As of the publication of this post, the Southeastern Conference is 1-4 in bowl games this season. Does that matter to you? Are you worried about the SEC’s overall record in postseason play? Will you be concerned if the SEC isn’t the conference with the best bowl record? The SEC is often the poster-child for conference unity. Does it matter to you, a fan of one of the conference’s teams, how the rest of the group fares in their bowl games?
Let’s say that you are a person that is concerned by these things. Do you think that the conference has a decent shot at picking up that slack once some of the other bowl games kick off? It is important to note that those five SEC teams that have already played don’t represent half of the 12 SEC teams that are going bowling this year. And, as is generally the case, the bowl season kicks off with “lesser” bowls featuring “lesser” opponents. You’re finding early bowls in places like Birmingham, Shreveport, and Memphis, with teams with five, six, or even seven (!) losses participating in them.
You may have already heard the refrains about the SEC being down this season, both during the year and again now given their currently posted bowl record. For comparison, among Power 5 conferences, presently the ACC is 5-1, the Big 10 is 2-2, the Pac 12 is 1-2, and the Big 12 is 3-1. Last year, the SEC finished first among the conferences with an 8-2 record in bowl games.
It was (seven-loss) Mississippi State that placed the only win in the SEC’s bowl record column so far this season. They were the first conference member to play in a bowl, and they won by the slightest of margins. A blocked field goal at the gun let the Bulldogs hold on to their 17-16 win over Miami (Ohio) in the St. Petersburg Bowl. Vanderbilt, making their first bowl appearance under head coach Derek Mason, were thoroughly outplayed by NC State, losing to the Wolfpack 41-17 in the Camping World Independence Bowl. Despite ending their season with signs of life on offense and surprising wins over Ole Miss and Tennessee, the Commodores fell flat.
Texas A&M fell 33-28 to Kansas State in the Advocare V100 Texas Bowl. Arkansas went up early in the Belk Bowl, jumping up to a 24-0 half time lead, before allowing Virginia Tech to roar back in the second half with 35 unanswered points, giving the Hokies the win.
Next up on the chopping block, the South Carolina Gamecocks, coached by one Will Muschamp, who lost in overtime to South Florida, 46-39. I will note a few things about the Birmingham Bowl, namely that the 11-win Bulls are a good team and that a Will Muschamp quarterback set Birmingham Bowl records. Freshman QB Jake Bentley was 32-for-43 for 390 yards.
And as I am typing this, Georgia is playing TCU in the Autozone Liberty Bowl. In a few hours, Nebraska and Tennessee will kick off in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl. New Year’s Eve sees three SEC teams taking the field - LSU against Louisville in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl, Kentucky meeting Georgia Tech in the Taxslayer Bowl, and of course, No. 1 undefeated Alabama, very possibly the nation’s best team, in the playoff semifinal Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl against Washington.
Two more SEC teams will still take the field after tomorrow’s games (and Alabama could potentially do so as well, for a win over the Huskies puts the Crimson Tide back in the national championship game). Florida’s Outback Bowl contest with Iowa takes place on Monday, January 2, at 1:00 p.m., and Auburn and Oklahoma will play in the Allstate Sugar Bowl that same evening at 8:30 p.m.
So, I ask you, are you at all concerned about the conference’s current 1-4 postseason record? Does the SEC’s record in bowls even matter to you? (One could also ask, whether most bowl games even matter at all?) If so, do you think that some of the SEC’s teams that have yet to play will fare favorably in their match-ups and put some marks in the win column for the conference? Will you be rooting for the SEC team to win in each bowl game in which one appears? Tell us in the comments!