The SEC could get thumped during bowl season; here’s the breakdown

Mississippi State defensive lineman A.J. Jefferson (47) and quarterback Nick Fitzgerald (7) kiss the "Golden Trophy" as they celebrate their 55-20 win over Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl in Oxford, Nov. 26, 2016.
Mississippi State defensive lineman A.J. Jefferson (47) and quarterback Nick Fitzgerald (7) kiss the "Golden Trophy" as they celebrate their 55-20 win over Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl in Oxford, Nov. 26, 2016. AP

Don’t be surprised if Alabama is left to carry the reputation of the Southeastern Conference this bowl season.

A year ago the SEC set a NCAA record with nine combined bowl victories with Alabama (2x), Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Tennessee all winning. That total, of course, counts Alabama’s national championship in the post-season wins column.

Don’t expect any such repeat this year.

While the SEC has 13 potential games — should Alabama knock off Washington in the College Football Playoff semifinal (Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl) and advance to the national championship game — the league will fall well short of last year’s mark, punctuating what has been a rather underwhelming year for the supposed best league in college football.

Lets start at the top: Alabama will repeat, and it won’t be close. The Tide annihilated the competition weekly during the regular season and won’t mix things up now. Go ahead and send condolences to Washington and whoever advances out of Ohio State and Clemson.

SEC West

The rest of the SEC West pairs up against Miami (Ohio), Kansas State, Virginia Tech, Louisville and Oklahoma. Expect the group to go 2-3.

Mississippi State (-14) is probably the best lock of the West and should roll Miami (Ohio) in the St. Petersburg Bowl. Granted the RedHawks went from 0-6 to 6-6, but the Bulldogs are riding high after an electric Egg Bowl experience. Don’t be surprised if MSU QB Nick Fitzgerald winds up on SportsCenter yet again after carving up the other Miami 34-14.

The other West win comes from Texas A&M. The Aggies were a better team than they showed with their 2-4 finish. K-State has dropped seven of its past eight bowl games and the Aggies (-2) — with Myles Garrett announcing he WILL play — will win 42-35.

Other West predictions: Virginia Tech (-6) 44, Arkansas 25; Louisville 38, LSU (-3) 21; Oklahoma (-5) 35, Auburn 31.

SEC East

The East’s matchups don’t look a lot better against N.C. State, South Florida, TCU, Nebraska, Georgia Tech and Iowa.

Vanderbilt (-4) may be the underdog against N.C. State heading into the Independence Bowl, but I like how the Commodores closed the season. Derek Mason will pick up his first bowl victory with a 28-24 win over the Wolfpack.

Georgia-TCU may be the most intriguing matchup out of the East, if only for the fact that both teams were wildly inconsistent this year. UGA (-1) wins 32-21.

Other EAST predictions: South Florida (-10 1/2) 38, South Carolina 14; Nebraska 35, Tennessee (-3) 28; Georgia Tech (-5) 28, Kentucky 24; Iowa 40, Florida (-2) 28.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs

Bowl schedule

Date, Time (TV)



Dec. 26, 10 a.m. (ESPN)

St. Petersburg Bowl

Miami (Ohio) v. Mississippi State

Dec. 26, 4 a.m. (ESPN2)

Camping World Independence Bowl

N.C. State v. Vanderbilt

Dec. 28, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl

Texas A&M v. Kansas State

Dec. 29, 1 p.m. (ESPN)

Birmingham Bay

USF v. South Carolina

Dec. 29, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Belk Bowl

Arkansas v. Virginia Tech

Dec. 30, 11 a.m. (ESPN)

AutoZone Libery Bowl

Georgia v. TCU

Dec. 30, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl

Nebraska v. Tennessee

Dec. 31, 10 a.m. (ABC)

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl

LSU v. Louisville

Dec. 31, 10 a.m. (ESPN)

TaxSlayer Bowl

Georgia Tech v. Kentucky

Dec. 31, 2 p.m. (ESPN)

CFP Semifinal; Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

Washington v. Alabama

Jan. 2, noon (ABC)

Outback Bowl

Florida v. Iowa

Jan. 2, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Allstate Sugar Bowl

Auburn v. Oklahoma

Jan. 9, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)

College Football Playoff National Championship

Washington/Alabama v. Ohio State/Clemson