Don't Be Surprised if the SEC Comes Out On Top in the Bowl Season Once Again!

Damon WildmanCorrespondent IDecember 26, 2008

Defense Wins Championships!

I grew up hearing those three words. And as far as I can recall, whether it be the sport of football, pro or college, basketball, baseball, or what have you, that has been the winning team's most notable attribute.

I seriously can not recall a championship team that ever had a bad or even mediocre defense.

I remember my beloved Tide winning the '92 national championship with an average offense. I seem to recall a pro team or two doing the same with an average offense.

Tampa Bay, a few years ago, comes to mind going to the Super Bowl with an average offense. I am sure there are others in other sports, too.

But winning a championship with a bad defense? Never!

Now, on to this season's bowl games!

There has been plenty of discussion on here and elsewhere about the SEC having great defenses, which the statistics seem to bear out, but also having bad offenses.

There has been plenty of discussion on here and elsewhere about the Big 12 having great offenses, which the statistics seem to bear out, but also having bad defenses.

With the Oklahoma-Florida matchup being the BCS NC game this year, it has been a hotly debated subject as to the differences between the two conferences and offense versus defense.

But there is other bowl games besides this game and they will also play a big part in answering the debate as to who and what wins championships and to who is the best conference.

Being an SEC homer, I admit I don't know a whole lot about most of the SEC's opponents in the bowls, with exception of some of the Big 12 teams. Mainly because of the Big 12's games this season that caught every ones attention nationally as their outcomes impacted the whole college football scene.

With that said, I will go down the list of the SEC bowl games and do my best to analyze what I think will happen starting with the first SEC team to play in a bowl game, Vanderbilt, Dec. 31 in Nashville in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl against Boston College.

Don't know a lot about Boston College other than they lost in the ACC championship game to Va. Tech. But that says plenty!

Boston College, I imagine, would love to be anywhere but Nashville this year and that could be a key. Vanderbilt, for all intents and purposes, is playing at home, being that they are located in Nashville.

Vanderbilt is playing in their first bowl game in forever and should be motivated for that fact if nothing else. Vanderbilt got to the bowl with their defense and nothing much more. But even with a great defense, you have to have some resemblance of an offense, if for no other reason than to give your defense a break.

How will Vandy's players and coaches react to a bowl game? I have no idea. With that fact alone I have to go with Boston College on this one. Vandy I think will play with a lot of enthusiasm and heart and I think will keep it respectable but my best guess is....B.C. 24 - Vandy 10

LSU is next on the list in the Chick-fil-A Bowl Dec. 31, in Atlanta, against Georgia Tech.

Everything here points to a big Georgia Tech win. The game's being played in Georgia Tech's home town. Georgia Tech blew Miss. St. out and beat Georgia in a shootout, both SEC teams.

LSU after winning the big prize last season was just plain disappointing following it up with a 7-5 season this year.

Call me crazy but I just have a gut feeling that Les Miles hasn't forgotten how he got LSU ready for a bowl game and pulls the upset here. Why LSU's defense has been so sporadic this year is a surprise but I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't have at least something to do with a certain QB's play to some extent.

LSU's performance against 'Bama showed to me that if given the right motivation that they have the talent to compete. I am going with the upset here... LSU 31 - Georgia Tech 28

Next up is South Carolina in the Outback Bowl, Jan. 1 in Tampa Florida versus Iowa.

Don't know much about Iowa other than their upset of previously unbeaten Penn St.

But I do know South Carolina can play defense and that they have one great motivator in Coach Spurrier.

The Big 10/11 has been known for a big win in the bowls against an SEC opponent every year, and this will probably be it.

But if the Ole Ball Coach can get a QB to have a big game then it won't be. My bet is on the Ole Ball Coach... South Carolina 35 - Iowa 31

Next on the list is Georgia against another Big 10 team Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl Jan. 1 in Orlando, FL.

Georgia underachieved by everyone's standard this year. Overrated? Well, yes, as it turned out. But not Matthew Stafford or Knowshon Moreno. If they have a big game, lookout Michigan State!

Could this be their swan song at Georgia? Or more importantly, will it have any effect on the outcome of this game?

My guess is no. Georgia wins, but it will be close and then the hand wringing in Athens will begin. Georgia 30 - Michigan State 24

That's halfway through, and I have the SEC at three wins and one loss. Now for the second half, if you haven't already lost your appetite, lol!

Kentucky versus East Carolina in the AutoZone Liberty bowl, Jan. 2 in Memphis, TN.

