Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ranking The SEC Bowl Games

Many fans consider the date of the bowl game as part of its prestige.  To show you how much clout the SEC has in its bowl ties, the conferences first game is not until December 30th in the Music City Bowl.  Here is my ranking of the SEC bowl games this year in terms of interest. 

10. Compass Bowl
Kentucky vs Pitt
I liked this game better when it was the Papa John's Bowl.  It made me hungry for their signature dipping sauce.  Kentucky again fell to Tennessee to close the season losing three of their last five.  The Wildcats have an important basketball game that same day against UGA.  The only thing that saves UK fans is that the bowl games starts four hours before the basketball contest.

9. Chick Fil A Bowl
South Carolina vs Florida State
Usually the former Peach Bowl has a great contest, but this year's game features two teams coming off blowout losses in their conference championship games. Even worse for Gamecock fans, they have to return to the site of the beat down.  I understand what the bowl was going with in two teams who have not been here in a long time, but I am more interested in the other ACC vs SEC matchup (UNC vs Tennessee).

8. Liberty Bowl
Georgia vs Central Florida
The Golden Knights of UCF don't have many, if any, players that UGA even recruited.  But what makes this game a little more interesting is that UCF Head Coach George O'Leary used to be at Georgia Tech and his three straight wins over UGA got Jim Donnan fired.  Mark Richt replaced Donnan and won the only head to head matchup in 2001.

7. Outback Bowl
Florida vs Penn State
Take a good look at the head coaches in this game because in two years neither may be on their respective sidelines.  I expect Joe Paterno to make next season his last and who knows what Urban Meyer will do.  Other than that this seems like a dud to kick off New Years Day for the SEC.  People want to see offense and I am not sure how much we will get in this one.  The number of Gator QBs may outnumber the total touchdowns scored. 

6. Music City Bowl
Tennessee vs North Carolina
Yes, the two teams records are not overly impressive, but the back story is the key here.  Earlier this season, the Volunteers requested out of a future home and home with the Tar Heels.  For an SEC team to ask out of a home and home with an ACC team is almost unheard of.  Well, now Tennessee is riding a four game winning streak and who knows what will come of UNC's investigation into agent contact.  Guess we will get the matchup after all.

5. Cotton Bowl
Texas A&M vs LSU
The two names sound great, but what knocks the bowl down in my opinion is the date - January 7.  I will have watched a boat load of football and gone back to work for several days before this game comes around.  No bowl games on Wednesday Jan 5, but instead we have to wait until Friday night which is a terrible TV ratings night.

4. Gator Bowl
Miss State vs Michigan
Just like the Outback Bowl, the tenures for these two head coaches may be short at their current school.  I think this game will determine whether or not Rich Rodriguez is back at Michigan next season.  And by Jan 1 Dan Mullen may already be in Miami taking over the Hurricanes.  Either way, if you like watching spread option football full of zone reads, this is the game for you.  Plus, Wolverine star QB Denard Robinson should be healthy and could re-create the magic we saw early in the season.

3. Capitol One Bowl
Alabama vs Michigan State
Tide Head Coach Nick Saban used to be the head man at Michigan State.  Mark Ingram's dad played for the Spartans too.  Additionally, it will be interesting to see how motivated Alabama is with nothing of consequence to play for in Saban terms.  We saw what happened in the 2009 Sugar Bowl against Utah and the Spartans are as good as the Utes.

2. Sugar Bowl
Arkansas vs Ohio State
The Buckyes are 0-9 vs the SEC in bowl games, but this may be their best chance yet.  Ohio State had to be very happy when Arkansas beat LSU and knocked the Tigers out of the BCS.  Otherwise, the Buckeyes would have played a proverbial road game in the Superdome against LSU.  Above it all, you have a great offensive mind in Bobby Petrino going up against defensive master Jim Tresell. 

1. BCS Championship
Auburn vs Oregon
If you like offense. If you like dynamic QBs. If you like trickeration.  This is the game for you.  With all the offensive stats piled up this season, it will likely be the best defense that determines the BCS Champion.

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