Stuart McNair

Alabama is expected to land in Peach Bowl as CFP top seed

In so-called down year, SEC may have 12 teams in bowl games

Beyond a Southeastern Conference team being selected for the College Football Playoff, the SEC has agreements with 11 other bowls, including the Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl games if they qualify. The SEC, however, will not have a team participating in the Orange Bowl.

This year – in what is universally considered a down year for the conference (except for Alabama) -- the SEC has 11 bowl eligible teams and one of them – Alabama – will be in the College Football Playoff, probably as the No. 1 seed and playing in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta against the No. 4 seed on Dec. 31. The Crimson Tide of Coach Nick Saban has been so dominant as the nation’s No. 1 team this year there is speculation Bama could survive an unlikely loss to Florida in this week’s SEC Championship Game and still be the No. 1 seed.

The Peach Bowl in the Georgia Dome will be televised on ESPN at a time to be determined. The other CFP game will be played in the Fiesta Bowl, also on Dec. 31.

Alabama is ranked first in the nation with a 12-0 record and will play Florida (8-3) Saturday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta in the SEC Championship Game at 4 p.m. EST (3 p.m. central time).

Bowl destinations will be announced following conference championship games this weekend and the Sunday pronouncement of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee.

There is an outside chance that Mississippi State could play for a bowl with its 5-7 record and (believe it or not) a qualifying Academic Progress Report. If so, it is expected to play in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 17, according to CollegeFootballNews.com .

Otherwise, here are the bowl games in which the SEC has agreements to provide a team:

For the third consecutive year, Auburn (8-4) lost games to its two main rivals in the last three weeks of regular season play, but in a terrible season for SEC teams the Tigers are likely to back into the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 2 vs. a Big 12 team.

Florida (8-3 before the SEC title game) is expected to play in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando on Dec. 31 against a team from the Big Ten.

LSU (7-4) could be the SEC representative in the Outback Bowl in Tampa on Jan. 2 against a Big Ten team.

Tennessee (8-4) just finished its season with a loss at the hands of Vanderbilt in Nashville, and the Vols will return to Nashville for the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30 against either and ACC or Big Ten opponent.

The Taxslayer Bowl, which almost everyone knows better as the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, could host Georgia (7-5) against a team from either the ACC or Big Ten on Dec. 31.

Arkansas (7-5) will go into the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 30 in Memphis against a team from the Big 12.

Texas A&M (8-4) will travel an hour or so down the road to Houston to play in the Texas Bowl on Dec. 28 against a Big 12 opponent.

Kentucky (7-5) will head to basketball country to play in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte on Dec. 29 against an ACC team – probably one best known for its basketball…too.

The Birmingham Bowl on Dec. 29 will get a team that is more than happy to be there, because the Vanderbilt Commodores (6-6) got bowl eligible with its win over in-state rival Tennessee on the final day of regular season play. The game will be played Dec. 29 against a team from the American Athletic Conference.

South Carolina (6-6) has a reputation for its fans being great to follow the team. They will follow the Gamecocks to Shreveport for the Independence Bowl on Dec. 26 against an ACC opponent.


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