SDS Mailbag: SEC bowl predictions, best postseason matchups and final Heisman pick
Bowl season is almost here! After this weekend’s Army-Navy game and Heisman Trophy ceremony, bowl games begin in earnest.
Yes, we still have to wait a couple more weeks for the better matchups, but having random bowl games on TV during the day for the second half of December is always something I enjoy.
In this week’s Mailbag, we have a couple of questions about bowl season. We’ll also make a Heisman Trophy prediction and more!
Let’s dive into this week’s questions, shall we?
Predict the SEC’s bowl record this year.
Let’s temper some expectations here before I dive in. When the SEC puts a team in the College Football Playoff (Georgia) and sends 2 others (Tennessee and Alabama) to New Year’s 6 bowl games, it skews the rest of the matchups.
Mid-tier SEC teams will have to play some of the best teams other conferences have to offer, and some will hold their own against top competition.
Additionally, players opting out makes picking bowl games a crapshoot. But I’ve never been one to back away from a challenge, so let’s give this a shot!
Here are my SEC bowl game picks:
- Las Vegas Bowl: Oregon State over Florida
- Gasparilla Bowl: Mizzou over Wake Forest
- Liberty Bowl: Arkansas over Kansas
- Texas Bowl: Ole Miss over Texas Tech
- Gator Bowl: South Carolina over Notre Dame
- Music City Bowl: Iowa over Kentucky
- ReliaQuest Bowl: Illinois over Mississippi State
- Citrus Bowl: LSU over Purdue
- Orange Bowl: Clemson over Tennessee
- Sugar Bowl: Kansas State over Alabama
- Peach Bowl: Georgia over Ohio State
- CFP Title Game: Georgia over Michigan
For those keeping score at home, that’s a 7-5 record for the SEC, complete with a national championship via Georgia. Not great, but not too shabby, either!
Which SEC bowl matchup is the best one on the schedule this year?
That’s a tough question to answer at the moment, as players are still opting out left and right. But let’s try to answer it anyway!
First, I’m going to eliminate Georgia’s bowl game. Obviously the CFP semifinal is the best one on the schedule, but I’m sure that’s not what you were asking. We’re looking at the “lesser” bowl matchups.
Kentucky-Iowa is going to be a beautiful mess. Even if the over/under for points was set at 19.5, I’m not sure I’d bet the over. That will be the ugliest game of the year, potentially.
As for the “best” games, I’ll give you 2. I like Mississippi State vs. Illinois in the ReliaQuest Bowl and Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech in the Texas Bowl. None of those teams have had major opt-outs yet. Ole Miss star RB Quinshon Judkins and Mississippi State QB Will Rogers should both be playing in their respective games, which at least makes them watchable.
That’s about all you can ask for from non-CFP bowl games in this day and age.
Did Max Duggan do enough to win the Heisman? Or is Caleb Williams still the frontrunner? Will there be any surprises on Saturday night?
I think this is going to be a year when recency bias hits an all-time high. Just look at the finalists. No Hendon Hooker and no Blake Corum?
I realize they both got hurt late in the season, but they didn’t die. The fact that we seem to have just forgotten about 2 frontrunners when they got hurt in the second-to-last weeks of the regular season is crazy.
I don’t necessarily think either of them should win, but to not be invited to New York is a slap in the face. There’s no rule saying the Heisman ceremony can only have 4 players attend. Hooker and Corum both at least deserve to be there.
If I had a vote, I’d vote for Williams. But, as I mentioned earlier, I think recency bias will propel Duggan to the trophy. He’s certainly an elite player, but Williams probably has the better case to lift the prestigious award.
Will Deion Sanders or Hugh Freeze win more games in Year 1 at their new schools?
I’m going with Hugh Freeze here. I’m a huge Coach Prime fan and think he’ll do great things in Boulder, but the Buffaloes are currently a bottom-of-the-barrel Power 5 program. They’re truly awful.
Even with the transfer portal and Prime’s incredible recruiting ability, it’ll take at least 2 years to get Colorado back to any level of respectability.
Auburn, on the other hand, is just a few pieces away from competing. One of those pieces is competent offensive play-calling, which the Tigers haven’t had for years. Well, they have that now under Freeze.
Freeze will certainly try to bring in his own guys to execute his offensive plan, as he should. We’ll see if Auburn lands a quarterback in the portal this year or not, but if I’m Freeze, I’m trying hard to land a guy who can throw the ball down the field.
Either way, Colorado bottoming out and Auburn bottoming out aren’t the same thing. The Tigers have a much quicker path back to competitiveness, and I expect Freeze to seize on it and win more games than Sanders in 2023.
Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at Adam.Spencer@XLMedia.com.