SEC Bowl Projections after Week 13: Guess who crashed party?
Vanderbilt, welcome aboard.
You too, Birmingham Bowl.
The Commodores wrapped up the SEC’s 11th and final bowl berth of the 2018 season on Saturday by routing Tennessee. Vandy got its sixth win while the Vols finished 5-7 and out of the picture (there are already 82 teams eligible for 78 spots so there will be no 5-7 bowl teams this year).
As for the rest of the bowl picture, we still have Alabama playing Oklahoma in a College Football Playoff semifinal after No. 4 Michigan lost at Ohio State. For now the projection is that the Sooners will just edge the Buckeyes for the No. 4 seed and a CFP semifinal spot (assuming Oklahoma beats Texas in the Big 12 title game). This, obviously, also assumes that Bama beats Georgia in the SEC title game; the Bulldogs seem like a lock to be ranked fourth in this week’s CFP poll but are projected to fall back out of the top four with a loss.
LSU’s loss to Texas A&M on Saturday, I think, knocks the Tigers out of a New Year’s 6 bowl. Florida moves to the Fiesta and No. 12 Penn State jumps into the NY6 lineup, so the SEC will have three teams in major bowls instead of four. LSU falls behind both UF and PSU — perhaps harsh, but in line with CFP ranking trends — then several other SEC teams shuffle accordingly.
So, because the SEC loses a spot in the NY6, the Birmingham Bowl returns to our projections after being absent for weeks. Because 11 SEC teams are bowl eligible, the six bowls clumped together after the Citrus Bowl’s selection will be all the ones with winning records. Vandy, at 6-6, gets picked last among the league’s bowl-eligible teams.
As always, this is a prediction of where teams will be after Saturday’s conference championship games, not where they are now. That disclaimer does not apply quite like it usually does but there could still be more chaos around the country with every league determining its champion. So even on a week where only Alabama and Georgia play (plus South Carolina’s meaningless makeup game against Akron), SEC teams might yet take one more spin on the bowl roulette wheel.
Now for our SEC bowl projections:
New Orleans, LA