Breaking down the SEC Bowls

 

 

Let’s give Urban Meyer a day off and look at nine of the SEC bowl games. We’re not going to include the BCS championship game between Alabama and Texas today. We’ll have plenty of time to write about that later.

Clemson 21, Kentucky 13 (Music City): We may have seen Kentucky’s Rich Brooks coach his last game. If so, that will be a shame because Brooks has done one of the great coaching jobs in this league, getting the Wildcats to four straight bowls, winning three. With QB Morgan Newton, WR Randall Cobb, and TB Derrick Locke all returning, there is a future if Joker Phillips takes over.

 

Georgia 44, Texas A&M 20 (Independence): Mark Richt has now won 90 games in nine years as Georgia’s head coach. Now he faces the biggest offseason of his time in Athens as he must hire a new defensive coordinator and develop a starting quarterback for 2010. This was a very good win to start that process.

 

Tennessee vs. Virginia Tech (Chick-fil-A, Thursday): Both teams will want to run the ball and play defense. Don’t ask Jonathon Crompton to do too much against a defense ranked sixth in the country. Tennessee RB Montario Hardesty (1,306 yards rushing) vs. Virginia Tech RB Ryan Williams (1,538) will be worth watching. I’m giving a slight edge to Virginia Tech, because DC Bud Foster will force Crompton to make plays. Virginia Tech 17, Tennessee 14.

 

Auburn vs. Northwestern (Outback, Friday): Auburn’s offensive balance will be too much for the Wildcats. The Tigers scored 30 or more points in seven of their 12 games. If freshman running back Onterio McCalebb comes back for this game at full speed, Northwestern won’t be able to stop them. Auburn 31, Northwestern 21.

 

LSU vs. Penn State (Capital One, Friday): Look at the record and you’ll see that Penn State only beat one team (Northwestern) in the Big Ten with a winning record. LSU has too many athletes and wants to get to 10 wins. LSU 28, Penn State 14.

 

Florida vs. Cincinnati (Sugar, Friday): This looks like a repeat of the Georgia-Hawaii Sugar Bowl blowout of 2007. Aside from the emotion of Urban Meyer leaving/not leaving, Florida is just too athletic, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Cincinnati does not have its head coach, the interim head coach is leaving after this game, and the defense is not very good. They had to outscore people all season. It is SEC power and speed against a finesse team. While the Meyer flip-flop may be criticized elsewhere, it has served to refocus the Florida team after the loss to Alabama in the SEC championship game. Florida 38, Cincinnati 14.

 

Ole Miss vs. Oklahoma State (Cotton, Saturday): Based on preseason expectations, Ole Miss underachieved in 2009. The loss to Mississippi State was a huge disappointment and probably kept the Rebels out of a Florida Bowl. Now they are in the Cotton for the second straight season. The key is whether or not an Oklahoma State rushing defense (No. 6 nationally at 87.67 ypg, but that figure is misleading because Cowboys are 93rd in passing defense) can control Dexter McCluster. If McCluster goes over 100, the Rebels win. Ole Miss 24, Oklahoma State 20.

 

Arkansas vs. East Carolina (Liberty, Saturday):  Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett will use this game to stage his run at the Heisman Trophy in 2010. The key will be the Arkansas defense, which was last in the SEC, allowing 401.8 yards per game. East Carolina, coached by Skip Holtz, beat a high flying quarterback (Houston’s Case Keenum) for the Conference USA championship. Holtz has 22 seniors on this team which represents his first signing class. This will be a very good game. Let’s go against the grain and pick the Pirates. East Carolina 31, Arkansas 30.

 

 South Carolina vs. UConn (Papajohns.com, Saturday):  After three straight losses to Tennessee, Arkansas, and Florida, South Carolina salvaged its season with an impressive win over Clemson (34-17), which played in the ACC championship game. South Carolina is a very young team with 15 freshmen and redshirt freshmen in the two deep. Coach Steve Spurrier believed that this year was going to turn a corner from a talent standpoint. South Carolina needs to win this game to set the table for next season. UConn has been through a tough season with the death of teammate Jasper Howard. The Huskies have a great running game with junior Jordan Todman (1,152 yards) and senior
Andre Dixon (967). South Carolina 24, UConn 20.

