What does a pair of upsets mean for the SEC?

How about losing a spot in the New Year’s Six bowls?

That’s what we are projecting today for the first time this season. After upset losses by Texas A&M and Florida, we don’t see either team getting a New Year’s Six bowl berth.

Instead, we like Auburn to move into the Sugar Bowl and both Florida and Texas A&M dropping to lower bowls.

After its upset loss to Mississippi State, we have Texas A&M slotted for the Citrus Bowl while Florida, which does still have the inside track to the SEC East title after losing to Arkansas although it’s a precarious track, drops all the way to the Texas Bowl.

Other notes:

  1. With a team dropping out of the New Year’s Six, that should allow the SEC to have a school for all bowl tie-ins. For the first time all year, we project a team (Ole Miss) for the Independence Bowl.
  2. Having said that, there’s a chance the Magnolia State gets shut out of the bowls this year. With Chad Kelly injured, the 4-5 Ole Miss Rebels go to Texas A&M and Vanderbilt before the Egg Bowl. With Kelly out for the season, there’s a good chance the Rebels will be 4-7 before the Egg Bowl.
  3. If that happens, Mississippi State could potentially take the bowl spot with a win in the Egg Bowl, but the 4-5 Bulldogs need to find a win in their next two games against Alabama (highly unlikely) and at home against Arkansas.
  4. Kentucky at Tennessee this week is a big game for bowl placement. If Tennessee wins, even with all the dysfunction, it would have a good shot at winning out with its other games coming against Missouri and Vanderbilt. That could make them 9-3 and a possible Citrus Bowl team. If Kentucky wins, it can go into the finale against Louisville 7-4, and an upset there could get it a great bowl berth.
  5. Auburn will be a heavy favorite against Georgia, and if it wins, the Tigers will be 9-2 going into the Iron Bowl. Win or lose, that should be good enough for a New Year’s Six spot, and a win could make them a two-loss Playoff team.
  6. With a 2-7 FCS team in Western Carolina ahead, 5-4 South Carolina should have no problem getting bowl-eligible. A win over Florida this week could allow the Gamecocks to play Clemson in the finale with a chance to secure a meaningful bowl berth.
  7. Vanderbilt’s not out of this either. At 4-5, the Commodores have to go to Missouri, then host Ole Miss. Particuarly if Kelly is hurt, Vandy can sweep those two games and be bowl-eligible before the Tennessee game. Right now, we are projecting losses to Ole Miss and Tennessee, but Vandy’s far from dead.

2016 SEC bowl projections after Week 10 (11 invites)

  • College Football Playoff semifinal (Peach Bowl): Alabama vs. Washington
  • New Year’s Six (Sugar Bowl): Auburn vs. Oklahoma
  • Citrus Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Virginia Tech
  • Music City Bowl: Arkansas vs. Minnesota
  • Outback Bowl: LSU vs. Nebraska
  • TaxSlayer Bowl: Tennessee vs. Miami
  • Liberty Bowl: Georgia vs. TCU
  • Texas Bowl: Florida vs. Baylor
  • Belk Bowl: Kentucky vs. Wake Forest
  • Birmingham Bowl: South Carolina vs. South Florida
  • Independence Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Pittsburgh

On the outside looking in: Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Missouri