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Scott’s SEC Bowl Predictions

With two games left in the regular season, here’s how I see the SEC post-season playing out.

West:

Alabama (9-1).  With games left against Georgia Southern and Auburn, barring an upset, the Tide look poised to finish the season 11-1 and rooting hard for Arkansas to upset LSU. Even if that were to happen, they’d still need some BCS help to get to Atlanta. Alabama still has a shot to back-in to the National Championship game, but they need a lot of things to happen to get there.

Auburn (6-4). The Tigers are bowl eligible and have Samford and Bama’ left on their schedule.

Arkansas (9-1). The only thing that’s fairly certain is that the Hogs will be playing in one of the SEC’s higher tier bowl games this season (Sugar, Capital One, Outback or Cotton). They still have a chance to get to Atlanta, but they must win out against Mississippi State and LSU, then hope for some BCS love or an Auburn upset of Alabama. Like Bama, the Hogs still have a chance to back-in to the National Championship game, but only if certain dominoes fall perfectly.

LSU (10-0). With games remaining against Ole Miss and Arkansas the Tigers control their own destiny. Win out, they’re in Atlanta playing for the SEC Championship, then it’s on to the National Championship Game should they win there. Lose to Arkansas and it all hinges on where the top 3 in the SEC West fall in that final BCS poll.

Mississippi State (5-5). The Bulldogs need to win one of their final games against Arkansas or Ole Miss to become bowl eligible.

Ole Miss (2-8). Lame Duck Coach Nutt has two more chances to end his career at Ole Miss on a high note against LSU and Mississippi State. Their bowl game will be the Egg Bowl this year.

 

East

Florida (5-5) – The Gators should become bowl eligible Saturday when they face Furman out of the Southern Conference. They’ll end the regular season against Florida State.

Georgia (8-2). The Bulldogs control their own destiny in the East. With a win over Kentucky Saturday, the Dawgs’ will represent the East in the SEC Championship. They’ll close the season against Georgia Tech in two weeks.

Kentucky (4-6). Kentucky will have to win their two remaining games against Georgia and Tennessee to become bowl eligible.

South Carolina (8-2). The Gamecocks have two non-conference games remaining against The Citadel and Clemson. Their only shot at getting to Atlanta is if Kentucky upsets Georgia Saturday since they own the tie-breaker vs the Dawgs’.

Tennessee (4-6). The Vols have to win their final two games against Vanderbilt and Kentucky in order to become bowl eligible.

Vanderbilt (5-5). The ‘Dores has to win one of their two remaining games against Tennessee andWake Forest to reach the post-season.

 

The SEC has 9 bowl tie ins, but I don’t see them filling all of their slots this year. Here’s how I see it shaking out.

BCS National Championship Game – LSU (13-0)

Sugar  -Alabama (11-1)

Capital One -Arkansas (10-2)

Outback -Georgia (10-3)

Cotton -South Carolina (10-2)

Chick-Fil-A – Auburn (7-5)

Gator – Florida (6-6)

Liberty – No SEC Rep this year (Unless Mississippi State becomes bowl eligible, which I don’t think they will. They won’t beat Arkansas, and I think Houston has one more upset left in him at Ole Miss. )

Music City -Vanderbilt

BBVA Compass Bowl – No SEC Rep this year unless Tennessee wins out and becomes bowl eligible. Doubtful. I think Vandy will beat them Saturday by at least two touchdowns, ending their bowl hopes.

 

Here are the scenarios that will place Arkansas in the SEC Championship Game and National Championship.

First, the scenario’s that put the Hogs in the SEC Championship:

Scenario #1. Arkansas wins out. Bama loses to Auburn. In this scenario, Bama would have two losses knocking them out of contention for the SEC-West crown, while the Hogs and LSU would be tied and Arkansas would own the tie breaker.

Scenario #2. Arkansas wins out and ends up in a three way tie with Alabama and LSU in the West. In this scenario, the SEC-West Rep would be determined by the BCS rankings. Presuming all three teams are within 5 spots of each other in the BCS rankings (and, it’s a safe bet they will be), If LSU and Arkansas are the top two BCS ranked SEC-West teams (no matter which order), Arkansas will go to Atlanta.. If Alabama and Arkansas are the top two ranked BCS teams (again, regardless of their order), Alabama will win the west.

Scenario 3: (Which is the least likely) LSU loses to Ole Miss AND Arkansas.. Bama loses to Auburn. Hogs win SEC-West outright with a 7-1 conference record.

 

To get to the National Championship, the Hogs need to first get to Atlanta and win the SEC. Then, it’s a crap shoot really. But, with two quality wins to end the season, I like the Hogs chances of getting to New Orleans for the big game should they win out and win the SEC. OSU and Oklahoma still play each other, knocking one of them out of contention for the NC. Arkansas should jump over LSU with a win over them and then a win in the SEC-CG. Oregon’s strength of schedule will DROP if Arkansas beats LSU. Not to mention,  historically, the team that wins the SEC with one loss or undefeated has the inside track on playing for the National Conference.

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