AN SEC SWEEP?
All nine bowl-eligible SEC teams are favored in their respective games:
Music City: Vanderbilt over N.C. State by 6.5
Chick-fil-A: LSU over Clemson by 4
Gator: Mississppi State over Northwestern by 2
Outback: South Carolina over Michigan by 5
Capital One: Georgia over Nebraska by 10
Sugar: Florida over Louisville by 13.5
Cotton: Texas A&M over Oklahoma by 4.5
BBVA Compass: Ole Miss over Pittsburgh by 3.5
BCS championship: Alabama over Notre Dame by 9.5
ATHENS, Ga. — If Georgia took a Scrooge-like approach to college football's bowl season, there would be no shortage of Southeastern Conference teams for the Bulldogs to cheer against.
Alabama dashed their hopes of a national championship earlier this month in the SEC title game. South Carolina demolished the Bulldogs on the first Saturday in October. And Florida captured the league's second berth in a BCS bowl despite the Bulldogs downing the Gators in Jacksonville.
"I'm pulling for every single one of them," Georgia senior receiver Tavarres King said. "I want the SEC to win every bowl to continue to show the dominance and that we're the best conference in the nation."
The oddsmakers already feel that way, as all nine bowl-eligible SEC teams are favored. Florida is the biggest favorite at 13.5 points over Louisville in the Sugar Bowl, and Georgia is next as a 10-point pick over Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl.
Alabama is a 9.5-point favorite over Notre Dame in the BCS championship game.
"We have six teams in the top 10 of the BCS, so I assume that we would be favored in a lot of these bowls, which speaks well for the conference," Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said. "Our record speaks for itself, but you're only as good as your current year, so we've got to go out there and prove it. I know we would like to add to the tally of SEC wins during the bowl season come Jan. 1."
In addition to four SEC schools -- Alabama, Auburn, Florida and LSU -- combining to win the past six national championships, the league sports a 47-27 bowl record since the 2003 postseason. The league's last losing record occurred after the '02 season at 3-4, but the SEC won its two biggest bowls that year when Georgia defeated Florida State in the Sugar and Auburn topped Penn State in the Capital One.
Despite having nine favored teams, the SEC will be hard-pressed to pull the sweep this year. The league last went undefeated in 1996, when Florida routed Florida State in the Sugar Bowl for the national title, Tennessee outscored Northwestern in the Citrus, Alabama topped Michigan in the Outback, LSU edged Clemson in the Peach and Auburn held off Army in the Independence.
Georgia junior tight end Arthur Lynch is planning to watch as many bowls involving SEC teams as he can.
"There are people who have called the SEC championship the de facto national championship game, but we'll have to wait to see if there is any truth to that statement," Lynch said. "In my opinion, those were the two best teams in the country going at it. Any game with one of the top-tier SEC programs is a BCS-caliber type of game, because they have a BCS-caliber kind of team in there.
"And Vandy's got a good football team, too. They easily could have been 10-2."
Odds and ends
The Orlando Sentinel, citing two members of the Capital One Bowl search committee, reported that the bowl wanted to take Texas A&M but was forced by the SEC office to choose Georgia. ... The Bulldogs practiced Thursday for 90 minutes in full pads, with senior noseguard John Jenkins missing his second consecutive workout with a concussion. ... Lynch on whether he has heard from people in Massachusetts about Georgia's decision not to spike the ball late in the SEC title game: "Not so much about that. People are pretty football illiterate where I'm from."
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...