The first bowls in which SEC teams are involved are coming up this Saturday. The lineup looks like this:
|Bowl||Date||Time||TV||Satellite Radio||Matchup||Payout / Team||My Pick / Confidence |
|Liberty||29-Dec-07||4:30 PM||ESPN and ESPN-HD||X140||Mississippi State vs. UCF||$1,700,000||UCF / 60% |
|Independence||30-Dec-07||8:00 PM||ESPN and ESPN-HD||XTBA||Alabama vs. Colorado||$1,100,000||Alabama / 60% |
|Music City||31-Dec-07||4:00 PM||ESPN and ESPN-HD||XTBA||Florida State vs. Kentucky||$1,600,000||Kentucky / 75% |
|Chick-fil-A||31-Dec-07||7:30 PM||ESPN and ESPN-HD||XTBA||Auburn vs. Clemson||$2,915,000||Auburn / 60% |
|Outback||1-Jan-08||11:00 AM||ESPN and ESPN-HD||X140||Tennessee vs. Wisconsin||$3,100,000||Tennessee / 55% |
|Cotton||1-Jan-08||11:30 AM||FOX-HD||XTBA||Arkansas vs. Missouri||$3,000,000||Missouri / 70% |
|Capital One||1-Jan-08||1:00 PM||ABC-HD||XTBA||Florida vs. Michigan||$4,250,000||Florida / 85%|
|Sugar||1-Jan-08||8:30 PM||FOX-HD||X144||Georgia vs. Hawaii||$17,000,000||Georgia / 55% |
|BCS Nat'l Championship||7-Jan-08||8:00 PM||FOX-HD||X144||LSU vs. Ohio State||$17,000,000||LSU / 55% |
The SEC being involved in a total of 9 bowls including the BCS championship game is a testament to just how good the league was this year, and in my mind, validates Les Miles' pre-season comments about the league. Obviously, that validation could be mitigated by a poor performance by SEC teams, but we'll just have to wait and see.
As you can see, I am not nearly as confident in some of the outcomes as Vegas appears to be, but I do pick more SEC winners. To be honest, I was tempted to pick OSU over LSU -- it is a very close call. OSU's defense has been excellent, and I agree with Mergz at Saurian Sagacity.
I'm going against the grain on the Auburn/Clemson game. Clemson has many more injuries/suspensions for this game than Auburn, and with the exception of the thrashing at Georgia, Auburn's defense has been very strong the second half of the year.
I wanted desperately to pick Arkansas, but I just can't. With a coaching change, the turmoil they have endured, the lack of a true passing game, the fact that they only beat 3 winning teams all year, the question marks in their defensive secondary against good passing teams (of which they only played one all year, and lost). Missouri just seems like a much better team to me, but when you have Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, anything, including this, is possible.
Overall, though, I pick SEC teams in 7 of the 9 games in which league schools will participate. If that were to come about, it would be a very strong showing by the SEC and, in my mind at least, a validation of the pre-season hype.
Over the next few days, I will be linking to team blogs as they begin to evaluate their team's bowl appearance.
The Tide Druid also has SEC Bowl picks over at his site.