  

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211 comments Add your comment

Sorry, $1.4mil vs $14mil nerd...

December 29th, 2009
9:12 am

…but all ACC and SEC teams share revenue – the SEC will share $51+mil while the ACC teams will share almost $30mil – GT is still 2nd rate (except, for the most part, their academics).

Dawgrulz

December 29th, 2009
9:17 am

Tony, I think you are pretty close, except I do think Tennessee will handle overrated VT in Chikin Bowl. I am not a fan of UT and CLK but do think with a month to prepare they will shut down VT and win something like 21-13.

UGA win was what it was, a win over mediocre team. No positive, but to lose would have been a disaster so at least the Dawgs took care of business and salvaged 8 wins in a lackluster season.

S. E. See

December 29th, 2009
9:24 am

Heard some hack sportscaster on ESPN radio last week claim that the SEC is “highly” overrated. Wrong. I personally think that the combination of the SEC and ACC in most southern and east coast states constituites true football in the U.S. Other states have a few individual quality teams (Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan, California) but there is no football conference to match the overall quality of the SEC/ACC tandem.

BurningRedBleedingBlack

December 29th, 2009
9:25 am

GOOD JOB DAWGS!!!!!! Lets Get a coach for that defense!!!

Blindog

December 29th, 2009
9:30 am

Great win yesterday,the future looks bright for the Dawgs!! 90 wins in 9 years…wow!!

Mikey

December 29th, 2009
9:31 am

Tony, you have the SEC going 6 – 3 with 2 games already done.
If UT can bow up and handle Va Tech and you are right about the remainder of the games, the conference will finish 8-2 after Bama handles Texas.
Not too bad…

What record will the ACC finish their bowl season with?
Right now they are 1-2 with 4 games left…..

VolinSuwanee

December 29th, 2009
9:35 am

I see the SEC winning out. It will take a couple upsets (including the Vols) but I feel everyone can carry the conference flag. It is hard to chear for many of the SEC teams but….. bowl season means we stick together. I am sure some dead heads will argue that point.

Professor Marvel & his crystal ball

December 29th, 2009
9:35 am

Pretty good picks TB. I disagree with the UT pick. I think that VT’s D stats are misleading because they played in the pathetic ACC. I think UT rolls. I also think Cincy plays UF harder than most predict. The pressure is on cry-baby Teblow to have a final big game, and he will push things too hard, like he did against the Tide. Their O will struggle. Cincy is backed in a corner, so they’ll come out fighting. Pike is good under pressure, see the way he came back on Pitt. This game will be close, but UF’s D wins it…34-28. A few more picks…Alabama crushes the Horns. GT will of course get spanked by a good Iowa D and further prove that the ACC don’t belong in the BCS automatic bidding with the real “big boy” conferences. LSU will destroy Penn St. TCU will obliterate BSU and prove they should have played Alabama for the championship, but was screwed by the B ull C rap S ystem. Welcome to the “screwed by the BCS” list TCU….it’s a big, BIG list of teams.

robodawg

December 29th, 2009
9:35 am

Florida vs TCU would’ve been much more interesting. I doubt I’ll bother watching. Some good games to watch otherwise.

Mr Right

December 29th, 2009
9:51 am

How can anyone cheer for that dip in Tenn.

Mikey

December 29th, 2009
9:56 am

By the way, Tony- thanks for the day off from the Urban Meyer circus.
Now it remains to be seen if HE will give it the day off.

Why does watching UGA football...

December 29th, 2009
9:57 am

…always feel like a loss? Those were 2 really bad teams playing yesterday, and yet UGA ended up looking “less bad” (but not not by much). Surely to goodness the team will revert back to what UGA football really is next year!

Bremen Dawg

December 29th, 2009
10:02 am

I think that Ole Miss will lose that one to OL state and Arkansas will win theirs. Florida will hand 45 on Cin.

GO Dawgs

Paul's Johnson

December 29th, 2009
10:11 am

As I said over and over yesterday, the Mutts are liable to do anything. They went into the tank for two quarters and still led, thanks to TAMU’s inept ST play. Mutts played like they actually cared in the 2nd half and did what they should have done against an overmatched opponent. All mutt fans can do is look at that extensive assemblage of talent and fantasize about what could have been. Question is can Georgia conquer the world—as their fans expect—-with a new d-line, new d-coordinator and also a new QB?

