Thursday, December 27, 2007

Looking at the SEC bowls

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.