Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Projecting the SEC's bowl games in 2013
By Chris Low
College football analyst Phil Steele has made his bowl picks for the 2013 season, and he has 12 of the 14 SEC teams playing in the postseason.
The only two teams from the SEC he doesn't have playing in bowl games are Kentucky and Mississippi State. If the Bulldogs don't make a bowl game, it would be the first time since Dan Mullen's first season in Starkville in 2009 that they were shut out of the postseason.
Steele has Alabama back in the national championship picture against Ohio State in the Vizio BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 6. The Crimson Tide have won three of the past four national titles, and the national champion has come from the SEC each of the past seven years.
A year ago at this time, Steele tabbed Florida State and Oklahoma as the BCS National Championship Game participants. He did have Alabama going to a BCS bowl and playing in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, but had LSU as the second SEC team in a BCS bowl and playing in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
Here are all of Steele's SEC bowl picks for this coming season:
Vizio BCS National Championship Game: Alabama vs. Ohio State
Allstate Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs. Notre Dame
Capital One Bowl: LSU vs. Wisconsin
AT&T Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma State
Outback Bowl: Florida vs. Michigan State
Chick-fil-A Bowl: South Carolina vs. Virginia Tech
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Michigan
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Arkansas vs. Marshall
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech
BBVA Compass Bowl: Vanderbilt vs. Houston
Advocare Independence Bowl: Auburn vs. N.C. State
Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl: Missouri vs. East Carolina
Of note, Steele has three of the four new head coaches in the SEC guiding their teams to bowl games -- Butch Jones at Tennessee, Bret Bielema at Arkansas and Gus Malzahn at Auburn. Tennessee has suffered through three straight losing seasons and hasn't played in a bowl game since 2009, so getting to the postseason would be a major accomplishment for Jones and the Vols this season.
It's also noteworthy that Steele has Missouri in a bowl game. After last season's 5-7 finish, Gary Pinkel needs to get the Tigers back on track this season to re-establish any security there.
If Alabama is going to be one of the SEC teams in a BCS bowl, do you agree with Georgia being the other?
Steele also thinks LSU will be an attractive team come bowl selection time. If the Tigers are going to land in the Capital One Bowl, it's doubtful they will have more than two losses.