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July 23, 2013

SEC Bowl Picture in 2014

Playoff Bowl Rotation:
2014: Rose, Sugar
2015: Orange, Cotton
2016: Peach, Fiesta

They'll rotate on that schedule. Below, I'll address what those bowls will do when they aren't in the playoff rotation.

Sugar (when not hosting playoffs): Highest ranked SEC team not in the playoffs vs. highest ranked BigXII team not in the playoffs.
Orange (when not hosting playoffs): SEC is in a pool with the Big10 and Notre Dame, to play the highest ranked ACC team not in the playoffs.
Capital One: First selection for the SEC teams left vs. Big10 (or ACC if a Big10 team goes to the Orange Bowl).

The bowls below will have an SEC team slotted, as decided by the league office. Yes, you got that right. Instead of "helping" bowls decide who they will select, the conference will actually select the teams for the bowls. Records won't matter as much as geography and match ups.

AutoZone Liberty: SEC vs. Big XII
Belk: SEC vs. ACC
Franklin American Mortgage Music City: SEC vs. ACC or Big Ten
Outback: SEC vs. Big Ten Gator: SEC vs. ACC or Big Ten
Texas: SEC vs. Big XII

The SEC made a grab for bowls in NFL stadiums in their footprint. And Memphis. A couple of points:
  • In years the Peach and Cotton don't host semi-finals, they get to pick from a number of teams, including non-playoff competitors and others. Conceivably, in years the Sugar is hosting the playoffs, you could see both of those bowls fighting over the second or third SEC team. In reality, I'd bet on a gentleman's agreement that SEC East teams play in Atlanta and SEC West teams play in Dallas.
  • In an average year, the SEC will face three BigXII teams, three ACC teams and two Big Ten teams, outside of the playoffs. Meh.
  • Why in the blue blazes aren't we looking at playing in a new locale? Hello, Las Vegas? Can you imagine a bowl game there?
  • And Memphis? Just a weird grouping there. I'm not excited about Charlotte, but that makes sense in the context of the NFL stadium. I'm guessing AutoZone put up big $$$ to get them into the pool picks.
  • I'm starting to think the SEC is afraid to play the Pac-12. I wouldn't want to look at the Sun Bowl, but San Diego? Hell, even the Outback would be more interesting if we were facing someone beside a team we've probably already played three times in 12 years. I know neither conference wants to go too far from home without a compelling reason to do so. I vote Las Vegas.
A couple of bowls with traditional SEC tie ins aren't in the pool and haven't been mentioned. The Advocare and BBVA bowls are still in the running for SEC teams.  Advocare is contracted this year to get an SEC vs. ACC match, if one is available. the BBVA is owned by ESPN and plays about three miles from SEC headquarters. IF there is an odd man out, it won't be the BBVA. In reality, I'd expect both to end up with contracts to take SEC teams in 2014 and beyond, if available. In reality, it is hard to see a scenario where those two would have more than two teams to pick from and it is more likely both will get shut out at least half the years. 
Overall, I think this is an unambitious exercise. For fun, tonight I'll look at who would have played in these bowls if we'd been doing this in 2012.


See also:
Bowling, 2014-2000


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