Greeson: OK, let's try picking SEC bowls again

Greeson: OK, let's try picking SEC bowls again

November 17th, 2009 by Jay Greeson in Sports - College

The Southeastern Conference long has claimed to have the best football this side of the NFL. The coaches are the highest paid and the talent is always top-notch.

In this region, the SEC mirrors the NFL in passion and in power. Now you can add top-heavy parity to the list.

LSU ranks a distant third behind Alabama and Florida in this year's SEC hierarchy, and from there it truly is a muddled mess. Which team is fourth? Which team is 10th?

Seriously, which team falls in line after the Big 2 and LSU? Is Ole Miss your No. 4 team after pounding a distracted and disoriented Tennessee team Saturday? The same Ole Miss that whipped Tennessee in Oxford couldn't handle South Carolina and decidedly lost to Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium?

And what about Auburn, the very team that lost to Kentucky and to Georgia, which had allowed 40-plus points to Tennessee and Arkansas?

There is no clear-cut No. 4, never mind each of the following slots before Mississippi State and Vandy shape the bottom curve of this year's 12 SEC teams. And if you think it's befuddling for fans, imagine trying to peg bowl destinations.

Two weeks ago, I listed early postseason projections for this year's SEC teams under the ghastly inaccurate assumption that UT would handle Ole Miss and that Auburn would top Georgia. Neither of those things happened, so the order needs to be repecked.

So here we go again with bowl picks round 2 (and if you don't like these, just wait a week or two, and maybe the next version will suit you better):


The Crimson Tide figure to take a 12-0 mark into the SEC title game, and from there it's one of two spots.

Bowl projection: Sugar Bowl


Winners of three in a row, the Razorbacks are 6-4 and could soar to a New Year's Day bowl game. Saturday's home game against Mississippi State is a must for that, but the season-ending date with LSU figures to be the difference maker.

Bowl projection: Liberty Bowl


Saturday's loss at Georgia reshuffled the plane tickets. A win over Alabama could get Auburn back into Florida on New Year's Day. Don't count on it.

Bowl projection: Chick-fil-A Bowl


The Gators are one of the few picks to remain unchanged from last month. They also are one of the few picks to remain unchanged from last year, too.

Bowl projection: BCS title game


Now bowl-eligible, the Bulldogs are one of the initial dominoes of the SEC bowl order. If TFP ace reporter David Paschall says the Music City Bowl is a possibility, who am I to argue with him.

Bowl projection: Music City Bowl


The Wildcats, who always have good fan followings at bowls, have the most to gain of the unknowns. Wins over Georgia and Tennessee to close the season would make UK look really good.

Bowl projection: Liberty Bowl


The Tigers face two teams -- Ole Miss and Arkansas -- looking to improve their spots down the stretch. Beating Ole Miss on Saturday likely would leave LSU standing firmly with the No. 3 spot in the bowl order.

Bowl projection: Capital One

Ole Miss

Thrashing Tennessee significantly elevated the Rebels' status. With LSU and Mississippi State the next two weeks, one more win means New Year's Day. A sweep could mean the No. 3 spot.

Bowl projection: Cotton Bowl

Mississippi State

If the Bulldogs sweep their final two games against Arkansas and Ole Miss, that would mean 11 SEC teams qualify for bowl games. If the Bulldogs sweep, that mean we definitely will have a Bowl Projections Part III -- and with the exception of "Rocky III," we all know how the third part in a trilogy normally turns out.

Bowl projection: None

South Carolina

Beating rival Clemson on Nov. 28 is the difference between possibly playing in Atlanta or Birmingham. A loss to the Tigers would be South Carolina's fourth straight -- and four-game slides are not overly sexy to bowl reps.

Bowl projection: Bowl


The Vols helped jumble this mess by falling flat in Oxford. Two impressive wins to close the season still would make UT mighty attractive to the folks in Tampa, where UT defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin was part football coach, part icon with the Buccaneers.

Bowl projection: Outback Bowl


This is the only that will be 100 percent no matter how many times we try this, huh?

Bowl projection: None