New Year’s (Game) Day: SEC looking to go 3-0 against Big Ten

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The SEC is sitting 3-0 entering New Year’s Day against the Big Ten. Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Texas A&M all have already delivered wins, and how sweet would it be for the SEC to start 6-0? Pretty sweet, I’ll say.

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Here are the three games on tap today:

Gator Bowl: Georgia vs. Nebraska

Game Time: 12:00 PM ET
Current Line: Georgia (-9.5)

Gator Bowl reading:

Game Buzz: Neither starting QB will play in the Gator Bowl, and Hutson Mason will get his first action in a bowl environment. Georgia has won two straight against Kentucky and Georgia Tech, and ending the season with a bowl win to get to nine wins is important. Nebraska brings a run-heavy offense, but outside of a solid rushing attack, they’re not great at any one aspect on offense or defense. Georgia needs to stick to their game and deliver a heavy dose of their bully, Todd Gurley. Fundamental football in the front seven with good tackling will help deliver a Georgia win.

Keys for Georgia:

  • Ride that horse – give Todd Gurley at least 20 touches on offense.
  • Get QB Hutson Mason comfortable and in rhythm early.
  • Win with the front seven – with Josh Harvey-Clemons and Sheldon Dawson both out in the secondary, the front seven has to help the inexperienced (and sometimes poor) secondary out. Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins have to create havoc.

Outback Bowl: LSU vs. Iowa

Game Time: 1:00 PM ET
Current Line: LSU (-7.5)

Outback Bowl reading:

Game Buzz: Without Zach Mettenberger, LSU’s offense may not pop like it has throughout 2013, but we’ll get a glimpse of the future with Anthony Jennings. Jennings led the Tigers to a comeback win against Arkansas on a 99-yard touchdown drive to win the game, and he looks like a future star. I do expect this to be Jeremy Hill, Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry’s last game, but of the three, Landry may come back for his senior year. Iowa does nothing spectacular, but they are physical on both lines of scrimmage, with a good running game and defense. If LSU shows up motivated and ready to play, the Tigers will win going away.

Keys for LSU:

  • Mold the offense to QB Anthony Jennings’ strengths. He’s not Zach Mettenberger; go with his strengths in the zone read and running game, too.
  • Stop Iowa’s running game first. The Hawkeyes’ offense feeds off the running game, and the front seven, especially the defensive line, has to play their best football of the year.

Capital One Bowl: South Carolina vs. Wisconsin

Game Time: 1:00 PM ET
Current Line: Wisconsin (-2)

Capital One Bowl reading:

Game Buzz: Two SEC teams enter bowl games as underdogs — Auburn and South Carolina. The Gamecocks know what’s ahead of them — a steady dose of Wisconsin’s great running game. This is the best SEC-Big Ten matchup of the day, and it’s setting up to be a great one. This will be the last time we see QB Connor Shaw, DE Jadeveon Clowney and DT Kelcy Quarles (and likely Vic Hampton) in a Gamecock uniform. All three will land on NFL rosters next season. Beating Wisconsin will prove tough, but the Gamecocks should take care of business.

Keys for South Carolina:

  • Feed the beast(s) — get RB Mike Davis 20 touches, and let QB Connor Shaw lay it all out for his last collegiate game.
  • Wisconsin won’t throw it all over the Gamecocks, and strong front seven play with fundamental tackling will be key against the Badgers’ running game.
  • Unleash Clowney — who doesn’t want to see Jadeveon Clowney turn football on its head with another epic hit against the Big Ten? Hopefully we get Clowney’s best, not Clowney saving himself for the NFL best.

Photo Credit: Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

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