SEC expects bowls for 10

SEC expects bowls for 10

November 17th, 2009 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Georgia's 31-24 win over Auburn last Saturday marked the sixth win for the Bulldogs, making them bowl-eligible for a 13th consecutive season.

"It's great to have that off your back," quarterback Joe Cox said. "Now it's just a matter of which one we get to because of how we play these next two weeks. We want to be in a decent one."

Join the club, Joe.

Three other Southeastern Conference programs -- Arkansas, Kentucky and Ole Miss -- attained bowl eligibility last weekend, giving the league nine such teams with two weeks remaining in the regular season. Tennessee could make it 10 with a win this week over visiting Vanderbilt.

The SEC never has placed 10 teams in bowls, and there will be a destination for each should Alabama and Florida play in BCS bowls. LSU is the leading candidate for the Capital One Bowl, which has the first choice of SEC teams not in BCS bowls, but Ole Miss could muddy that picture with a win over the Tigers this week.

It is too premature to determine the rest of the league's bowl lineup, and it may be too premature next week as well.

"Any two-game winning or losing streak now totally can change the whole order," Music City Bowl executive director Scott Ramsey said. "Take Georgia. I don't know if they're a dead enough lock to win one, two or none, and it's the same with Tennessee. Vandy has beaten them before, and Kentucky could have some momentum at home next week.

"If everybody's dying at the end and Arkansas can win five in a row, they might play themselves into a really good game, but from my standpoint, this is all really good. I've got bigger groups to pick from, and you're keeping fan bases more engaged later in the year."

The Music City Bowl picks after the Capital One, Outback, Cotton and Chick-fil-A bowls. Ramsey didn't have an SEC team in 2005, when the league had only six teams attain postseason status, and the Independence and bowls suffered the same fate last year when Arkansas, Auburn and Tennessee each went 5-7.

Ramsey is looking at a primary pool of Auburn, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee but understands the Outback and Chick-fil-A probably will swipe two of those teams.

"Certainly Georgia and Tennessee are both there and really both fit what we're looking for this year," he said. "With a Sunday night game (Dec. 27), we're looking at fan bases who can get here in four hours or less, come in on a Saturday and enjoy the weekend and still probably be home for work on Monday."

Should Georgia play in Nashville, one potential foe for the Bulldogs is Florida State. The two teams met after the 2002 season in the Sugar Bowl, when Mark Richt was just two seasons removed from being Bobby Bowden's offensive coordinator.

Bowden's Seminoles need a win at home this week against Maryland to qualify for a bowl, or else they'll have to do it next week at Florida.

"Sure that would be big, and so would Tennessee-Florida State," Ramsey said. "That would be a rematch of the national championship after the '98 year. I think the rumor or the general sentiment of possibly hosting Coach Bowden's final game is intriguing to every bowl and certainly to us as well. I don't know if it will be fact or fiction, but the opportunity this year to have that in your game would be an important factor."

Odds and ends

Bulldogs tailback Washaun Ealey was named Monday as SEC freshman of the week after rushing 18 times for 98 yards and a touchdown against Auburn. .. Georgia's game Nov. 28 at Georgia Tech was picked up Monday by ABC and will kick off at 8 p.m. ... Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo on what he told his players after receiver A.J. Green got hurt: "Don't get the look on your face, and don't worry about what's going on around you. Just play your game, and that's what we did."