The SEC Has 10 Teams in Bowl Games, But Who Are They Playing?
10 SEC teams made bowl games this year. While the landscapes of bowl season are ever-changing, as seen with the withdrawal of Tennessee from the Liberty Bowl yesterday and South Carolina's withdrawal today, these matchups are all subject to change. Still, some of the bowl matchups featuring SEC teams are among the most intriguing of the postseason.
Here are the Bowl Games to look out for if you're a fan of the SEC:
Transperfect Music City Bowl- No. 15 Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Missouri Tigers:
The Iowa Hawkeyes (6-2, 6-2) will be meeting the Missouri Tigers (5-5, 5-5) in Nashville for the Music City Bowl. Mizzou started off with two tough losses to Alabama and Tennessee, but then slowly started to find their stride. Although all of their wins were against ranked teams, the Tigers still put up a fight.
Iowa, on the other hand, is riding a six-game win streak. This includes wins against usual-powerhouses Penn State and Wisconsin. Their defense has been tough- the Hawkeyes haven’t allowed more than 21 points all season.
This game will kick off at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, December 30th, and will be televised on ESPN.
Goodyear Cotton Bowl (New Year’s Six)- No. 7 Florida Gators vs. No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners:
This game is arguably the best of the games featuring SEC teams. Florida (8-3, 8-2) is coming off a very narrow loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship. The loss to LSU two weeks ago might make you think that this Gators team won’t be able to challenge Oklahoma, but the high-powered Gators offense will poke holes in the Sooners’ defense.
On the other sideline, the Oklahoma Sooners (8-2, 6-2) know how to light up the scoreboard, as well. The Big 12 Champions racked up over 40 points in five of their games. Expect this game to be all offense.
The Cotton Bowl will be televised on ESPN on December 30th as well, and it will kick off at 7 p.m from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl- No. 24 Tulsa Golden Hurricanes vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs:
The Armed Forces Bowl will be featuring a Mississippi State (3-7, 3-7) team that has had a confusing year, to say the least. The Bulldogs started 2020 with a surprise upset over defending national champion LSU. They then struggled through the four next games by never scoring more than 14 points.
Tulsa (6-2, 6-0) has been on the verge of something great all year. The Golden Hurricanes dropped a close one to a then-elite Oklahoma State to start the year, and then they went on to win six games in a row, including two ranked wins against UCF and SMU. Tulsa ended the season losing a close AAC Championship game to Cincinnati.
Mississippi State wouldn’t make a bowl game under normal circumstances, and this game will surely prove it with a decisive Tulsa win.
The Armed Forces Bowl will be played at 11 a.m. on New Year’s Eve. It will be televised on ESPN.
Mercari Texas Bowl- Arkansas Razorbacks vs. TCU Horned Frogs:
The Texas Bowl in year’s past has been a can’t-miss-game. Hopefully, this game will live up to the hype of previous matchups. Overall, the Razorbacks own this series with 44 wins to TCU’s 24.
This year, however; TCU might have the upper hand. The Horned Frogs have two ranked wins this year- No. 9 Texas and No. 15 Oklahoma State, and their offense has averaged just under 31 points a game.
The Texas Bowl will be in the primetime spot of 7 p.m. on New Year’s Eve on ESPN from NRG Stadium in Houston.
Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl (New Year’s Six)- No. 9 Georgia Bulldogs vs. No. 8 Cincinnati Bearcats:
Not only will the Bulldogs be in a New Year’s Six bowl game, but they will be the first of three SEC teams to play on New Year’s Day.
Georgia (7-2, 7-2) came up short against Alabama and Florida, but otherwise, the Bulldogs have looked pretty solid. Early quarterback trouble has now been replaced by J.T. Daniels, who was expected to start the year.
As for Cincy (9-0, 6-0), the Bearcats are out for blood. Media pundits across the country believe that this undefeated Cincy team deserved a playoff spot, and much like the 2017 UCF team, they will get a chance to show the country that they belong with this game.
The Peach Bowl will kick off from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta at 11 a.m. on New Year’s Day. It will be televised on ESPN.
Vrbo Citrus Bowl- Auburn Tigers vs. No. 14 Northwestern Wildcats:
When I started this article, I was expecting to continue with the storyline that the Auburn Tigers are in a stage of limbo. They have reached out to several different candidates, who have all declined, and the culture of the program seems to be in jeopardy.
This changed about 5 p.m. on Tuesday with the news that Auburn is expected to hire Boise State coach Bryan Harsin. Still, Auburn might be in trouble here.
