NCF Nation: SEC bowls

Ranking the SEC bowls

December, 8, 2008
12/08/08
5:09
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

We rank college football teams. So why not the bowls? Eight SEC teams will be playing in the postseason. Here's a look at how the eight bowl games involving SEC teams rank based on overall intrigue, the matchup and any compelling story lines that might exist:

1. BCS National Championship Game
No. 2 Florida vs. No. 1 Oklahoma, 8 p.m., Jan. 8: Easy choice here. The winner walks away with the national championship, and for the Gators, it would be their second national title in the last three years. Even if the title wasn't on the line, this one would be a game everybody was lining up to see simply because of all the talent, athletes and touchdown-makers on the field. The two teams have scored a combined 1,289 points this season.
2. Allstate Sugar Bowl
No. 6 Utah vs. No. 4 Alabama, 8 p.m., Jan. 2: Don't make the mistake of likening this game to last year's Sugar Bowl mismatch, which Georgia won 41-10 over Hawaii. Utah comes into the game with wins over Michigan and Oregon State and can play a little defense. The Crimson Tide's bruising running game will get a test against a Utes' defense ranked 14th nationally against the run.
3. AT&T Cotton Bowl
No. 25 Ole Miss vs. No. 7 Texas Tech, 2 p.m., Jan. 2: Two former star high school quarterbacks from the state of Texas hook up in Dallas. Everybody knows about Texas Tech's Graham Harrell. This is a chance for Ole Miss' Jevan Snead to introduce himself to the college football world. Ole Miss has a stellar defensive line, but few teams have been able to get to Harrell this season.
4. Capital One Bowl
No. 18 Michigan State vs. No. 15 Georgia, 1 p.m., Jan. 1: It's a matchup of two of the best running backs in the country. Michigan State's Javon Ringer has carried the ball 370 times (more than anybody in the country) for 1,590 yards and 21 touchdowns, while Georgia's Knowshon Moreno has rushed for 1,338 yards and 16 touchdowns. If it comes down to a defensive stop, the Bulldogs could be in trouble.
5. Chick-fil-A Bowl
LSU vs. No. 14 Georgia Tech, 7:30 p.m., Dec. 31: Georgia Tech closed the season by winning three of its last four games, all against nationally ranked teams. LSU closed the season by losing three of its last four games. The Tigers' defense went into the tank, and that's a problem against the Yellow Jackets' triple-option offense. It's also another chance for the ACC to beat up on the SEC. The ACC was 3-1 against the SEC on the final weekend of the regular season.
6. Outback Bowl
Iowa vs. South Carolina, 11 a.m., Jan. 1: They don't take bowl games for granted at South Carolina and certainly not bowl wins. Two of the four bowl victories in South Carolina school history have come in the Outback Bowl. Any win would look nice for the Gamecocks at this point after being uncompetitive against Florida and Clemson to end the regular season, and the last thing the Head Ball Coach wants is a second straight six-loss season.
7. Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl
Vanderbilt vs. No. 24 Boston College, 3:30 p.m., Dec. 31: There won't be a mass following of Boston College fans to Nashville. That much we know. But the Eagles have still put together a solid season and have done it the year after losing Matt Ryan to the NFL. They're ranked sixth nationally in total defense and face a Vanderbilt team that was woeful offensively for much of the season, which explains why the Commodores lost six of their last seven games.
8. AutoZone Liberty
Bowl
East Carolina vs. Kentucky, 5 p.m., Jan. 2: Both East Carolina and Kentucky started fast this season. The Pirates were able to recover from a midseason slump and upset Tulsa in the Conference USA Championship Game. The Wildcats lost six of their last eight games after starting 4-0. Their offense got a boost from freshman quarterback Randall Cobb, but their defense couldn't keep pace after several key injuries.

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