Well, for an “off” season, having 12 teams make it to bowl games, is pretty good, I’d say. Unfortunately, we’re not as optimistic as we’d like to be this bowl season about the SEC’s chances. We’d love for them to go 12-0 but we’ll be happy to go 9-3 (and if we can pick up one or two other wins, we’d be as ecstatic as Bill Clinton without a Secret Service escort). The bowls for the SEC teams don’t begin until the Monday after Christmas so we have to be patient – but here’s what gone happen:
The St. Petersburg Bowl:
Miami (Ohio) vs. Mississippi State
Well, lookee at who’s in the St. Petersburg Bowl! The StarkVegas Boys are going to the beach for Christmas! And congratulations to Dan Mullen and the gang! Puts a whole new light on why it’s fun to beat Ole Miss don’t it? And, for their reward, the Gang gets to play the Miami of Ohio RedHawks who became bowl eligible for the first time in 6 years with their exciting one-point victory over Ball State in their last game. It wasn’t for the Egg Bowl, but hey, when you start out 0-6, it ain’t bad to go to the beach at the end, so they’ll take it. And the Bullies ought to be pretty excited as well. They had a rough year – remember that terrible first game against South Alabama – but, it’s never a bad year when they end it with a victory in Oxford (especially when it was a victory which knocked the Rebel Black Bears out of a bowl). The Bullies are excited and they should be. And we think the Cowbell gang will take home a Florida bowl game trophy.
The Independence Bowl:
North Carolina State vs. Vanderbilt
Who said Bowl season would be boring? How can it be with the Cowbell Gang, the Mildcats and the Commydoors involved??? Son, this is whatchoo call fun! Vandy getting to take an all-expense-paid trip to Shreveport! What’s not fun about going to the casinos and losing all your per diem money? Shoot, that’s got “Christmas” written all over it, don’t it? Vandy’s riding high after their dismantling of the Orange Candy Circus Peanuts in their last game of the year. We hear that Coach Derek ain’t stopped dancing yet! But they’ll have their work cut out for them in this one. The Wolfpack not only defeated their rivals (the Tar Heels) but almost (and should’ve) beaten Playoff participant, Clemson, when they missed a chip shot field goal at the end of regulation. The Pack’s got a pretty good team. We wish we could see Vandy pulling this one out but we’re afraid that the Wolves are going to be too much for the Doors. The Pack wins.
The Texas Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Kansas State
This is a tough game to pick. First you have the A&Mers who started hot (going 6-0) and finished colder than a bowling ball in northern Alaska in February (going 2-4, with losses to the Black Bears and the Cowbell Gang before being smashed by Coach Eaux’s Tigahs). Then you got the Wildcats who started so-so (going 3-3) and finished hotter than volcano lava (going 5-1, of course, they’re played the worst of the Big 12 so that had something to do with it). Can the A&Mers put it together one last time or are they just ready quit for winter break? We think they might just be able to pull out a victory here – and, if their defense can tackle somebody, they might win by a couple of TDs. We’ll go with the Ags and hope for the best.
The Birmingham Bowl:
South Florida vs. South Carolina
The Lamecocks come limping into this bowl game after being absolutely mauled by the #2 Clemson Tigers in their last regular season game. And, they’re facing a team that has won 7 out of their last 8 games. But that may not be much of an indicator either since the Bulls are in the American Athletic Conference and their biggest win all year was a 7-point victory over Navy (not to mention the fact that they lost their coach to Duck Town). The Game Chickens need to win this one, but count us skeptical. How long does it take to recover from a alley whoopin? Can they play without turning the ball over? Will Coach Mustbecrazy be able to survive another bad performance by his team without having a stroke? We’re sorry to say that we’re not sure. So, reluctantly, we’ll go with the Bulls and hope that we’re wrong.
The Belk Bowl:
Arkansas vs. Virginia Tech
Big Brett is looking to feast on some Hokie for the day before the day before the day before New Year’s Eve and he just might be able to find it here at the annual Southern Department Store Bowl. Both teams come into this game with painful disappointments in their recent past (Tech’s loss to Clemson and the Hawgs’ terribly embarrassing loss to Mizzou). Both would love to wash the bad taste of defeat out of their mouths. The big questions are: Can the Pigs stop the Hokies long enough for Austin Allen to get his team a lead? Can the Pig offense score on the VTech defense? Can they keep from making turnovers? We don’t know, but we gone pretend that we do and pick the Razor Pigs in a close one. Coach All-You-can-eat-Buffet says that Hokie tastes like chicken – and that’s good enough for us. Hawgs win.
