SEC Bowl Projections for Every Team After Week 9
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As we turn the calendar from October to November, the SEC bowl picture is starting to come into focus.
Alabama is the SEC's lone remaining unbeaten team, while one-loss teams LSU, Georgia and Florida are nipping at its heels to get back into the national championship picture.
On the back end of the SEC's bowl picture, Ole Miss is one win away from bowl eligibility, and despite losing four straight games, Tennessee still has hope.
Where will your favorite SEC team play this bowl season? Our Week 10 SEC bowl projections are in this slide show.
Discover BCS National Championship Game: Alabama vs. Oregon
Alabama RB Eddie Lacy
Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE
If there's one thing we know about Alabama, it's that the No. 1 Crimson Tide are a machine that's on a collision course with another BCS National Championship Game appearance.
Last weekend's 38-7 beat down of Mississippi State notwithstanding, Alabama's schedule has been remarkably weak this season. If it can survive its first real test this weekend against No. 5 LSU in Baton Rouge, the Crimson Tide will be well on their way to a third BCS championship game appearance in the last four years.
That's pretty darn close to "dynasty status."
The Crimson Tide simply don't have a weakness. They run the ball, they're efficient in the passing game, they force turnovers and are stout against the run.
Waiting for Nick Saban in Miami Gardens could be Chip Kelly and the high-flying Oregon offense. If an average Auburn defense can shut down Oregon's offense in the title game following the 2010 season, can you imagine what Alabama's front seven will be able to do?
Allstate Sugar Bowl: Florida vs. Boise State
Florida head coach Will Muschamp
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Despite last weekend's loss to Georgia, the Florida Gators will run the table to finish 11-1 and get a bid over Georgia, who will drop the SEC championship game and finish at 11-2.
What an improvement from a year ago, when Muschamp's Gators finished 6-6 in the regular season and underwent a coordinator change when Brent Pease took over for Charlie Weis after Weis took the head coaching job at Kansas.
Florida's defense is solid, and its ground game is strong behind running back Mike Gillislee and quarterback Jeff Driskel.
With the season finale against Florida State the only major hurdle standing in their way, the Gators are in good position to make a BCS bowl.
Boise State will await Florida in New Orleans after Boise State finishes in the Top 16, ahead of Big Ten champ Nebraska, and automatically qualifies for the BCS.
Capital One Bowl: Georgia vs. Michigan
Georgia CB Sanders Commings (19) and LB Jarvis Jones (29)
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Georgia won't take home the SEC championship, but a trip to Orlando to take on the Michigan Wolverines will be a nice consolation.
The Bulldogs finally got things straightened out on defense against Florida last weekend in the 17-9 win over the Gators in Jacksonville. The Bulldogs forced six turnovers, including a fumble by Gator tight end Jordan Reed at the goal line late in the fourth quarter that could have forced overtime.
The D is back on track, Todd Gurley is a monster at running back and Aaron Murray—despite being inconsistent on Saturday—is still capable of big things at quarterback.
Georgia will run the table, fall to Alabama in the SEC championship game and take on Michigan in the Sugar Bowl.
Jarvis Jones vs. Denard Robinson? Yes, please.
Outback Bowl: South Carolina vs. Wisconsin
South Carolina QB Connor Shaw
Jeff Blake-US PRESSWIRE
South Carolina must win out, have Florida gall to Missouri and have Georgia lose to either Auburn or Ole Miss, but not both, to play for the SEC championship.
That's not very likely.
Because of the way things are shaping up, the Gamecocks are almost a lock for the Outback Bowl. Quarterback Connor Shaw again proved how good he can be with 356 passing yards and four total touchdowns (3 pass, 1 rush) against Tennessee.
Running back Marcus Lattimore's absence will be an issue down the stretch, but senior Kenny Miles and freshman Mike Davis are quality backups.
Unless South Carolina is upset by Arkansas in two weeks, Gamecock fans can start looking at hotel and airfare deals for the greater Tampa area.
Wisconsin just lost to Michigan State to fall to 6-3, but should get by Indiana in two weeks before finishing the season against Ohio State and Penn State, both of which are ineligible for the postseason.
