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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bowl Projections (12/1)

Reading some very blurry tea leaves...

BCS Championship Game
Details: Jan. 7, 8 p.m, Pasadena, Calif., ABC
Prediction: Alabama vs. Texas

Sugar Bowl
Details: Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m., New Orleans, La., FOX
Prediction: Florida vs. Cincinnati

Capital One Bowl
Details: Jan. 1, 1 p.m., Orlando, Fla., vs. Big Ten #2, ABC
Prediction: LSU vs. Penn State

Outback Bowl
Details: Jan. 1, 11 a.m., Tampa, Fla., vs. Big Ten #3, ESPN
Prediction: Tenessee vs. Wisconsin

Cotton Bowl
Details: Jan. 2, 2 p.m., Dallas, vs. Big 12, Big 12 #2, FOX
Prediction: Ole Miss vs. Oklahoma State

Chick-fil-A Bowl
Details: Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m., Atlanta, vs. ACC #2, ESPN
Prediction: Georgia vs. Clemson

Music City Bowl
Details: Dec. 27, 8:30 p.m., Nashville, Tenn., vs. ACC #6, ESPN
Prediction: South Carolina vs. North Carolina

Liberty Bowl
Details: Jan. 2, 5 p.m., Memphis, Tenn., vs. C-USA #1, ESPN
Prediction: Arkansas vs. Houston

Independence Bowl
Details: Dec. 28, 5 p.m., Shreveport, La., vs. Big 12 #7, ESPN2
Prediction: Kentucky vs. Texas A&M

PapaJohns.com Bowl
Details: Jan. 2, 2 p.m., Birmingham, Ala., vs. Big East #5/6, ESPN
Prediction: Auburn vs. Connecticut

I think four bowls are virtually set: Alabama and Florida are headed to the BCS, LSU is headed to the Capital One and Tennessee is headed to the Outback. I'll be pretty surprised if any of those work out differently.

The Cotton Bowl should go to Ole Miss, but there are two other factors at play. First, Ole Miss went to Dallas last season, so it's possible the Cotton could want to look elsewhere. Second, while Jerry Jones isn't going to make any real decisions about who plays in his building, he is an Arkansas grad, so he may voice a few opinions in the Hogs' favor.

If things go according to plan and Ole Miss head to the Cotton and Georgia Tech wins the ACC championship game, I'd say it's almost a lock that Georgia will go to the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The matchup against Clemson (as the ACC's No. 2) would be a very attractive one and would sell quickly.

(Note: I've seen a handful of projections with Virginia Tech going to the CFA, but I just don't see that happening. Tech has already traveled to Atlanta twice this year -- vs. Alabama and vs. Georgia Tech. I can't see a lot of Hokie fans wanting to make a third trip.)

What could throw a wrench into those plans? Well, for one, if the Cotton passes over Ole Miss, the CFA could take the Rebels over Georgia (or possibly the Outback could take Ole Miss, leaving the CFA to take Tennessee). The other possibility is that Clemson beats Tech in the ACC title game, and the CFA would be highly unlikely to create a rematch between UGA and GT. So once again, Georgia's bowl future is partially in the Jackets' hands.

If either of the above two scenarios play out, then we have chaos. With six teams at 7-5, it's really anybody's guess how things shake out.

Kentucky has wrapped up in the state of Tennessee the past three years -- two trips to Nashville and one to Memphis. The Cats are also unlikely to end up in Birmingham because the UK hoops team also plays Jan. 2, and I can't see a lot of Kentucky fans traveling to watch a bottom-tier football game when there's action going on at Rupp Arena. So Kentucky seems like a logical choice for Shreveport.

The potential for Arkansas-Houston in the Liberty Bowl has to be appealing because it would no doubt include some serious offensive fireworks.

South Carolina would be a likely choice for the Music City, particularly if it would pit the Gamecocks against a border team like North Carolina or potentially have Steve Spurrier face off against Bobby Bowden in what sounds like it could be Bowden's final game (assuming he coaches the bowl game, which is questionable).

If Georgia ends up bumped from the Chick-fil-A, the Music City is a possibility, and a Mark Richt vs. Florida State matchup would be intriguing, too.

There's an outside shot that Georgia could still slip to Shreveport or Memphis, but I think both are unlikely at this point. I'd be shocked if they ended up in Birmingham.

Auburn seems like an obvious PapaJohns.com selection, but I could see the SEC wanting them elsewhere -- Memphis? Nashville? -- because few Tigers fans would spend any cash on a hotel, etc. in Birmingham.

Again, all of this is really guesswork at this point because with so many teams mashed together in the middle of the pack, no one really stands out above another.

* UPDATE: Here's the problem with writing things like this at this time of year... what's reasonable at 8 a.m. is off the table by 3. Georgia Sports Blog has the updates.

7 comments:

Matt said...

Could Georgia play Miami?

George said...

One thing to consider about the Cotton bypassing Ole Miss and choosing Arkansas based on Jera's influence is that Arkansas has already played in the new Cowboys Stadium this year; October 3, a 47-19 victory over Texas A&M. Just something to consider. That may make Jera less likely to assert his voice on the Hogs.

Plus, I thought I read earlier in the week that Houston Nutt came out and stated that his team was going to the Cotton. Was that a premature report?

Sandfly, GA said...

ESPN reports that Ole Miss and Oklahoma State will in fact play in the Cotton Bowl, citing "a source close to the game."

Anonymous said...

Would be interesting to see if UGA could repeat their physically dominant performance against another top ACC team. My guess is yes but it all depends on the coaching / mindset of the team.

Anonymous said...

REJOICE GA DAWG FANS, NEXT YEAR NUMBER 34 WILL BE BACK I.E. #3 EALEY AND #4 KING.

jadams41418 said...

The Outback is going to take AUBURN and leave Tennessee for the CFA. UGA will end up in Nashville.

http://blog.al.com/auburnbeat/2009/12/auburn_to_outback_bowl_in_tamp.html

dawgjammin said...

How the hell does auburn get the outback bowl?

They went 3-5 in conference and 7-5 on the year. They officially finished 5th in the SEC West. Of their 7 wins 4 were against LaTech, Ball State, Furman and Miss St. Their best win is against an 8-3 West Va team. And they finished the year losing 5 of their last 7 games (furman being one of the two wins). WTF????

I'm not saying UGA deserves to be in this game, but Auburn is probably the least deserving SEC team of a New Years Day bowl...