Kentucky is the worst team from the SEC to make the bowl games with a 2-6 SEC record. Even Vandy was 4-4 in the SEC.

Kentucky played 'Bama tough, especially on defense, but that was early in the season when they had yet to lose a game and were a healthy team. After that game, they went downhill fast and if not for beating a sorry Miss St. team 14-13 would not have been bowl eligible.

Easy pic for me, but watch it be my worst, lol! East Carolina 28 - Kentucky 17

Ole Miss versus Texas Tech in the AT&T Cotton bowl in Dallas, TX is the most intriguing game to me besides the 'Bama/Utah game and of course it is a Big 12/SEC matchup.;)

Ole Miss came on like gang busters at the end of the season winning five straight after the close loss to 'Bama and blowing out the last three teams they played bad, LSU included, in Baton Rouge.

Texas Tech didn't exactly close out the season with a bang. In fact, they looked rather human.

The game is in Texas though, and that could be a factor. But I do recall 'Bama in '05 going into Dallas and shutting down a great Tech offense to the tune of 10 points with a great defense. Could we see a repeat?

Don't think Ole Miss' defense is as stout as Bama's was that year, but they do seem to have a better offense than 'Bama did that year to complement their Defense.

It could be all that Christmas food I ate yesterday causing my gut to feel this way, but right now I am predicting Ole Miss in the upset to a tune of 45 - 35 over Texas Tech.

The big one for me of course is the Allstate Sugar Bowl, Alabama versus Utah in New Orleans Jan. 2.

'Bama came oh so close, one quarter, to playing for all the marbles. As disappointing as it is not to make it there after such an awesome run this season, it has just been a miraculous season and turnaround for us 'Bama fans.

We, for the most part, were hoping for a nine or 10-win season, including the bowl game. If you had of told us we would be in the Sugar bowl at season's, end we would have not believed you.

Now on to the game.

Didn't see Utah play all season. If I had only known.

What we do know is that Utah is Urban Meyer's old stomping grounds and he was real successful there before coming to Florida and ruining our dreams this year. He also left one of his disciple's to carry on for him after he left.

Frankly, Utah does not have the talent that most SEC teams have and probably never will. But they have heart and they have determination. Will that be enough? Depends on 'Bama.

I have a hard time believing 'Bama will not be prepared and ready to play this game even with their disappointment from the SEC championship game. Coach Nick Saban's main theme for this season has been to "Finish!"

That theme and 'Bama's players hard work this season brought them a 12-0 final regular season record. It took a great team and a super human effort by one player to finally give this team their first defeat.

And that team is playing in Miami on Jan. 8.

'Bama wins against a most worthy opponent in Utah 32 - 17

Finally, to the game everyone is sitting on pins and needles trying to make themselves believe that they will prevail and overcome all obstacles with relative ease to win. At least if you are a Gator or Sooner fan, and to some degree, an SEC or Big 12 fan.

I have seen some of the wildest and most outrageous predictions for this game by both sides that I can ever remember for a championship game. You would think both teams were playing Ohio State!

In a way, I am glad 'Bama is not involved in this game. Oklahoma would put 120 points on us, lol!!!

The Big 12 has not seen a defense like an SEC defense!

The SEC has not seen an offense like a Big 12 offense!

The Big 12's Offense is great because their defenses sucks!

The SEC's defense is great because their offenses suck!

And my God at the statistics to prove both's points! It has had to have taken thousands of hours of people's time to have dug up all the comparison's that I have read and heard.

All it has shown is the magnitude of this game and the tremendous pride from both side's with their unyielding arguments. This game may very well be bigger than the Super Bowl! I know it is in the South and Southwest!

And the thing of it is, it is only going to build as the day gets closer! Could this game get any bigger?

Well, next year it could if Notre Dame's big win over Hawaii is just a prelude to next season's Fighting Irish rise and if 'Bama's rise was just the beginning of greatness to come. A 'Bama versus Notre Dame BCS NC game next season would be something of legendary proportions...Dang I am getting ahead of myself! LOL!

My article started out stating that don't be surprised if the SEC comes out on top of the bowl games this year and that defense win championships!

Being that both Florida and Oklahoma look invincible on paper and there are so many opinions to make any sense heads or tales from I am going to go with the team that by all intents and purposes should have the better defense to win the game.

That looks to be Florida. Florida 38 - Oklahoma 35

That leaves the score at 6-2 for the SEC in this year's bowls! Just don't take my predictions to heart! I am a SEC homer as I said. If you disagree, then you are probably one of the majority!

Now on to dreaming of that 'Bama-Notre Dame BCS NC game!!


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