AT&T Cotton Bowl: LSU vs. Oklahoma
LSU RB Jeremy Hill
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LSU still has national title hopes, but this weekend's game versus Alabama will eliminate those hopes, as well as the Tigers' chances at receiving an at-large bid to the BCS.
But Les Miles' crew will make the trip to Jerry World after the season to take on Oklahoma, which will close out the end of the 2012 season strong.
The Tigers can't seem to find a passing game, but they caught lightning in a bottle with the emergence of freshman running back Jeremy Hill, who has led the Tigers in rushing in each of their last two games.
LSU has Mississippi State after the Tide, and that season finale against Arkansas is always good for some shenanigans. The Tigers have some work to do, but a trip to Arlington is likely in their future.
Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Clemson
Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
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In its first season in the SEC, Texas A&M has established itself as a big-time force in the SEC under the guidance of first-year head coach Kevin Sumlin and star quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Manziel leads the SEC in total offense with 376.1 yards per game and is getting consideration for the Heisman Trophy despite being a freshman. His emergence as a legit weapon has made the transition for the Aggies as smooth as it possibly could be, making the "soft" label that plagued the program a thing of the past.
They have a tough stretch run with games at Mississippi State and at Alabama; but if the Aggies can top the Bulldogs this weekend, they will earn a Chick-fil-A Bowl bid to take on Clemson out of the ACC.
Clemson and A&M together? Take the over.
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Michigan State
Mississippi State QB Tyler Russell
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Mississippi State's 2012 season will end in the same stadium as its 2010 season did: at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla. in the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl.
The Bulldogs' hopes of running the table ended with a thud on Saturday night in Tuscaloosa, but we will find out more about Dan Mullen's program after we watch how it responds over the next two weeks in games versus Texas A&M and at LSU.
Nobody expects the Bulldogs to win on the road at LSU, but this weekend's game against Texas A&M will probably determine their spot in the SEC bowl pecking order.
The hangover from last week will be too difficult to overcome, but a New Year's Day date on the First Coast to take on Michigan State isn't a bad consolation.
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Tennessee vs. Miami (Fla.)
Tennessee RB Marlin Lane
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Seemingly nobody is on the Tennessee bandwagon anymore, but the Vols can move the football. They just don't have any clue what the word "defense" actually means.
At this point, there is no quick fix for the defense, which has many writing off the season already.
Losers of four straight and five of its last six, Tennessee is about as low as it can possibly be.
But have no fear, Vol Nation: November is almost here.
The new month brings a relatively easy schedule to Rocky Top, with games against Troy, Missouri, at Vanderbilt and Kentucky.
The Volunteers can—and will—run the table in November and head to the Music City Bowl to take on Al Golden's Miami Hurricanes in Nashville.
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Tulsa
Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace
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Raise your hands if you thought that Ole Miss would be within one game of bowl eligibility before Halloween.
Put your hand down, no you didn't.
Following Saturday's 30-27 win over Arkansas in Little Rock, the Rebels find themselves at 5-3 and needing one win to become bowl eligible. That's quite a testament to the job that Hugh Freeze has done in his first season as head coach.
Games at Georgia, at LSU and vs. Mississippi State won't be easy down the stretch; but a visit from Vanderbilt on November 10 should allow the Rebels to get bowl-eligible.
The Rebs will face off against Conference USA champ Tulsa in Memphis, which should make for a good game with a lot of scoring.
BBVA Compass Bowl: Vanderbilt vs. Pittsburgh
Vanderbilt QB Jordan Rodgers
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Vanderbilt sits at 4-4 right now and should be able to knock off Kentucky and Wake Forest in the final month of the season to get to a second straight bowl game.
At Vanderbilt, that's a major step in the right direction. And it's even more impressive considering the Commodores started out 1-3 and looked less than stellar in the process.
Star running back Zac Stacy injured his ankle in last week's win over UMass, and even though Wesley Tate and Brian Kimbrow looked good in his stead, head coach James Franklin will need Stacy down the stretch if he wants this projection to become a reality.
The 'Dores will face off against a Pitt team that has been up and down in Birmingham, and Franklin will be fielding a ton of offers from teams with job openings across the country.