SEC Football: Predicting Outcome of Every SEC Bowl Game
Bowl season might as well be a showcase for the SEC.
The SEC prides itself on having the best conference in football because, well, it does. And because with teams such as Florida facing Louisville and Georgia facing a Nebraska team that just lost to Wisconsin 70-31, the SEC should hand out some beatdowns this bowl season.
But still, the SEC is not invincible. The conference does face some interesting matchups, such as LSU vs. Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl.
So with that said—will the SEC dominate the bowl games this season? How many blowouts will the SEC deliver? Can the SEC go undefeated?
Music City Bowl: Vanderbilt vs. N.C. State
Bowl victories come in a minimum for Vanderbilt.
In fact, the Commodores have only two bowl wins in its history, but James Franklin's team has a good chance to get its third win.
Vanderbilt finished the season with eight wins and won six games in a row to close out the season. And while N.C. State did defeat Florida State, the Wolfpack were inconsistent all season, finishing 7-5.
The Commodores should ride the back of Zac Stacy in this one. With Stacy handling most of the responsibility on offense, Vanderbilt's extremely underrated pass defense should hold Mike Glennon in check. Vanderbilt wins a close one.
Prediction: Vanderbilt wins 27-24
Compass Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh is starting to get into a groove.
After losing to Notre Dame in triple overtime and losing to Connecticut, the Panthers upset Rutgers and blew past South Florida.
But Ole Miss is on a bit of a high, as well. The Rebels are feeling pretty good about themselves after winning six games and beating their bitter rival, Mississippi State. So really, this should make for quite an unexpectedly exciting showdown.
Ole Miss will be able to move the ball on the Panthers defense, while Pittsburgh will find ways to get Ray Graham involved in the offense. The game turns into a score-fest near the end, and it'll come down to the team who has the ball last. Pittsburgh will be that team.
Prediction: Pittsburgh wins 38-37
Outback Bowl: South Carolina vs. Michigan
Expect Steve Spurrier to copy Nick Saban's game plan against ol' Denard Robinson in the Outback Bowl.
When South Carolina meets Michigan, Jadeveon Clowney will be the ultimate difference-maker. Robinson and Devin Gardner will experience pressure from the Gamecocks' outstanding front four, and that will force Michigan into making mistakes.
That should open things up for Dylan Thompson and the offense.
The offense will benefit from the situations that the defense creates, and that will lead to a respectable Gamecock victory against Michigan.
Prediction: South Carolina wins 34-23
Gator Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Northwestern
Can Mississippi State rebound from its loss to Ole Miss?
Look, the morale at Mississippi State can't be real high after losing four of its last five games of the season. After all, this (like every year) was supposed to be the Bulldogs' year to compete in the SEC West.
As you know, that never happened, and unfortunately, this will have an effect on the Gator Bowl. Northwestern comes into the game having won its last two games of the season.
Northwestern isn't flashy, but the Wildcats do the little things well. Tyler Russell should have a big day against Northwestern's lackluster pass defense, but the Wildcats take care of the football and grind away a close, narrow victory.
Prediction: Northwestern wins 24-20
Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma
Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma could be the best game of the bowl season.
Little excitement is created when first glancing at all of the bowl games this season. Let's just be honest—they're pretty weak. But Texas A&M and Oklahoma are one of the few exceptions.
Expect great defensive play to be thrown out the window in this one. These teams aren't known for that. This is a game that features two great quarterbacks that will exert greatness in Jerry's world.
It'll be a high-scoring affair, but expect Johnny Manziel to have the last laugh. Texas A&M wins a shootout.
Prediction: Texas A&M wins 48-42
Chick-fil-A Bowl: LSU vs. Clemson
The battle between the Tigers is a fun matchup.
And no, it's not because each team has the same mascot and stadium nickname. This is a fun matchup because both teams are really good.
Clemson doesn't get nearly the credit it deserves, despite the Tigers being 10-2. A big reason for that is the ACC being weak this season. But make no mistake about it, this team has talent. With playmakers such as Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins and Andre Ellington, it doesn't take a genius to realize that this team is.
Match those playmakers up against LSU's cornerbacks and linebackers, and you have yourselves an exciting night of football. This game remains close through the first half, but LSU's rushing game will grind away at Clemson's defense and tire them down. This allows LSU to pull away in the second half.
Prediction: LSU wins 34-20
Capitol One Bowl: Nebraska vs. Georgia
Oh Nebraska, you better come a lot harder than you did in the Big Ten Championship Game.
The Cornhuskers gave up over 500 rushing yards to Wisconsin in that game, and with a bowl game with Georgia in its future, Nebraska better tighten up that rush defense. To make matters worse, Georgia should enter this game with a bitter taste in its mouth after dropping a close game to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.
Really, this should not be a game. Though Georgia has a bit of a reputation of playing down to its opponents, the Bulldogs haven't done that much this year, so expect a Bulldog beatdown.
Georgia's Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall could go for 200 yards a piece as the Bulldogs handle Nebraska.
Prediction: Georgia wins 35-17
Sugar Bowl: Florida vs. Louisville
What a joke.
Louisville is a pretty good team with a great quarterback in Terry Bridgewater, but let's be real—the Cardinals are nowhere near worthy of playing in the Sugar Bowl.
Being selected over teams such as Georgia, Texas A&M and LSU? Are you kidding? This BCS bowl system is so flawed, but whatever, you have to deal with that hand you're dealt, I reckon.
In this case, Florida should deal out a thrashing. Bridgewater is cool and calm under pressure, but when the Gators defense gets after him, it'll force him into making mistakes. Those mistakes lead to scores for the Gators, and this game gets out of hand.
Prediction: Florida wins 38-13
BCS National Championship: Alabama vs. Notre Dame
Despite what many people believe, Notre Dame will compete against Alabama.
The Irish have a great team, and the Irish will find success against Alabama.
But, “hey, look here Jack,” this is the SEC’s title. And if any team has the experience required to win a national championship, it's the Alabama Crimson Tide. After all, they're the defending national champions.
But once again, this Notre Dame team isn't a pushover. This game stays close early, but after Eddie Lacy and TJ Yeldon grind down the Irish defense like no one before, Alabama separates itself in the fourth quarter.
Prediction: Alabama wins 27-17