All of the bowl matchups are set, and it’s time for the SEC to prove their dominance across the country, or else face the wrath of sarcastic Danny Kanell tweets. Sorry Arkansas, Ole Miss, and Tennessee, you’re not included, but feel free to play along. This is a safe space for you, unlike this past season.
Let’s check in on the rest of the SEC and see how everyone is feeling about their bowl opponents:
Sure, Bama is scheduled to play Oklahoma in the Playoff semifinal game, but let’s be honest: The Tide’s only real opponents over the next 30 days are Tua’s knee and all those smaller schools trying to poach Saban’s assistants. If they can overcome both of those obstacles, Oklahoma’s defense will feel as easy as … Oklahoma’s defense.
That sound you hear is thousands of Auburn fans searching Google to try to figure out what a Boilermaker is. Playing Purdue might no seem that exciting for most Auburn fans, but they are the team that forced Urban Meyer to retire, so when you look at it from that perspective, it’s a little better. And as always, the closer Gus Malzahn gets to being fired, the better he does, so look for the Tigers to win big here.
After 6 long years, the Gators finally scratch and claw their way into a marquee bowl game, only to play the team that they’ve played almost every other year this decade. Yep, it’s Michigan. And while it would have been a lot of fun to be matched up against UCF and put the Knights in their place, at least the Gators will get to enjoy a trip to Atlanta without worrying about the whole getting crushed by Alabama thing.
The Bulldogs just barely missed out on the Playoff, but playing Texas in the Sugar Bowl is a nice consolation prize. Georgia is a solid favorite, which should give Kirby plenty of latitude for 1-yard read option handoffs by Justin Fields and completely nonsensical trick plays. The good thing is it’s not the Playoff, no one will even notice or care.
The Wildcats get to celebrate their best season in recent memory with a trip to the Citrus Bowl against Penn State. The Nittany Lions are a solid team that just so happened to lose to the two best teams on their schedule, while Kentucky just so happened to lose to the second-worst team in the entire conference. Who knows how this one will shake out.
This bowl season, the Tigers aren’t just playing for themselves, or even just the SEC, but all of the Power 5 conferences, and really the entire societal structure of college football as we know it. If Coach O messes around and loses to UCF, you better prepare to watch Alabama or Clemson beat up on an undefeated G5 team in the Playoff from here on out.
The Bulldogs are playing Iowa in the Outback Bowl, which seems to have a permanent reservation to play there every New Year’s. The good news is, Raymond James Stadium is allowing State fans to bring cowbells to the stadium, which might be the only thing to get Iowans to leave the state.
Mizzou ended the year on fire, and the only thing standing between them and a 5-game winning streak is Oklahoma State. Which means the Tigers get to play the kind of Big 12 football they’ve been longing to all season. Can you imagine the kind of stats Drew Lock could have put up if he was playing against Big 12 defenses instead of the weekly grind of elite SEC defenses like Tennessee, South Carolina and Arkansas?
South Carolina will play Virginia in the Belk Bowl, which I guess is better than not playing in a bowl at all. But despite what you might think at first glance, Virginia is a solid team that competed for and almost won in the Sun Belt, or excuse me, the ACC Coastal.
The Aggies are playing N.C. State on New Year’s Eve, which will hopefully give them enough time to gain their legs after the LSU game. The Aggies match up well against the Wolfpack, but Jimbo Fisher sure doesn’t. There’s no telling what kind of past trauma will be brought up when he sees them run out on the field.
Vanderbilt will play Baylor in the annual “Are we sure these teams are eligible?” Bowl. It might not be the sexiest matchup, but Tennessee fans will have no problem fitting it into their wide-open viewing schedule this bowl season.