Biggest reason every SEC fan base should freak out about its bowl game
It’s bowl season, baby, and you know what that means: 3 whole weeks of dedicating your life to lightly attended afternoon football games in small-market cities! But it’s not all sunshine, rainbows and AutoNation Cure Bowls. There’s some serious stuff on the line, and reasons for everyone to be a little bit worried.
So let’s take a look at every SEC team and see what they should be freaking out about heading into their bowl game.
Reason to freak out: Tua’s knee/ankle/anything they’re hiding from us.
Bama fans hadn’t had something to freak out about all season, right up until those few moments when Tua went down on the turf in Atlanta holding his ankle. For a second there, it looked like the Tide’s SEC Championship and possibly Playoff hopes were about to take the next flight back to Honolulu. But, like always, it worked out for Alabama in the end. The questions about the health of their quarterback remain however, and you never know what backup Saban will have to put in who just happens to be the next best player in college football.
Reason to freak out: Pretty much everything that’s happening other than the actual game.
It’s been an interesting few weeks for the Auburn football program. And we mean interesting in the same sense as “Arkansas sure had an interesting season.” Gus Malzahn is hanging on to his job by the skin of his teeth and it seems like a good portion of Auburn boosters are doing everything they can to kick those proverbial teeth into unemployment. All this distraction can’t be good for team morale while preparing for a bowl game. But playing Purdue wasn’t that good for morale to begin with, so it’s kind of a moot point.
Reason to freak out: It’s Michigan again.
When Michigan plays Florida, they get to experience what it’s like for Ohio State to play against them. Michigan is 4-0 vs. the Gators, with the combined score of the past two seasons being 74-24. But this isn’t the same Florida team as Michigan is used to, it’s up to Dan Mullen to flip the script.
Reason to freak out: Who cares?
Most programs would kill to be in a marquee bowl game against Texas, but after what the Bulldogs went through, it’s a little bit of a let down. Will Georgia be motivated enough to play up to their its potential? If not, that’s OK, Kirby probably has a line of 5-star recruits willing to walk on to replace them.
Reason to freak out: Don’t ruin this great season.
The Wildcats had a historic year, and yeah some of it might be due to a few lucky calls and bounces, and getting to play a primitive version of the current Florida team early in the year. But they got 9 wins damn it, and they’re gonna play a blue blood in the Citrus Bowl. Now if they happen to get blown out by Penn State, that would probably put a damper on this season in a way that would be hard to shake. But for the sake of Mark Stoops’ future job opportunities (and depressed Kentucky basketball fans), let’s hope that doesn’t happen.
Reason to freak out: They probably won’t lose, but if they did …
LSU has the personnel to dominate UCF on both sides of the ball, and you have to imagine the Tigers will arrive ready to show out. But oh, my God can you imagine if they lost? LSU would have to wear that one for a long time and the entire offseason will be a 6-month long apology to UCF and all of the G5.
Reason to freak out: It’s time to say goodbye to Nick Fitzgerald.
The Outback Bowl will be Fitzgerald’s final ride with the Bulldogs, and like everyone over the age of 70, he’ll finish his career with a trip to Florida. Whether Mississippi State fans think the dawning of a new era will be a good thing or not for the program, there’s no doubt he deserves one final, tear-filled CLANGA in the Outback Bowl.
Reason to freak out: They finally get to play against a Big 12 defense.
This is a good freak out for Tiger fans. Mizzou has brought a taste of the Big 12 to the South all year, and now they finally get to show what their offense could have done in the Big 12 with their game against Oklahoma State. But Mizzou fans better enjoy the show now, because with Drew Lock leaving, they could quickly transition back into an SEC East offense. Nobody wants that.
Reason to freak out: You can’t lose a bowl game to a basketball school.
It was an up and down year for the Gamecocks. Mostly down, but a little up sprinkled in there every now and then. If they lose this game to Virginia though, that’s, uh, not good. Virginia is one-seventh of the giant floating trash can that is the ACC Coastal, and if the Gamecocks can’t dominate this game, it doesn’t bode well for what else ol’ Will Muschamp has in store.
Reason to freak out: It’s Jimbo vs N.C. State.
Some of Jimbo’s most embarrassing losses as a head coach have come against the Wolfpack, and there’s no question some of that baggage still lingers with him. But speaking for Jimbo’s agent here, if he pulls it off, he definitely deserves a raise.
Reason to freak out: Playing against a Texas school in the Texas Bowl.
That doesn’t seem fair, does it? That would be like if Vandy got to play against someone in the Music City Bowl. Oh, wait, that’s happened multiple times? Carry on then. Also, this bowl game will finally answer the age old question, “Is Baylor the Vanderbilt of the Big 12, or is Vandy the Baylor of the SEC?”