After a somewhat down year, one in which fans had to deal with a fair amount of “overrated” chants from supporters of other programs, the SEC re-established itself during bowl season as the best conference in America.

With 10 of the 14 member schools getting invited to a bowl game — all seven from the West, three from the East — the SEC set a conference record for postseason wins by going 8-2. While the league didn’t have a matchup with the Pac 12 and was only 1-1 against the ACC, it was a perfect 3-0 facing the Big 12 and an impressive 3-1 vs. the Big Ten.

Here are some nuggets and tidbits from the SEC’s 10 bowl games that I found particularly interesting as we wrap up the 2015 campaign.

AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl

LSU 56, Texas Tech 27

Texas Tech arrived in Houston with a wretched run defense, and it showed to the tune of 40 carries for 384 yards and 7 touchdowns for LSU’s ground assault.

Naturally, the Tigers were led by running back Leonard Fournette, who rushed 29 times for 212 yards and 4 TDs — he caught one pass and turned it into a 44-yard score, too — and solidified himself as the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy as we turn the page to 2016. Quarterback Brandon Harris was average, completing 13-of-22 passes, but he didn’t have to be overly sharp facing a run D ranked 127th out of 128 FBS teams.

The Bayou Bengals are loaded with talent and have another fabulous recruiting class on the way, although we didn’t learn much about them in this game and don’t know if they’re ready to be a contender again next season.

Birmingham Bowl

Auburn 31, Memphis 10

It was announced just before the game that Sean White would start over Jeremy Johnson at quarterback, but White didn’t do much to lay claim to the job heading into next season.

While White did connect on 8-of-13 passes, he didn’t find the end zone and was intercepted two times — the Plainsmen were tied 10-10 at halftime with Memphis as a result. Auburn’s 21-0 run in the second half was highlighted by two touchdowns from Johnson, one through the air and one on the ground, so coach Gus Malzahn can’t afford to give up on the 6-foot-5, 240-pounder just yet.

Speaking of signal callers, Paxton Lynch of Memphis sure didn’t look like a future first-round draft pick facing Auburn’s 63rd-ranked pass defense, as he was a miserable 16-of-37 for 108 yards with no TDs and 1 INT.

Belk Bowl

Mississippi State 51, N.C. State 28

Dak Prescott was, well, Dak Prescott, meaning he was once again the Alpha and the Omega for the Mississippi State offense on seemingly every call.

The senior quarterback capped a brilliant career by finding his target on 25-of-42 passes for 380 yards with 4 touchdowns and 1 interception, plus he added 47 yards rushing — leading the team, of course — on 12 attempts. Seven Bulldogs were on the receiving end of multiple passes, proving how well Prescott exploited an overmatched N.C. State secondary.

It’s just a shame that Prescott’s swan song had to come against an unranked ACC team in an anonymous bowl game sponsored by a mid-range regional department store.

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl

Louisville 27, Texas A&M 21

Few teams across the country, let alone the SEC, have more questions going into next season than Texas A&M, which saw two five-star quarterbacks transfer before losing a meaningless bowl game to five-loss Louisville.

While Aggies QB Jake Hubenak threw for 307 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception as the emergency starter, his 28-of-48 performance wasn’t as prolific as the statistics might suggest. He was unable to dig out of a 20-7 first-quarter deficit — his first seven possessions included five punts and one turnovers on downs — and turned the ball over on consecutive drives in the third quarter.

The never-ending game of signal-caller swap likely sends Trevor Knight to College Station, although he has been quite ordinary since his otherworldly performance when Oklahoma beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl two years ago.

Goodyear Cotton Bowl — CFP Semifinal

Alabama 38, Michigan State 0

Alabama-Michigan State was billed as a matchup of similar teams, as both the Crimson Tide and Spartans revolve their old-school game plans around running the football and playing suffocating defense.

