Well, I have your SEC bowl picks here. I've gone ahead and picked the other bowl games, but for most of them I can't really explain why I picked one over the other. Since I watch more SEC football than anything, I can at least come up with some rationale, as you are about to see, for why I picked one team over another. I invite you to weigh in with your own forecasting in the comment section. Oh, I should add that I did not consult our famous Russian clairvoyant for any of these picks. He was busy trying to look far, far, far into the future for better days for Tiger Woods.
MUSIC CITY BOWL (Dec 27th) - I expect the attendance will be sparse. Kentucky is heading down to yet another Tennessee bowl game, the state of Florida and its warmer weather still not within their grasp. Clemson had a BCS bowl just about in their grasp, but could not get by Georgia Tech. C.J. Spiller has something to prove, I think, for being left off of too many Heisman ballots. But in the end, I think the SEC's streak over the ACC continues with a more motivated Kentucky team taking home the winner's trophy. Sorry, Dabo.
INDEPENDENCE BOWL (Dec 28th) - As we saw with our last Cotton Bowl, a team that is going through an end of the year staff transition is not a team usually best suited for winning a bowl game. Georgia has had a purge on the defensive side of the ball. As far as I know, Texas A&M is still with all its coaches. I think we can expect a lot of offensive fireworks in Shreveport, but Georgia, as it has done all year, will turn the ball over one too many times, and with the Aggies playing better football at the end of the year (I am thinking of their game against Texas), I see A&M getting a bowl win and thus making Mark Richt's off-season even more miserable.
THE BOWL FORMERLY KNOWN AS PEACH (Dec 31st) - Of late, the Georgia Dome on New Year's Eve has not been friendly to the Vols. I see the trend continuing. In what will be a close game, Virginia Tech will make a play on special teams (probably a blocked field goal, aka Tenn. vs. Alabama) to pull out a win at the end of the year that they couldn't get at the beginning in the same arena vs. Alabama.
THE BOWL NAMED AFTER A HEART CLOGGING AUSSIE THEMED RESTAURANT (Jan 1st) - Could an academic school from the Big Ten really beat one of our many 7-5 SEC teams? I don't think so. The speed of the SEC, the Florida recruits, what have you, I just can't see this Yankee team getting a win in Orlando against the Auburn Tigers. If it were a Quiz Bowl, yes. But not this. Ben Tate is going to show the world that the state of Alabama has another good power back besides the one who won the trophy. And Gus will have a razzle, dazzle play or two as well. The only thing that worries me about Auburn's chances is that the game is played at 11:00 AM. Wake-up Tigers!
THE BOWL NAMED AFTER A CORPORATE LEACH THAT CHARGES WAY TOO MUCH IN INTEREST AND FEES (Jan 1st) What is in Joe Paterno's wallet? Well, possibly old tickets to twenty-three bowl games that he has won throughout the years. Paterno can get a team ready. But so can the Mad Hatter. Les Miles is 4-0 at LSU in bowl games. I am cautious about going against the Bayou Bengals after betting against them in last year's bowl game where they ran Georgia Tech out of the Georgia Dome. But I think LSU is still a bit too beat up to perform at the level they will need to be at to beat a good 10-2 Penn State team.
SUGAR BOWL (Jan 1st) Both teams are dealing with transition issues. But I think the Bearcats losing Brian Kelly is a bigger transition than what Florida is experiencing. Charlie Strong will be there. Brian Kelly won't be in New Orleans. I think Florida and Tebow will rise to the challenge having seen what happened to Alabama last year when they played last year's version of Cincinnati. It will be a test of wills. Florida's will to send out Tebow and those seniors and possibly many juniors on a good note vs. Cincinnati's desire to show their old coach they can win games without him. Put me down for Florida.
THE SECOND PIZZA BOWL, HELD SOMEWHERE IN ALABAMA (Jan 2nd) Another name for this bowl is the bowl that no SEC team really wanted to go to. My nightmare scenario was that Arkansas might get screwed into this bowl game. UConn might be the team with a bit more desire to be here. But I think South Carolina is feeling pretty good about themselves with the win over Clemson and will want to show the ten people watching this bowl game that they are indeed done swooning and can play better in a bowl game than they did last year. Spurrier gets the least impressive bowl win of his career. Come on, Steve, doesn't that golf course look good right about now?
THE DISAPPOINTMENT BOWL, AKA THE COTTON BOWL (Jan 2nd) - Did Houston Nutt win or lose his last game before this one? Oh, right, he lost in rather embarassing fashion to Miss. State. That means it is probably time for a Nutt uptick to end what has been a downtick of a season overall for a team that was hyped up as far as number four in the nation at one point. OSU was breathing some thin air as well at one point in the season and was a game away from the BCS when OU asserted its authority again over their little brother Cowboys. Though I would love to see OSU win, I feel like Ole Miss has the better defense and the quicker than a cat squirrel Dexter McCluster, which will be enough to get a win.
LIBERTY BOWL (Jan 2nd) - Back in May I predicted a 7-5 season with a win in the Liberty Bowl. Everything has gone exactly as I called it back then. Every win, every loss. I am not going to jump off the ship now. I say Arkansas gets its first Liberty Bowl win in four attempts with a win over East Carolina. On ESPN's Bowl Mania show Jesse Palmer picked the Hogs and gave it his second or third highest level of confidence. Being a Hog fan who has seen too many bowl games where the Hogs came out and stunk it up, I can't say I am super confident. But I am confident enough to spend January the 2nd at the game in Memphis myself with family and friends doing the Hog call and what I expect at the end to be a chant of "SEC! SEC! SEC!"
THE WE PUT ONE SECOND BACK ON THE CLOCK NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (Jan 7th) - I am looking forward to this showdown between Texas and Alabama. I would have loved to have seen Texas get up ended by bad clock management and have their little cousin, TCU, go in their place. But it didn't happen. I have more of a pulling interest for Alabama than I would have if Florida were in it. In that case I would have just concentrated on there being a loser, haha. Which team will be the loser here? Hmm. I think Texas is trending downward based on their last two games. We saw what a good defense can do to Colt McCoy and company. And Alabama certainly has a good defense. Texas does, however, escape the Heisman curse. That is Alabama's to deal with. But Alabama certainly has more of an offense than what Nebraska has, so I am picking the Tide to give the SEC its fourth straight BCS crown in what will be Alabama's first win against Texas ever. Funny to think that Arkansas has more wins over Texas than Alabama does. But Alabama will get the biggest win of them all in a 15-14 win, haha!
That puts the SEC at a good 7-3 for the bowl season. I can't say that prediction is based on much detailed X's and O's knowledge about matchups and so forth, but more instead on gut instinct, which is about as good as anything when it comes to predicting college bowl games. Bringing back to life some dead old Roman to look at the guts of a one winged chicken might serve you just as well when it comes to predicting these things. Now, I just wonder what our favorite Russian sees in the future? Trouble for the SEC Tigers? Or just more trouble for Tiger? haha.