The Liberty Bowl:
Georgia vs. TCU
The G-Dawgs also come into their bowl game fresh off a loss to a state rival (Georgia Tech) and they ain’t happy. And it may be that the Horned Frogs – who got curb stomped by K-State in their last game – will be just the ticket to get everbody to looking and feeling good again. TCU lost 4 of their last 6 and are clearly one of the worst teams in the Big 12 – and that’s saying something. So, maybe everything is aligned for Kirby Smart to finish the season on a high note. And that’s the story we’re gonna believe. So, Dawgs win and get to finish with their customary mediocre 8-5 record.
The Music City Bowl:
Nebraska vs. Tennessee
The Cornshuckers are another team that started BIG (going 7-0) and finished little (losing 3 of their last 5). They’re almost as disappointed as the Little Orange Circus Peanuts who started out 5-0 only to finish losing 4 of their last 7 (including losses to the Lamecocks and Vandy). Coach Anger Management nearly blew out all the circuits in his brain over the last half of the year. But now, both teams have the opportunity to finish out on a positive note. This game looks like a toss-up from our upper level corner endzone seats – and we don’t really have a feel for who can pull this one out. We’ll go with the Orange Circus Peanut team just because they ought to win this one. Which means they’ll prolly lose (and if they do, that’s what we get for having even the smallest confidence in them).
The Citrus Bowl:
LSU vs. Louisville
Ok, so this brings us to New Year’s Rockin Eve and we got us some pretty good games (in addition to College Football Playoff Semi-Finals). We start it all off in Orlando where Coach Eaux’s boys face off against the birds led by Coach “Easy Rider” Petrino. Nobody had as disappointing a finish as did the Birds – losing to Houston and the Mildcats and being knocked out of any shot at the College Football Playoff (apparently, they didn’t have somebody from the opponents tipping them off to the play calls – where is that guy from Wake Forest when you need him?). The Tigahs, on the other hand finished out pretty strong, beating the Aggies like they were trying to pay them back for kissing their girlfriend. There are few things that would bring more joy to us during this bowl season than being able to watch the reaction of Easy Rider Petrino as he gets out-coached by the Cajun Flash. That would be most mahvalous – so we wish it, so it will be. LSU wins!
The Taxslayer Bowl:
Georgia Tech vs. Kentucky
Once again, we award this bowl with our favorite bowl name of the entire year – and continue to await the Taxslayer to come and slay us some taxes! C’mon y’all! Kill the taxes! Show no mercy, take no prisoners! Ok, on to the game: Both of these teams finished strong. The YallaJackets won 5 out of their last 6 (including wins over Virginia Tech and Georgia) and the Mildcats won 5 of their last 7 (with their biggest win of the year coming against the Louisville Cards in the last game of the regular season). So, both have a reason to want a victory in Jacksonville on New Year’s Eve. This seems like a pretty even matchup and in that case, y’all should always go with the SEC team – cause it just means more here. Mildcats get another big win.
The Outback Bowl:
Florida vs. Iowa
Here we have two teams going in opposite directions. The Hawkeyes come into this game riding a 3-game winning streak (with victories over Michigan and Nebraska) while the Gaytors come in sliding down a 2-game losing streak (and both losses were on a nuclear level – to FSU and Alabama). This would be a very nice win for a couple of reasons: 1) it would keep the Swamp Things from feeling so bad about themselves (which is, by far, the lesser of the two reasons) and 2) it would give some cred to the SEC that some seem to think we’ve lost over the course of this season. It’s a tough call but we’re going to go with Coach Mac and his motivational and game planning skills to put the Gaytors in position to win this game. And we think they will!
The Allstate Sugar Bowl:
Auburn vs. Oklahoma
Welcome to the “We-Don’t-Really-Like-Our-Coaches-But-They’re-the-Best-We-Can-Get-At-the-Moment” Bowl (probably more true down at the Barn than in Norman, but still). Despite stumbling to the regular season finish line (losing 2 out of their last 3) the Wargles still finished as the second highest rated SEC team – and soooooo, they got the free trip to Sin City. Domestic Violence U on the other hand, after losing 2 of their first 3 games, reeled off 9 wins in a row – to win the Big 12 Championship and come in hotter than a shipbuilder’s blow torch. This looks like a bad mismatch to us. The Barners are probably going to have to play their best game of the year just to keep this one close. Unless the Okies collapse and give up 5 or 6 turnovers, we don’t see how they can possibly lose. So, we’re going with the Sooners and hope it won’t be as bad as we fear it will be.
So, that’s that for the bowls – looks sorta bleak for the good guys but maybe everbody can play better than we anticipate and the SEC can win a couple more of these. We’ll have our prediction for the Alabama part of the College Football Playoff in a couple of days – so don’t lose heart, if your team can’t quite end the season like you want em to. The Tide is here to lift up all the rest of the SEC boats – and they will.