because a) We will be suffering from bowl exhaustion (and after our diet over the Christmas period, probably bowel exhaustion as well) b) Pittsburgh has been virtually unwatchable this year, and when we really needed them to make us happy (ie against Notre Dame), they didn’t and c) We think Ole Miss is going to roll. Don’t get us wrong, Hugh Freeze has put together a suddenly delightful program that had us kicking and screaming along the way (they lost some real heartbreakers this season, didn’t they?), and Bo Wallace is certainly looking like a SEC quarterback of the future.
BOTTOM LINE: Ole Miss wins by 17 in a game that gets out of hand midway through the fourth.
We predict that the SEC’s record will be 8-1.
Tagged with: Alabama • Arkansas • Auburn • bowl • CFB • College Football • Florida • Georgia • Kentucky • LSU • Mississippi State • Missouri • National Championship • Notre Dame • Ole Miss • Predictions • SEC • SEC East • SEC West • South Carolina • Tennessee • Texas A&M • Vanderbilt
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