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

Scott

December 30th, 2009
4:13 am

It’s starting to look like the ACC won’t win another game this bowl season.

PirateNation

December 30th, 2009
7:45 am

If ARk fans are sooooo sure they will run rough shot over ECU, they should put their spot in the SEC on the line! I think if we can pull it out, it will be close just like you predicted here. They may have a great QB, but if you look at there rcent history, this ARk team is USED TO LOSING, not winning, and ECU is used to winning, not losing. I say if ECU can put Mallet on his back some early, they will easily fall back into their loser mind state….

Also GREAT WIN DAWGS!!!!! (lived in Athens for a few years)

Have a happy new year all!

Spanker

December 30th, 2009
8:31 am

Tony you should change your moniker to Mr SEC. It would be far more appropriate.

rogeriter

December 30th, 2009
8:44 am

To all of the Alabama, Tech and even the Georgia bloggers on this site–GROW UP! You all act and reason like a bunch of teenagers.

Reality

December 30th, 2009
9:08 am

If Willie Martinez, Fabris & Jancek had coached the Dawgs in this bowl game, the Dawgs would’ve lost the game by a touchdown, instead with Garner and two grad assistants coaching the D and special teams the Dawgs won by 24 points! It was the Dawgs best defensive and special teams performance of the year. This game they were freed up to actually make big plays on defense. Remember, only losers whine about yardage, while winners control the score board!

Talk about garbage out of conference games?

December 30th, 2009
9:15 am

Then you have to talk about Georgia Tech!!!!! Tech schedules the likes of Jacksonville State, Stetson and Garner-Webb. Georgia Tech truly has no right to complain about other people’s schedules. The only other out of conference game Tech plays is against UGA which Tech has lost 8 out of the last 9!!!! And gee, how many bowl games has Tech won in the last ten years? Did Tech go to any quality bowls? Did Tech play on a blue field? Finally, after 40 years, Tech is going to play in a major bowl. But they still weren’t good enough to be the best team in their own home state!!!! 30-24!

SEC overrated!!!

January 1st, 2010
7:08 am

The ACC may be 2-3 in bowls this year but both their wins are over SEC teams. The SEC is overrated this year. All dawg fans are hyping up a mediocre performance over a terrible A&M team. That’s the same A&M team that lost to Kansas State 62-10 or something. Very few signature conference wins. Go Virginia Tech, and good call on that one Dawgrulz.

SEC overrated!!!

January 1st, 2010
7:12 am

Talk about Garbage,
Tech was supposed to be playing Ole Miss this year but they cancelled on us. Besides, one patsy per year is not bad. We played three SEC teams this year and 2 last year in out of conference. Mississippi State was almost a bowl team at 5-7 with that close loss to LSU. And how could we know Vandy would go from bowling last year to terrible this year? Also, starting in 2 years we play a one and one with Alabama. We play Kansas next year. After the Alabama game we have another series with Auburn. Get your facts straight. I do believe that the SEC is consistently the best conference, but not because of their cupcake out of conference schedule. Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee are about the only teams that will suck it up and play big boys.

From one tech dork...

January 1st, 2010
7:20 am

To Reality,
As part of TechVillage, I rebut. The only reason there are so many Georgia fans is that every GED toting, trailer park dwelling hick in the state has hitched their wagon to the great UGA bandwagon. Nobody just chooses Georgia Tech to cheer for. Our fan base is so small because we consist of mostly alumni, and I’m fine with that.

Rebel Ace

January 6th, 2010
12:55 pm

Hey Bremen Dawg: You still like Oklahoma State?

LOL

Brian CT

January 13th, 2010
4:09 pm

Tony, I love your show but I have to tell you I was troubled watching your biased “Bowl Review” which made it sound like LSU lost to Penn State due to poor clock management. WRONG! LSU lost to a clearly superior, better coached team that STOMPED them in the trenches for four straight quarters. Period. Fact – Were it not for the sloppy field conditions that resulted in the fumbled snap at that 1 and the narrowly missed TD reception, Penn State causes this particular LSU squad to get laughed out of the stadium before they even have a chance to shake hands (which they didn’t bother to do anyways. Nice college sportsmanship, people).

Let’s try and tell it like it was next time, Tony, ok? -Brian LB-U