SEC bowl projections after Week 11
So, they dubbed this past weekend “Chaos Week.”
And rightfully so.
With three teams suffering their first loss (Michigan, Clemson and Washington) and four more ranked teams losing to unranked teams, the bowl projections were sent some serious curveballs.
For the first time, we project a team that doesn’t win its conference championship, Louisville, in the College Football Playoff. And, for the first time, we project LSU into a New Year’s Six Bowl, the Sugar Bowl.
And Texas A&M? Yeah, it’s sliding down pretty far.
Here are a few points before the projections:
1. Why LSU? We’re projecting the Tigers to finish 8-3 with wins over Florida and Texas A&M. If that happens, LSU would be the best of the three-loss teams in the SEC and there would be no two-loss teams. Auburn has a win over LSU, but we’re projecting the Tigers to lose to Alabama in the Iron Bowl for a fourth loss. So LSU gets the Sugar.
2. How about Tennessee? The Volunteers have the inside track to 9-3 with only Missouri and Vanderbilt remaining between them and an SEC East championship. At that point, it could come down to how well Tennessee does in a rematch with Alabama in the SEC championship game. If the Vols win, they are obviously a New Year’s Six lock. But if they play it close, it could be a tough decision for the committee. If Alabama rolls, LSU is probably the more compelling team than the winner of the weak East.
3. Beyond that, it becomes a scrum of teams with potentially three to five losses. Auburn will likely join the four-loss bunch. Texas A&M might as well. Florida could do itself lots of good with its final two games — at LSU and Florida State. A win in either should make the Gators at worse a Citrus Bowl team. And a win over LSU puts the Gators in the SEC championship game. But is that offense good enough to win either game?
4. Vanderbilt’s loss at Missouri was crippling. Now the Commodores need to sweep a resurgent Ole Miss and Tennessee to get to six wins. We don’t see that happening.
5. South Carolina and Kentucky sit at five wins each but no worries, since both have weak FCS teams on the schedule this week, representing win No. 6 and bowl eligibility. South Carolina plays 2-8 Western Carolina and Kentucky has 0-10 Austin Peay.
2016 SEC bowl projections after Week 10 (11 invites)
- College Football Playoff semifinal (Peach Bowl): Alabama vs. Louisville
- New Year’s Six (Sugar Bowl): LSU vs. Oklahoma
- Citrus Bowl: Tennessee vs. Virginia Tech
- Music City Bowl: Arkansas vs. Minnesota
- Outback Bowl: Auburn vs. Nebraska
- TaxSlayer Bowl: Florida vs. Miami
- Liberty Bowl: Georgia vs. Texas
- Texas Bowl: Texas A&M vs. TCU
- Belk Bowl: South Carolina vs. Wake Forest
- Birmingham Bowl: Kentucky vs. South Florida
- Independence Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Georgia Tech
On the outside looking in: Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Missouri