SEC bowl projections after Week 7
How things have changed for Arkansas.
After getting blown out by Alabama last week, there was talk about the Razorbacks struggling to find wins and doing anything more than becoming bowl-eligible this season.
But after a 34-30 upset of Ole Miss, is Arkansas looking at a nice bowl future … maybe even the Citrus Bowl, which is the SEC’s top bowl tie-in not in the New Years’ Six?
Don’t discount it.
At 5-2, Arkansas has a future where it hosts both LSU and Florida and has manageable road games against Mississippi State and Missouri, two potential road wins. The toughest upcoming road game is the next one, at Auburn.
If the Razorbacks get past that and take care of things at home against LSU and Florida, 10-2 wouldn’t be out of the question, and even a 9-3 finish (assuming a loss at Auburn) with a win over TCU on the résumé might get the Hogs a Citrus Bowl nod.
That’s how quickly things can change in the balanced SEC West.
Here are a few more thoughts before giving our bowl projections after Week 7:
- LSU moves up some notches, not based on what we saw on the field in a 45-10 rout of Southern Mississippi, but in the Tigers getting the Florida game at home. LSU is set up to have a pretty strong finish with Ole Miss, Alabama and Florida coming to Tiger Stadium. LSU still must go to Arkansas and Texas A&M, but the schedule favors a good finish.
- Florida must now go to Arkansas, LSU and Florida State down the stretch, but with the Gators’ elite defense, it’s not hard seeing them getting at least one of those wins and beating both Georgia in Jacksonville and South Carolina at home. It’s probably at least an 8-3 team, maybe 9-2.
- To get into bowl-eligibility, Kentucky (3-3) probably needs to win two of three games against Missouri, Georgia and Mississippi State, three games that are winnable but far from games where Kentucky can assume wins. The Wildcats have an FCS opponent (Austin Peay) and two games where they’ll be hard-pressed to win (Tennessee and Louisville). Right now, we aren’t counting on the Wildcats being able to get to six wins.
- To get to bowl-eligibility, Vanderbilt (3-4) needs to take care of Tennessee State this week, then find a way to get two wins over Auburn, Missouri, Ole Miss and Tennessee. The Commodores will likely be a heavy underdog in at least three of those four. We aren’t counting on Vandy, despite its upset of Georgia this weekend, being able to come back from the 2-4 start.
2016 SEC bowl projections after Week 7 (10 invites)
- College Football Playoff semifinal (Peach Bowl): Alabama vs. Washington
- New Year’s Six (Sugar Bowl): Texas A&M vs. West Virginia
- New Year’s Six (Orange Bowl): Tennessee vs. Louisville
- Citrus Bowl: Arkansas vs. Nebraska
- Music City Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Penn State
- Outback Bowl: Florida vs. Wisconsin
- TaxSlayer Bowl: LSU vs. Florida State
- Liberty Bowl: Auburn vs. Kansas State
- Texas Bowl: Missouri vs. Oklahoma State
- Belk Bowl: Georgia vs. North Carolina State
On the outside looking in: Mississippi State, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Kentucky