Haywood Jablowme

December 29th, 2009
10:12 am

How come watching Tech football always feels like you got screwed without being kissed? I can’t wait to see them stink it up in another Bowl Game and embarrass the state again.

KD

December 29th, 2009
10:13 am

I hope the SEC keeps it’s winning going. To Tony, who was awarded the MVP last night, I did not catch the award presentation ? You know ESPN, they cut away as soon as the game was over, I guess if A&M would have won we would have seen it.

GT95

December 29th, 2009
10:15 am

Tony, watching the Independence Bowl last night was somewhat of a wakeup call for me. Texas A&M, a 6-6 Big 12 team played better defense against UGA than GT did. Is our defense just that bad or is this an indicator of just how weak the ACC has gotten against the SEC and the rest of the BCS conferences? I have to admit it was a little disheartening, especially going in to a game with a very physical defensive football team in Iowa.

Scott

December 29th, 2009
10:16 am

Look at the lousy opponents the sec plays in bowl games each year. That is why you have good bowl records. Uconn. Northwestern. E carolina. A depleted ok state. And texas am with 6 losses. Give me a break.

Mikey

December 29th, 2009
10:17 am

KD- Aron White was offensive MVP

Mike

December 29th, 2009
10:19 am

GT95
Huh? They scored 44. Gt gave up 30. What game were you watching? Stats are for losers. The final score is what matters. And bowl games, well you can’t judge a teams entire season on one bowl game. Many times some teams don’t care about being there. Or they just don’t play like they would say in week 6. One thing about ga. They sure get some easy opponents in their bowl games recently. No wonder they have a good record. Even when they play in a bcs, they get hawaii.

Techademics

December 29th, 2009
10:21 am

“except, for the most part, their academics”

Try ‘for the whole part,’ dipstick. Look at some rankings and then report back to us. US News and World Report is a good place to start. Yep, go ahead and check out MBA’s and business degrees too. Someone in gold has moved up to first in the state there too…

Stan Rome

December 29th, 2009
10:21 am

Scott look at the lousy opponents that every team in the ACC plays before ever getting to a bowl. That’s exactly why the ACC is so overmatched even against lower rated opponents from the other BCS conferences.

I think you have lost your mind

December 29th, 2009
10:26 am

You seem to be pretty close on the majority of your pics, but I am not sure Ole Miss beats OSU in the Cotton Bowl. If they play like they did against Miss. State, they will get blown out. Also, how in the world could you pick ECU to beat Arkansas. Arkansas really came on strong as the year progressed, and were two short field goals away from beating Florida in the Swamp and LSU in Baton Rouge. The Arkansas QB will have a field day against ECU. This game is not even close, and in my opinion, is the lock of the bowl season. Take the HOGS giving up the points, and collect your money.

GT95

December 29th, 2009
10:27 am

Mike UGA had trouble running the ball on A&M the entire 1st half. They absolutely manhandled our defense from play one on the ground. We never came close to stopping their ground game. Half of UGA’s points against A&M were ST points. What game were you watching Mike?

Not Bad

December 29th, 2009
10:27 am

I only disagree with two of them. Ok. State beats Ole Miss and Uconn beats SC.

KJ

December 29th, 2009
10:29 am

“They scored 44. Gt gave up 30.”

24 of the 44 were off special teams mistakes, not the defense. Anyone with half a brain can see that A&M’s defense played much, MUCH better against UGA than NATS did.

“Stats are for losers”

LOL, from a gnat, no less.

Paul's Johnson

December 29th, 2009
10:29 am

I’m a loser and like to write mutts, yeah me:)

Scott

December 29th, 2009
10:29 am

Surely you jest Stan. You mean the power teams that fla and bama played this year? The charl southern. troys. fius?

I will give uga a tough ooc schedule. But give me a break. the sec never plays tough ooc games. esp the top teams.

and the acc strength of schedule was 3rd in conf rankings this year. quit making it to be at the bottom. things go in cycles. watch as the next decade comes you will see a fsu, miami, gt or someone else emerge and make it to the title games. it will happen.

