Here’s a look at the entire bowl schedule for the SEC – and some of the sexiest matchups come outside of the Sugar Bowl or the Capital One Bowl.
Here’s a look at them all, ranking them in order of watchability and star power matchups:
1. BCS National Championship Game: #1 Notre Dame vs. #2 Alabama
The Buzz: History and tradition collides with history and tradition. Not only is it the national championship game, but the rest of college football will be in a conflict as well. You either love Notre Dame or you hate them; and the rest of college football doesn’t want to see the SEC win another championship. So, who does the average fan want to win this game? The ratings for this game will be off the charts. Don’t expect Notre Dame to lay down and allow this game to get out of hand with their strong defense.
2. Cotton Bowl: #9 Texas A&M vs. #11 Oklahoma
The Buzz: Both Texas A&M and Oklahoma were worthy of a BCS at-large bid, and OU absolutely got the shaft in the BCS. However, Johnny Manziel against Oklahoma’s defense will be something awesome to watch. OU is considered by most to be the Big 12’s second best team. The Aggies are considered to be the SEC’s fourth or fifth best team. So, all the Big 12 apologists will have their chance to knock off a top SEC team and say I told you so.
3. Chick-fil-A Bowl: #8 LSU vs. #14 Clemson
The Buzz: Tigers vs. Tigers; Death Valley vs. Death Valley. LSU may not have wanted the Chick-fil-A Bowl invite, but the rest of the country did. This is a compelling matchup. How will Clemson block all those future NFL defensive linemen for the SEC’s Tigers, when they had trouble blocking Jadeveon Clowney a week ago? Clemson’s ‘ACC speed’ will have a tough time moving the football in this one.
4. Sugar Bowl: #3 Florida vs. #21 Louisville
The Buzz: This is the SEC’s second BCS game, but it doesn’t hold the star power even the Cotton Bowl or the Chick-fil-A Bowl holds. You could justifiably rank this game sixth or seventh in the SEC, too. Louisville, winners of the Big East, was consistent all season, but was nothing spectacular. Florida’s defense should overmatch the Cardinals’ offense, but you can expect Florida’s offense to keep the Cardinals in it for much of the game.
5. Capital One Bowl: #7 Georgia vs. #16 Nebraska
The Buzz: The Cornhuskers’ defense gave up 539 rushing yards against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game. Don’t you think Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall are licking their chops for their opportunity? The two conference runners up will square off in Orlando, a game in which Georgia should hammer the Huskers handedly.
6. Outback Bowl: #10 South Carolina vs. Michigan
The Buzz: Michigan: meet Jadeveon Clowney. He’ll be your tour guide in Tampa for the Outback Bowl. He’s terrorized the SEC, ACC and Conference USA, and now he gets to do the same to the Big Ten. Michigan’s offense against Carolina’s defense will be fun to watch. It will be the last time college football will watch Denard Robinson.
7. Gator Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Northwestern
The Buzz: Northwestern was a nine-win team this season, and they beat the SEC’s eight-win Commodores in the second week. Mississippi State has not been playing too well lately, losers of four of their last five games. Hopefully Dan Mullen and company can get back on the right track and beat the Big Ten’s Wildcats.
8. Music City Bowl: Vanderbilt vs. NC State
The Buzz: The Commodores are looking for their first nine-win season under James Franklin. Think about it: Franklin winning nine at Vanderbilt, and they just locked him up with a contract extension for several years. NC State is head coachless, and the Dores should put it on the mighty ACC, again. The Wolfpack are 7-5, with a future NFL QB in Mike Glennon. However, the Commodores’ secondary is one of the best in the SEC. This is an intriguing matchup within the game.
9. Compass Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Pittsburgh
The Buzz: This marks the third straight year the Panthers have been in the Compass Bowl, and it will be against a hungry Ole Miss team that has totally transformed from a 2-10 team to a 6-6 bowl eligible team in one year. The Rebels have to finish strong. All progress is certainly not lost with a loss to Pitt, but it will certainly put an exclamation point on the already memorable season.
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