published Monday, December 9th, 2013

SEC puts 10 teams in bowls, including two in the BCS

Auburn running back and SEC MVP Tre Mason (21) celebrates with teammates as they hoist the SEC Championship Trophy following the victory over Missouri in the SEC Championship Game at Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Saturday.
Auburn running back and SEC MVP Tre Mason (21) celebrates with teammates as they hoist the SEC Championship Trophy following the victory over Missouri in the SEC Championship Game at Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Saturday.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

BCS STANDINGS

1. Florida State

2. Auburn

3. Alabama

4. Michigan State

5. Stanford

6. Baylor

7. Ohio State

8. Missouri

9. South Carolina

10. Oregon

  • photo
    After losing to Auburn to end the regular season, Alabama coach Nick Saban will work to get the Crimson Tide focused on their Sugar Bowl matchup with Oklahoma.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The SEC goes bowling

MUSIC CITY

Dec. 30 at 3:15

Ole Miss vs. Georgia Tech

The Rebels are 1-1 against the Yellow Jackets in bowl games, losing the Sugar Bowl after the 1952 season and winning the Peach Bowl after the 1971 season.

LIBERTY

Dec. 31 at 12:30

Mississippi State vs. Rice

The Bulldogs are playing in a fourth straight bowl for the first time ever, and they had won five bowls in a row before last season's Gator Bowl loss to Northwestern.

CHICK-FIL-A

Dec. 31 at 8:00

Texas A&M vs. Duke

This will be the first meeting between the Aggies and the Blue Devils. Texas A&M has a 15-19 record in bowl games but thumped Oklahoma in last season's Cotton Bowl.

GATOR

Jan. 1 at noon

Georgia vs. Nebraska

The Bulldogs are 1-1 in bowl games against the Cornhuskers, losing 45-6 in the 1969 Sun Bowl and winning 45-31 at the Capital One Bowl this past January.

CAPITAL ONE

Jan. 1 at 1:00

South Carolina vs. Wisconsin

The Gamecocks lost their first eight bowl games before winning six of their last 10, including wins the past two seasons in the Capital One and Outback bowls.

OUTBACK

Jan. 1 at 1:00

LSU vs. Iowa

In the Capital One Bowl after the 2004 season, which was Nick Saban's last game as Tigers coach, Iowa defeated LSU 30-25 on a 56-yard touchdown pass as time expired.

SUGAR

Jan. 2 at 8:30

Alabama vs. Oklahoma

The Crimson Tide are 1-2-1 lifetime against the Sooners. Alabama beat Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl after the 1962 season, and they tied in the 1970 Bluebonnet Bowl.

COTTON

Jan. 3 at 7:30

Missouri vs. Oklahoma State

The Tigers and Cowboys competed for years in the Big Eight and then the Big 12, and they last met just two years ago, when Oklahoma State won 45-24 in Columbia.

BBVA COMPASS

Jan. 4 at 1:00

Vanderbilt vs. Houston

The Commodores are playing in Birmingham for the postseason for the first time since 1982, when they went 8-3 before losing the Hall of Fame Bowl to Air Force 36-28.

BCS TITLE

Jan. 6 at 8:30

Auburn vs. Florida State

The Tigers hold a 13-4-1 series advantage over the Seminoles, including a 4-3 mark from 1983 to 1990, when Pat Dye's Tigers vied with Bobby Bowden's Seminoles.

For Alabama, it will be the challenge of getting over its dramatic loss to Auburn.

For Georgia, it will be the challenge of getting up for a team the Bulldogs played this past January.

The Southeastern Conference will have 10 members in bowl games this holiday season, including two teams in the coveted BCS bowls. Auburn will play Florida State in the BCS championship game on Jan. 6 in Pasadena, Calif., which is an opportunity for the Tigers to win a second national championship in four years and an eighth consecutive national title for the league.

Alabama, which entered this season looking to become the first team in college football history to win three straight national crowns, will face Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2.

"We knew that we had to play three tough games, like being in the NCAA tournament, and we lost in the first round," Alabama coach Nick Saban said Sunday night on a Sugar Bowl conference call. "So how this team recovers and how this team goes and takes the challenge of this game is going to say a lot about the character that the leadership of this team has. It's certainly an opportunity for them to prove what kind of football team that they can be."

Oklahoma players will head to the Sugar Bowl in much better spirits after upsetting Oklahoma State in Stillwater to cap a 10-2 regular season that contained lopsided losses to Texas and Baylor.

Sooners coach Bob Stoops made headlines this summer when he questioned the strength of the SEC from top to bottom. When asked about those remarks Sunday, Stoops said, "We're not playing the bottom half, are we? So there's not a lot to talk about, is there?"

The last time Alabama played a bowl game without a national title on the line was in 2010, when the Crimson Tide humiliated Michigan State 49-7 in the Capital One Bowl. The 11-1 Crimson Tide insist they will be ready for the Sooners.

"It's going to be exciting for us to go to New Orleans and play in another BCS bowl game," said senior linebacker C.J. Mosley, who was named Sunday night as the winner of the Butkus Award. "I grew up in Mobile, so it will be great to play my final game at Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and be so close to my friends and family. That being said, we are going there to win a football game, and that has to be our mindset."

The Capital One Bowl had the next pick of SEC teams and selected South Carolina to play Wisconsin. With a win, the Gamecocks would record a third consecutive 11-2 season.

Missouri, a day after losing the SEC title game to Auburn 59-42, was invited to the Cotton Bowl to face former Big Eight and Big 12 rival Oklahoma State. LSU was invited to the Outback Bowl to play Iowa, and Texas A&M was selected by the Chick-fil-A Bowl to play Duke in what should be the final college game for Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel.

The Gator Bowl selected Georgia and Nebraska, which is a rematch of last season's Capital One Bowl won by the Bulldogs 45-31.

"I think it's become a good rivalry," Georgia coach Mark Richt said Sunday when asked if he was disappointed in the pairing. "We're looking forward to playing Nebraska. They're obviously a very good team, and we think we're pretty good, too."

Georgia has not played in the Gator Bowl since defeating Michigan State after the 1988 season, which was Vince Dooley's final game as Bulldogs coach. The Bulldogs play in Jacksonville every year when they face league rival Florida.

"I know the Georgia people love Jacksonville," Richt said. "There is no doubt about that. We've been playing in Jacksonville for about 80 years, and I think people enjoy and understand the area and will be looking forward to spending more time there."

Georgia is not the first SEC school to face the same bowl opponent in back-to-back years, with LSU having faced Santa Clara after the 1936 and '37 seasons, Alabama having faced Nebraska after the 1965 and '66 seasons and Notre Dame after the 1973 and '74 seasons, Tennessee having faced Maryland after the 1983 and '84 seasons, and South Carolina having faced Ohio State after the 2000 and '01 seasons.

The Music City Bowl will have Ole Miss against Georgia Tech, while the Liberty Bowl will have Mississippi State and Rice. Vanderbilt, which went 8-4 and defeated Florida, Georgia and Tennessee in the same year for the first time ever, is going to the BBVA Compass Bowl to face Houston.

Florida missed out on a bowl for the first time since 1990, when the Gators went 9-2 but were on NCAA probation.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

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 ...

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