SEC Bowl Season: Truths About Bowl Games in the Southeastern Conference

Jeremy HillmanContributor IDecember 20, 2011

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Signage is displayed at the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game between the Oregon Ducks and the Auburn Tigers at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

There will be many previews, predictions and assumptions made about each postseason games now that we are just ten days from the first SEC bowl matchup. 

In this article I will give you the truth on bowl games in the Southeastern Conference.

Over the past five bowl seasons, starting in 2006, what has been the recent trends for success the following season of teams that go bowling and those that don't?

Which teams have had success in bowls and which teams haven't?

Just what does a bowl game mean for a program's progression? How important is it to win the bowl game and what does it do for a teams momentum?

We will use our data from the past five bowl seasons to answer these questions and shed some realities on the matter.  

Each SEC teams record in bowl games (since 2006)

Every SEC team has won a bowl game over the last five seasons and the conference has an impressive 30-17 record in postseason matchups over that time span.

  • Georgia 4-1
  • Florida 4-1
  • LSU 4-1
  • Auburn 4-0
  • Alabama 3-2
  • Kentucky 3-2
  • Mississippi State 2-0
  • Ole Miss 2-0
  • Vanderbilt 1-1
  • Arkansas 1-3
  • South Carolina 1-3
  • Tennessee 1-3

This looks about how you may expect. Except, the Razorbacks and Gamecocks have struggled in recent bowl games with just two wins in eight combined attempts, and Alabama has stumbled twice in recent years.

Auburn has won four straight bowl games and the Gators, Bulldogs and Bengal Tigers have also been on a nice bowl run. The four teams are a combined 16-3 in postseason games since 2006.

The truth about bowling

When looking at the stats and records when considering bowl games, most people would assume that an SEC team that wins their bowl game would have more success the following season than a team that loses the bowl game.  

Truth is, unless your team is Alabama or LSU, while losing is never fun, the outcome of your team's bowl game this season has little bearing on the success your program can have next season.

As a matter of fact, recent SEC trends say that losing the bowl game may just assure your team more wins next year.

Number of wins the following season of SEC teams that win their bowl game (since 2006): 8.2

Number of wins the following season of SEC teams that lose their bowl game (since 2006): 8.4

The only teams that need to worry are those that aren't playing in a bowl game at all. The stats show us that it is not likely they will make it to one next season either.

Number of wins the following season for SEC teams that don't play in a bowl (since 2006): 5.9

So as announcers and media types rely on that old adage that a bowl win could send a team into the offseason with momentum, you can know the truth that a team playing in a bowl game already has the momentum regardless if they win or lose the game. 

Again, no respective coach, player or fan will be content with losing. However, as long as you are in a bowl game, positive momentum "next year" is possible.

So enjoy your holiday postseason travels to places like Orlando, Atlanta, New Orleans and Dallas.  Take in the festivities and support your teams.  Bowl trips are a great experience and a holiday tradition worth continuing or starting if you haven't already.