But the Crimson Tide treated the Big Ten champions like they were a middle-of-the-pack program from the Mountain West, crushing the Spartans from start to finish in all three phases of the game. ‘Bama quarterback Jake Coker answered his many critics, the front seven sacked Connor Cook four times and the special teams — that 57-yard punt-return touchdown by Cyrus Jones was a thing of beauty — refused to be the weak link.

The Tide have been established as an early 7-point favorite Jan. 11 against Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship, with coach Nick Saban looking to win his fourth title in seven seasons.

Allstate Sugar Bowl

Ole Miss 48, Oklahoma State 20

While Ole Miss is set to lose an awful lot of talent from its heralded 2013 recruiting cycle, as Laremy Tunsil, Robert Nkemdiche and Laquon Treadwell are all expected to leave early for the NFL Draft, there is hope if Chad Kelly remains.

The junior quarterback put on a show in New Orleans, throwing for 302 yards and rushing for 73 more in a convincing victory for the Rebels over Oklahoma State — remember, the Cowboys started the season 10-0 before dropping their final three contests. The Buffalo native ended the year with 4,000-plus yards passing, exactly 500 rushing and accounted for 41 touchdowns, which will put him on many Heisman watch lists in 2016.

Reinforcements are on the way to Oxford, as coach Hugh Freeze currently has the No. 2 class in the nation according to, but getting Kelly to announce his return is the key to avoiding a rebuilding year.

Outback Bowl

Tennessee 45, Northwestern 6

It wasn’t a particularly great bowl season, as there were more blowouts than nailbiters, and Tennessee-Northwestern certainly fit into the former category.

The Volunteers used a three-pronged rushing attack offensively — running backs Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara and quarterback Joshua Dobbs — to push around the Wildcats to the tune of 53 carries for 226 yards and 5 touchdowns. On the other side of the ball, the Vols picked off a pair of Northwestern QBs two times each and held them to a combined 14-of-33.

Florida has big quarterback problems. Kentucky and Vanderbilt aren’t ready to make the leap. Georgia, Missouri and South Carolina are all breaking in new coaches. There are no excuses left for Tennessee. The SEC East is there for the taking next season.

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl

Michigan 41, Florida 7

Speaking of blowouts, Florida’s offense was as lifeless as ever and the defense couldn’t pick up the slack anymore.

UF fans are hoping they’ve seen the last of quarterback Treon Harris, who again completed less than 50 percent of his throws and simply doesn’t have what it takes to succeed as a trigger man — granted, his swinging-gate offensive line deserves some of the blame. Even without the transferring Will Grier, coach Jim McElwain would be wise to move Harris to some sort of running back/receiver role and then hit the reset button at QB.

The Gators lost their final three games to Florida State, Alabama and Michigan by a combined total of 97-24, making the Grier-less Gators arguably the worst SEC division champ in recent memory.

Taxslayer Bowl

Georgia 24, Penn State 17

Two teams that have played some ugly games this season got together and played, you guessed it, a rather ugly game in Jacksonville.

Georgia held a 24-3 advantage after three quarters behind another conservative game plan, with quarterback Greyson Lambert only throwing 20 passes while tailbacks Sony Michel and Keith Marshall split 34 carries. Penn State made it interesting with two fourth-quarter scoring passes — thrown by backup Trace McSorley, not draft-bound Christian Hackenberg — but a desperation Hail Mary on the final snap went unanswered.

Once Kirby Smart updates his busines card from Alabama defensive coordinator to Bulldogs head coach, expect some much-needed life to be injected into the progam.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl

Arkansas 45, Kansas State 23

Arkansas wrapped up the bowl season for the SEC by tearing Kansas State to shreds in the box score, as the Razorbacks accounted for 569 yards of offense while holding the Wildcats to 242.

While quarterback Brandon Allen tied a pretty bow on his college career with yet another 300-yard day through the air, running back Alex Collins was the true star with 185 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Hunter Henry and Jeremy Sprinkle — the premier tight end tandem in the land, hands down — combined for 9 receptions, 173 yards and a TD.

We have likely seen the last of Allen, Collins and Henry in Fayetteville, although three-fifths of the Hogs’ massive offensive line should return intact.