Gator Mike

December 29th, 2009
10:29 am

Congrats to the UGA DAWGS and their fans on an impressive win against TX A&M. Well Done!
Go Gators!

Scott

December 29th, 2009
10:33 am

And stan lets just look at the teams the acc has played in bowl games so far.

clemon beats kty. who beat you.
bc plays usc. i don’t care this was a down year. it’s still usc with future nfl players.
and unc played pitt. who was ranked 8th before they lost to cincy.

and your conf has played that 6 loss power a&m and clemson.
clemson is just as good as the top 3-5 teams in the sec. yes they are not fla or bama.
and next you have e carolina…wow tough. uconn who unc beat. tough. northwestern? good gosh. auburn will easily beat them. and then fla gets stuck with cincy. of course they will win that.

penn st lsu i think will be a good game. lsu will lose imo.
vt tenn is a coin flip.

Denver Dog

December 29th, 2009
10:34 am

And the beat goes on! UGA played well, stayed in the game, and won. The defense played reasonably well, made some breaks, were more agressive than we’ve seen in a while. The competition was weaker than most of our schedule. They were well fired up, but our Team made good adjustments and won. Special Teams play looked better for UGA, more disciplined. Once UGA could run the ball, it was over. I think I go for most of Tony’s picks, cut not the Florida game. Florida will hang about 60 on these guys if they want. Go Dogs!

Stan Rome

December 29th, 2009
10:36 am

Mike I hate to break it to you, but GT has played nothing but cupcakes in every bowl they’ve played in this decade and still they lose. Got stomped by a 5 loss SEC team just last year. Of all the teams they could have drawn in the Orange Bowl they drew the most favorable. GT is lucky they didn’t get TCU.

Scott, as long as there’s a SEC, Big 12, PAC 10, or Big 10, no ACC team will sniff the BCS title game unless they’re an undefeated FSU, VT, Miami, maybe Clemson. Nobody else in the ACC can give a NC the economic bang for the buck that the NC game demands.

dawgfan

December 29th, 2009
10:37 am

Per the usual, VT is grossly overrated. They live off an erratic ACC and a usually creampuff non-conference schedule. Every time they square up to a big time BCS opponent they get punkslapped back to reality. And I do mean EVERY TIME. The media absolutely loves to hype this program, but never mentions that they have beaten a grand total of ONE top 5 team in their entire history. They are pretenders. Plain and simple.

I have nothing against VT, but this is the truth. They are one of the most overrated programs in America. They have done absolutely jacksquat outside of the Big Easy and All Crap Conference.

I don’t see that changing against Tennessee. SEC teams are always too big and too deep for VT. They can’t hang.

Just keeping it real.

GR82BAG8R

December 29th, 2009
10:37 am

Tech’s defense was suspect this year, given the losses to graduation last year and the transition from Gailey to Johnson’s impact on recruiting. Georgia has better talent than Tech every year, based on the recruiting rankings. Georgia simply out-talented Tech again, as they should do every year. Their game plan was to run it down Tech’s throat, and it worked. If Tech wants to really compete, they need to get as creative on defense as Johnson is on offense, given their limitations on recruiting.

Florida’s defense was supposed to be one of the best this year, with the majority returning from a BCS NC team. Alabama showed that a motivated team (still smarting from last year’s SEC-championship loss), with comparable talent, can dominate.

m

December 29th, 2009
10:37 am

Clemson kicks kinnntucky by using their ACC SPEED.

They made kinntucky look like they were in slow motion.

sec speed…my arse.

reservoirDAWG

December 29th, 2009
10:38 am

A win is a win. Kid of like 30-24. I’m glad the gnats are still bitter. 8 of 9. Go DAWGS!

Stan Rome

December 29th, 2009
10:39 am

Clemson Scott? LMAO! The same Clemson that got the hell beat out of them by South Carolina. What was Carolina’s ranking in the SEC? You don’t have a leg to stand on Scott.