Northwestern is the latest Big Ten team to have a miracle season, and to be frank- their team is good. They stayed relatively close with Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship but ended up losing. That and their loss to Michigan State are the only blemishes on their schedule.
This should be an even, defensive game if Auburn comes to play, but if not, the Wildcats might run wild.
The Citrus Bowl has a kickoff time of noon on New Year’s Day and will be televised on ABC.
Rose Bowl Game Presented by Captial One (CFP Semifinal)- No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide:
For the seventh year in a row, the SEC will have a team in the CFP Playoffs. To nobody’s surprise, it is the Alabama Crimson Tide (11-0, 10-0) who have dominated the conference schedule.
While many Crimson Tide fans are overlooking this game and expecting a National Championship rematch with Clemson, this playoff game might not be a walk in the park.
With the loss of Landon Dickerson, with only 13 days in between the SEC Championship and the semifinal, the offensive line might be a slight problem. Even though the line is a finalist for the Joe Moore Award, Dickerson was the heart and soul of the offensive line.
Notre Dame would be smart to expose this loss and blitz their interior linemen to pressure Alabama quarterback Mac Jones.
The Rose Bowl is the first of the two semifinals, and it will kick off at 3 p.m. on New Year’s Day on ESPN. While the Rose Bowl usually is played in Pasadena, California, COVID-19 protocol in California has moved the game to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Additional coverage of the Rose Bowl game will be featured right here on Tide 100.9.
TaxSlayer Gator Bowl- No. 23 North Carolina State Wolfpack vs. Kentucky Wildcats:
In the four ranked games that NC State (8-3, 7-3) played, the Wolfpack went 2-3. Losses against Virginia Tech, North Carolina, and Miami tanked their chances at a conference championship, but tight wins against Pitt and Liberty slightly boosted NC State back into a top 25 ranking.
Kentucky(4-6, 4-6), like NC State, has been relatively good in the past few years, but 2020 has been rough for the Wildcats. They had three New Year’s Six teams on their schedule and lost to all three by an average of around 32 points.
The Wildcats have talent and can be good in the future, so a victory over a ranked ACC opponent could set a winning precedent for Kentucky in 2021.
The Gator Bowl will kick off at 11 a.m. on Saturday, January 2nd. It will be played at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida, and will be televised on ESPN.
Outback Bowl- Ole Miss Rebels vs. No. 11 Indiana Hoosiers:
This game is very similar to the Citrus Bowl matchup between Auburn and Northwestern. Ole Miss (4-5, 4-5) is a team that is only starting to find its identity, now under Coach Lane Kiffin, but the Rebels have still struggled against teams they should have beaten. Outlier games like the loss to Alabama show that Ole Miss is capable of an explosive offense.
Indiana (6-1, 6-1), usually a cellar dweller in the Big Ten, is having a record year. Unfortunately for the Hoosiers, starting quarterback Michael Penix Jr. got injured halfway through the season which ended any real national championship talk.
An Ole Miss Outback Bowl win will ensure that Rebel fans can look forward to growth during the Kiffin dynasty, while a Hoosier victory could top off a great year and secure some attention going into 2021.
The Outback Bowl will kick off at Raymond-James Stadium in Tampa, Florida at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 2nd. It will be televised on ABC.
Capital One Orange Bowl (New Year’s Six)- No. 5 Texas A&M Aggies vs. No. 13 North Carolina Tar Heels:
The Aggies of Texas A&M (8-1, 8-1), much like Cincinnati, are entering the bowl season frustrated. Barring a Week 2 loss to Alabama, Texas A&M has been perfect. When the final rankings came out on Sunday, many pundits believed that the Aggies could slip into the final four due to the poor performance by Notre Dame in the ACC title game.
This did not happen.
Instead, A&M, the third-place team in the SEC, will be facing the Tar Heels (8-3, 7-3) to show they deserved to be in the playoff.
North Carolina has been good this season, but losses to Florida State, Virginia, and Notre Dame have set the team back. Impressive victories over Virginia Tech, NC State, Miami kept North Carolina in contention for this "New Year’s Six" game.
This will surely be a great game full of high powered offense on both sides. It will kick off at 7 p.m. on January 2nd from Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. It will be televised on ESPN.
**Note: Tennessee was scheduled to take on West Virginia in the Liberty Bowl, but due to COVID-19 issues in Knoxville, the Volunteers will be skipping this game. The same will be happening with the South Carolina Gamecocks, who were supposed to play in the Gasparilla Bowl against UAB.