VETTEL: Gators Need To Cheer For LSU, Bama

I have two words for those of you who want to see the Gators avoid the Independence Bowl in Shreveport or the Music City Bowl in Nashville.


And if you want to have more to say on the topic, I have two more for you.


If Alabama beats Auburn the Crimson Tide will likely get one of the two at-large berths into the BCS games. That would bump all other SEC post-season contenders up a notch and improve Florida's bowl prospects considerably.

Of course that only works if the LSU Tigers advance to the SEC Championship game by beating Ole Miss Saturday and Arkansas the following week. That combination of results will give the SEC two spots in the BCS. Should Auburn beat Bama, it is unlikely the BCS would pass on a 10-1 Virginia Tech for a 9-2 Auburn --- though not impossible.

SEC Could Have Six VERY Attractive Teams

I know the citizens of Gator Nation are wearing black armbands today after Saturday's poor showing in Columbia but there's plenty left out there for the Gators. Should Florida beat FSU and South Carolina take out Clemson, the SEC will have six top twenty teams heading into post-season play. That creates great opportunities for the bowls with SEC tie-ins.

Last year the #6 pick out of the SEC was Alabama. The Crimson Tide took at 6-5 record and two-game losing streak up to Nashville for the Music City Bowl and proceeded to lose to Minnesota. This year the # 6 pick in the SEC could be an 8-3 Florida or South Carolina. Each team would be entering the post-season with a first-year coach that has his program on an up-tick.

As far as which team gets which bid, the key factor is the aforementioned second slot for the SEC in the BCS. Let's see how that might play out, assuming LSU beats Georgia in the SEC Title game and Alabama wins its game with Auburn. And let's also assume Florida, South Carolina and Georgia win their in-state rivalry games.

The Rose Bowl would have Texas and Southern Cal. The Fiesta Bowl, having lost Texas has first choice of the other and would choose Notre Dame or Penn State. The Sugar gets the SEC Champ and the Orange gets the ACC Champ, probably Miami. The Fiesta takes Alabama, the Sugar grabs whoever is left from Notre Dame and Penn State and the Orange ends up with the dog of this year's group, Big Least Champ West Virginia.

That scenario sends Auburn to the Capital One Bowl in Orlando and South Carolina to the Outback in Tampa. The Peach Bowl snags Georgia to play Clemson and the Cotton Bowl gets the Gators against either Texas Tech or Oklahoma. Remember the choices for the Outback, Cotton and Peach are more of a collaborative effort than a "pecking order".

The Peach Bowl takes Georgia because they had the Gators last year and don't need to fill hotels since the Sugar Bowl is coming to town as well.

UF Options If SEC Gets Just One BCS Bid

Should the SEC get only one BCS bid, then the options diminish significantly for the Gators. Auburn would get the trip to Orlando while Bama goes to Dallas. The Outback Bowl can grab South Carolina and the SEC Title game loser might be returning to Atlanta. That plan would send the Gators to Nashville perhaps to play Wisconsin.

Late Season Games Will Matter

There's no question a number of late-season games in and out of the SEC could shake this all up significantly. Florida and South Carolina play FSU and Clemson respectively and wins mean 8-3 records and a real positive push into the bowl season. A loss for either/both diminishes their attractiveness, especially where Florida is concerned.

Georgia has to beat Kentucky to win the SEC East, but I'm not even looking at the scenarios if they don't. But assuming the Bulldogs do win, they still have to deal with Georgia Tech. A loss there and in the SEC Title game makes Georgia a team many bowls would want no part of. LSU still has to take care of Ole Miss and Arkansas.

The Gators outlook for the bowl season could change significantly after next Saturday's results, but for now this much is pretty clear. If Alabama beats Auburn, the Gators could be Cotton-Bowl bound. If not, Music City is more likely. One thing to keep in mind as well; should the Gators fall to FSU and Tennessee win out, it wouldn't be a complete shock to see the Music City guarantee itself a sellout by snatching Tennessee, which means Shreveport cannot yet be ruled out.

Now you really love the Crimson Tide, dontcha?

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