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SEC Bowl Projections 2017-18

Where will you be spending the best week of the year?  We surveyed four of our favorite college football magazines and are sharing their projections. Afterward, we’ll have some analysis for the 2017-18 SEC college bowl season projections.

Alabama

  • Athlon Sports – Sugar Bowl vs. Washington (College Football Playoff)
  • Sporting News – Sugar Bowl vs. Ohio State (College Football Playoff)
  • Phil Steele –  Sugar Bowl vs. USC (College Football Playoff) 
  • Street & Smith’s – Sugar Bowl vs. USC (College Football Playoff) 

Arkansas

  • Athlon Sports – Texas Bowl vs. Baylor
  • Sporting News – TaxSlayer Bowl vs. Iowa
  • Phil Steele – Independence Bowl vs. Memphis
  • Street & Smith’s – TaxSlayer Bowl vs. Nebraska

Auburn

  • Athlon Sports – Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl vs. South Florida
  • Sporting News – Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl vs. South Florida
  • Phil Steele – Outback Bowl vs. Northwestern
  • Street & Smith’s – Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl vs. South Florida

Florida

  • Athlon Sports – Belk Bowl vs. Louisville  
  • Sporting News – Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl vs. Wisconsin
  • Phil Steele – Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl vs. Miami (FL)
  • Street & Smith’s – Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl vs. Wisconsin 

Georgia

  • Athlon Sports – Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl vs. Miami
  • Sporting News – Outback Bowl vs. Nebraska
  • Phil Steele – Belk Bowl vs. North Carolina
  • Street & Smith’s – Outback Bowl vs. Iowa

Kentucky

  • Athlon Sports –  Music City Bowl vs. Indiana
  • Sporting News – Birmingham Bowl vs. Tulsa
  • Phil Steele – Music City Bowl vs. Virginia Tech
  • Street & Smith’s – Birmingham Bowl vs. Tulsa

LSU

  • Athlon Sports – Fiesta Bowl vs. Washington
  • Sporting News – Orange Bowl vs. Clemson
  • Phil Steele – Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl vs. Michigan
  • Street & Smith’s – Orange Bowl vs. Clemson

Missouri

  • Athlon Sports – Home for the Holidays 
  • Sporting News – Home for the Holidays
  • Phil Steele – Home for the Holidays
  • Street & Smith’s – Texas Bowl vs. Texas

Mississippi State

  • Athlon Sports – TaxSlayer Bowl vs. Virginia Tech
  • Sporting News – Texas Bowl vs. West Virginia
  • Phil Steele –Home for the Holidays
  • Street & Smith’s – Home for the Holidays 

Ole Miss

  • Athlon Sports – Home for the Holidays 
  • Sporting News – Home for the Holidays
  • Phil Steele –Home for the Holidays
  • Street & Smith’s – Home for the Holidays   

South Carolina

  • Athlon Sports – Liberty Bowl vs. West Virginia 
  • Sporting News – Belk Bowl vs. Notre Dame
  • Phil Steele – Birmingham Bowl vs. Houston
  • Street & Smith’s – Belk Bowl vs. Notre Dame

Tennessee

  • Athlon Sports – Outback Bowl vs. Wisconsin 
  • Sporting News – Liberty Bowl vs. Texas
  • Phil Steele – Liberty Bowl vs. TCU
  • Street & Smith’s – Liberty Bowl vs. West Virginia 

Texas A&M

  • Athlon Sports – Independence Bowl vs. Pittsburgh 
  • Sporting News – Music City Bowl vs. Virginia Tech
  • Phil Steele – Texas Bowl vs. Texas
  • Street & Smith’s –Music City Bowl vs. Virginia Tech

Vanderbilt

  • Athlon Sports – Birmingham Bowl vs. Tulsa 
  • Sporting News – Home for the Holidays
  • Phil Steele – Home for the Holidays
  • Street & Smith’s – Home for the Holidays 

 

Consensus –  Alabama to win the SEC and appear in the Sugar Bowl as part of the College Football Playoff.   The writers forecast the the Tide taking on USC, Ohio State or Washington.  (Our prediction would is for the Tide to face Oklahoma State).   The only other consensus pick is Ole Miss being home for the holidays, which will happen because the Rebels have a bowl ban this season.  Three of four experts pick the Tigers (both LSU and Auburn) to receive a bid to a New Year’s Six bowl, with Phil Steele selecting LSU to return to the Citrus Bowl to face Michigan, and Auburn to appear in the Outback Bowl against Northwestern.  Three of four also don’t see Missouri or Vanderbilt making it to a bowl game.

A few other interesting picks –

  • Would Georgia fans like to face Mark Richt’s Miami (FL) team? One of the publications has the Canes and Bulldogs meeting in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl.   It would be the first meeting between the two teams in 51 years.
  • Another interesting potential SEC match-up for Miami (FL) is versus Florida in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.  For many years, the Canes and the Gators faced off every season, but the rivalry has been played only six times in the last 30 years.
  • One writer has Arkansas facing Iowa in the TaxSlayer Bowl.   The story line features Arkansas Head Coach Bret Bielema of course — he played football at Iowa, and has a tattoo of the Iowa Hawkeyes logo.  The teams have only met once before, back in 1925.  We think they are going to meet, but in Nashville.

Tough Schedules –

Remember a few years ago when fans were critical of SEC teams for facing weak non-conference schedules.  Just take a look at the opponents (conference and non-conference) some of the SEC teams will be facing:

  • Alabama opens up with Florida State, most publications favorite to win the ACC. Conference opponents include LSU, Auburn, Tennessee.
  • Auburn travels to Death Valley to face defending National Champion Clemson, and will face Alabama, Georgia and LSU.
  • Florida faces Michigan and Florida State in non-conference play, plus LSU and Georgia.
  • Georgia faces Notre Dame, Georgia Tech and the always dangerous Appalachian State in non-conference play, as well as Florida and Auburn.
  • Tennessee will face Alabama, LSU, Florida, Georgia and Georgia Tech.
  • Texas A&M faces UCLA, plus Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Florida.

For our SEC bowl projection, we have one rule, and that is that the bowl we select for a team cannot have been picked by any of the experts.  Using that framework, here’s our guess as to where each team will play, and how they get there.

  • Alabama – Rose Bowl- Can’t go against the Tide, but someone beats them on the way!
  • Florida – Tampa – Great team, tough schedule could mean more losses than others
  • LSU – Cotton – Defense should be amazing, have a tough schedule
  • Auburn – Orlando – They could be in the New Year’s Six
  • Georgia – Atlanta- A solid season capped off in a New Year’s Six bowl.
  • Arkansas – Nashville – My pick to surprise in the SEC, if the baby sleeps through the night.
  • Texas A&M – Houston – Another team that could surprise
  • Kentucky – Memphis- Should improve on last season, Liberty will be a classic.
  • Tennessee – Charlotte- Tough schedule, but solid. Game moved to speedway.
  • South Carolina – Jacksonville – The Gamecocks will be better!
  • Missouri – Birmingham – The Tigers are the other surprise team!
  • Mississippi State – Shreveport – Get in with an Egg Bowl win!

Thoughts, comments your picks or questions are always welcome!

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