UGA gave up 471 yds to ATM

December 29th, 2009
10:41 am

special teams won that game last night, certainly not the Dawgs defense

yo m

December 29th, 2009
10:44 am

you must be right. The nfl avoids drafting SEC players because they are notoriously slow. (sarcasm)

Scott

December 29th, 2009
10:46 am

stan
lsu is cupcake? ok. well you’ve played cupcakes too. and iowa is not a cupcake. at least they are RANKED unlike your team.

you could say the same thing about the sec. remember lsu had 2 losses and played in the nc game 2 years ago.

in most years if you go undefeated, you will be in the nat champ game. this year was the exception and shows the flaws the bcs has.

the bcs is all about $. why do you think gt would get beat by tcu when tcu beat clemson by the amount we did. nice logic.

YellowandBlackAttack

December 29th, 2009
10:46 am

Impressive win for UGA. Congrats on making the state proud. Again UGA’s OL dominates, shutting down that AA defensive end of the Aggies. UGA’s OL will be REAL tough next season. Looking forward to seeing if Aaron Murray is as good as hyped. If he is, lookout. As for my Jackets…I don’t think anyone is giving us much of a chance against Iowa, but I got a feeling that the TOA will be hard for them to defend. Ferentz even said they have no way of simulating it in practice. I expect Nesbitt to have a big game and hopefully pull off a tough win. As for the NCG…UGA squashed the Aggies that came REAL close to beating Texas. Not sure their D is ready to stop Ingram. The Tide rolls. I think VT’s D shuts down UT, but that should be one of the better bowl games IMO. Should be a real physical game. Good luck to the ACC, everyone have a happy New Year.

Scott

December 29th, 2009
10:48 am

stan
i love how you ga fans look at one game to make a determination of an entire season. nice logic again. hey they beat kentucky. who beat you. gosh should we look at ucla’s schedule and see who beat them since they beat tenn and tenn crushed you?

Boneyard Randy

December 29th, 2009
10:49 am

Movin’ on from UGA til Spring… How bout them Hawks? Back to back games against King James. Tonight at the Highlight Factory!

CrackerJacket

December 29th, 2009
10:49 am

The dogs are a much better team than A&M and it showed. I don’t think any conference can match up with southern football, SEC or ACC. Good game, Dogs! I hope my Jackets can finish things off with a big win.

Atl

December 29th, 2009
10:50 am

Georgia Tech 38
Iowa 12

BILLY JACK

December 29th, 2009
10:52 am

Scott-you sound like a fool and a jackass-SEC is the superior conf in the land and this will never change.You are talking like the sec teams pick who they are gonna play in bowl games.Please stay off the blogs until you are better educated.You sound like some ignorant techie.The only thing I heard all week is how A&M was going to kill UGA because of the way they pushed Texas around all night.I hope this helped you.

VolNation

December 29th, 2009
10:54 am

Tennessee’s lack of depth right now is what could hurt them against VT. I do see Crompton being able to make some plays against the Bud Foster Defense, he did against Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia and even (when allowed) against Florida. I don’t see him being the intangible that he was in the beginning of the year, he’s an asset to us now.

UT 28-VT 24

Denver Dog

December 29th, 2009
10:54 am

Hey Scott, “Clemson is just as good as top 3-5 teams in your conference”. But you forgot to say not as good as the #9. I think our Papa Johns bowl team, beat the heck out of Clemson. and our Independence bowl team beat the heck out of your champion. You conference is really weak and they are not getting stronger. The SEC had two teams that didn’t go to bowls. That means 10 did. Tech had a good year, and that is about it for the ACC. The fun part of this is that it gets settled on the field. Just don’t make stupid statements about the comparisons. Use the games for that.

Mike S

December 29th, 2009
10:55 am

<<< Hands Scott a cheese tray as it goes really good with Whine.

But you are right, the SEC played a lot of Patsies – Ala played Va Tech, UGA played Ga tech, SC played Clemson, Florida played FSU.

Cameron

December 29th, 2009
10:56 am

Tony:

I agree with most of your picks. However, I think Arkansas is the lock of the bowl season. No way ECU slows down Mallet and those WRs. Maybe if they could run, run, run, but Malcolm Sheppard will be unblockable. Tenn and VT is a toss up. Both have inept offenses even though they showed progress this season. Tennessee will stop the run, they have all year. They will make Tyrod Taylor beat them with his arm, he can’t and won’t. Plus, Monte knows how to play against running QBs (see Vick, Mike when he was in Tampa). However, Bud Foster will make Crompton look like what he is…ordinary. First to 20 wins.