Most notably, Alabama losing to Ohio State by a 42-35 margin in the Sugar Bowl, the SEC managed only a 7-5 record in bowl games. The top five teams in the West all lost their games with the states of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana providing that 0-5 worksheet. Surprisingly, all five teams in the SEC Eastern Division were bowl winners.
The SEC had 12 teams in bowl games, which must have been too much for the APP selection panel to process. To get to the bottom line:
The APP was only 5-7 just in picking the winning team. By a miracle, even with that miserable performance, the APP was the same in picking against the point spread, 5-7. And not much solace can be taken from the APP being 7-5 on the over/under number of points. That made the gambling opportunities even at 12-12.
In our feature miss, the APP panel had selected the Crimson Tide to defeat the Buckeyes by 35-17. There is no extra credit for hitting the Bama score on the button, because Ohio State scored 42. Bama had been a 9-point favorite and the under/over had been set at 58, so that game was an 0-3 for the APP – missing the winner, missing the point spread, and missing the over/under.
In addition to missing the Alabama winner, the APP was wrong on:
LSU vs. Notre Dame – Although we are convinced the officials took a touchdown away from the Tigers, the final score in the Music City Bowl is Notre Dame 31, LSU 28, and the pick had been LSU 35, Irish 24.
Mississippi State vs. Georgia Tech – Every time the APP looks back on a pick of Mississippi State to win a big game, the APP gives itself a dope slap. The Orange Bowl pick had been Bulldogs 38, Georgia Tech 21. The Yellow Jackets stung MSU by 49-34. To be fair, Mississippi State coaches probably did not know that Tech ran a triple option offense.
Auburn vs. Wisconsin – Doink! The APP feels sure its pick of Auburn 59, Wisconsin 55 had a chance to be accurate except for a missed Auburn field goal off the up right in overtime in the Outback Bowl. Wisconsin was a 34-31 winner.
Florida vs. East Carolina – Although there was no question Florida brought better players to the Birmingham Bowl, there were two many side issues (Muschamp gone, Gators probably not thrilled about being in Birmingham, East Carolina wanting a win over an SEC team so much) that the APP went with the upset, East Carolina 24, Florida 21. The Gators took at 28-20 win.
This won’t take long. Here are the APP winners:
Georgia vs. Louisville – The Bulldogs got it going for the SEC East in the Belk Bowl with a 37-14 win. The pick had been Georgia by 31-17.
Missouri vs. Minnesota – Some thought Missouri didn’t get enough credit. The pick of Tigers 28, Minnesota 14 in the Citrus Bowl was based more on thinking Minnesota got too much. It was Missouri 33, Gophers 17.
So for the year, the APP was 96-28 in picking the winning teams in SEC games, but only 112-88 in gambling opportunities.
The APP panel joins the Crimson Tide in pledging, “Wait ‘til next year”!