Power Ranking SEC New Year's Day Bowls with SEC-Big 12 Bowl Added to Mix
For college football fans inside the SEC, New Year’s Day is like a second Christmas every year. New Year’s Day is heavy with SEC football, and with the addition of the SEC-Big 12 champions bowl in 2014 the day just got sweeter. With the new game freshly announced, it is time to power rank the SEC New Year’s Day bowl games.
The SEC continues to reinvent the show when it comes to college football. The conference has done a great job of building a great network of schools and athletics programs, creating a juggernaut on the national college football circuit.
Adding a premier champions bowl game to the SEC bowl lineup solidifies the conferences place in the future landscape of college football.
With the quality of games on New Year’s Day reaching an all-time high, here are the power rankings for the SEC New Year’s Day bowl games.
Chick-Fil-a Bowl: No. 7
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The Chick-fil-A Bowl is traditionally held on New Year’s Eve, usually leaving the crowd to ring in the New Year as they exit the Georgia Dome.
The bowl began in 1968 and was first called the Peach Bowl. It has been played at three different sites in Atlanta and has featured the SEC since 1993.
The Chick-fil-A Bowl is typically a good game, but it pits two middle-of-the-pack teams against each other. Even though the bowl has the benefit of ringing in the New Year for a number of fans, it doesn’t carry the weight others on the list do.
For that, the Chick-fil-A Bowl comes in at No. 7.
Gator Bowl: No. 6
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The Gator Bowl is one of the oldest bowls in the college football lineup. Since 1946, the Gator Bowl has been played in Jacksonville, Fla., every year except one since its inception. In 1994, the Gator Bowl was held in Gainesville.
The SEC first had ties to the game in 1953, but Georgia and South Carolina played in the game before the official conference tie-in. Currently, the SEC faces off against the Big Ten in the contest. The SEC did break official ties in 1994 but returned in 2011.
The Gator Bowl is a good contest, but the game is another mid-tier contest for both of the conferences. The bowl is tradition rich, but the mid-level talent and long break with affiliation leaves this game at No. 6.
Outback Bowl: No. 5
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The Outback Bowl is one of the youngest bowl games in the New Year’s Day lineup. The bowl game has been played since 1986, with the SEC playing in every game. The Outback Bowl traditionally gets the third or fourth pick out of the SEC and will usually carry an Eastern Division team.
The game was first called the Hall of Fame Bowl and was an offshoot of a game that was held in Birmingham, Ala., from 1977-1985. The Outback Bowl has seen great football in the past, with two of the past three games ending in overtime.
The Outback Bowl is a good New Year’s Day contest, but with the strong lineup present on New Year’s Day the Outback Bowl lands at No. 5.
Capital One Bowl: No. 4
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The Capital One Bowl has been in the college football bowl lineup since 1947. The bowl was first known as the Tangerine Bowl, later to be named the Citrus Bowl and finally the Capital One Bowl.
The bowl is located in Orlando, Fla., and hosts the SEC and Big Ten. It gets the second pick out of the SEC during bowl selections, and the SEC has placed some very talented teams in the game in the past, with the last two contests ending in blowouts in the SEC conferences favor.
The Capital One Bowl is one of the premier contests the SEC lands in on New Year’s Day. The bowl has hosted an SEC team consecutively since the 1993 season.
Despite the high team selection, the Capital One Bowl lands at the No. 4 position.
Cotton Bowl: No. 3
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The Cotton Bowl has been affiliated with the SEC since the 1940s. The game was first played in 1937.
The Cotton Bowl was traditionally played on New Year’s Day until 2011. The game was moved to a later January date and is now played the weekend before the BCS national title game.
The Cotton Bowl has always been a big matchup for the SEC. It came close to becoming even bigger when the bowl was extremely close to seeking BCS affiliation during the 2010 season. The Cotton Bowl did not join the rotation, but it is still one of the most premier bowl games in college football.
Falling short of BCS fame, the Cotton Bowl lands at No. 3 on the New Year’s Day bowl list.
Big 12 vs. SEC Champions Bowl: No. 2
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With the new four-team playoff looming on the horizon, the SEC and Big 12 felt it was best to announce the intentions to form a new bowl game that will feature the champions of both conferences—assuming the champions don’t land in the four-team playoff.
If the conferences do lose their champions to the four-team playoff, the next-best team in the conference will receive the bid.
This will be a huge game in the future for the SEC. The Big 12 is in growth mode with West Virginia and TCU joining the ranks this fall. With the SEC landing two former Big 12 members during its expansion, the storylines and talent will be abundant when the New Year’s Day bowl first arrives.
With the talent that will land in the game coupled with the extreme following that will surround this game, the Big 12 vs. SEC champions bowl lands at No. 2.
As long as the SEC has a BCS tie-in, it will trump this game.
Sugar Bowl: No. 1
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The Sugar Bowl was the premier game for the SEC until the latest champions bowl was announced.
The Sugar Bowl is one of four BCS games and traditionally places an SEC team against an at-large BCS team. This past season, with LSU and Alabama both in the national title game, the Sugar Bowl matched Michigan against Virginia Tech.
The Sugar Bowl has been affiliated with the SEC since its inception in 1935. It is one of the oldest bowls in college football.
The Sugar Bowl has hosted BCS national title games and many more games that decided the national title well before the BCS began. The bowl has been played in New Orleans, La., since its beginning and in the Super Dome since 1976.
With the new four-team playoff system expected in 2014, it is unclear whether the Sugar Bowl will be a part of the playoff or remain an SEC tie-in. At this point, it is an SEC game and a BCS-level contest.
The rich history and BCS tie-in land the Sugar Bowl at No. 1.