SEC Bowl projections

Heading into the final week of the season, the bowl picture for the SEC is as fuzzy now as it was three months ago. With eight teams currently bowl eligible, six of the eight could be as high as the BCS to as low as the Gator Bowl. Who's going where? Where is South Carolina likely headed?

With just one week remaining in the 2012 season, the SEC bowl mix is as muddy as it was in August. For South Carolina, they could find themselves anywhere from a BCS bid to the Gator Bowl, the conference's sixth bowl selection. What are the scenarios?

BCS – It's almost a given that the SEC will get two teams into the BCS, regardless of whether or not they play in the National Championship. Assuming Alabama beats Auburn and Georgia beats Georgia Tech, the winner of next week's SEC Championship will be heading to Miami to play for a National Championship.

My projection: Alabama in BCS Title game

Sugar Bowl – Assuming the winner of the Bama/Georgia game goes to the BCS title game, the Sugar Bowl will get the first shot. There are five teams that have a shot at earning that BCS bid; Georgia, Florida, LSU, Texas A&M, and South Carolina. Georgia would be unlikely to earn a bid coming off of a loss. Florida would get passed by if they lose to Florida State, and could get passed by regardless with a horrendous offense. LSU is a possibility, but would the Sugar Bowl take a team in their backyard? Prior to A&M's win over Alabama, the Sugar Bowl would have taken Carolina in a heartbeat. With Manziel-mania sweeping the nation, they could be the favorite if they take care of business against Missouri.

My projection: Texas A&M

Capital One Bowl– The Capital One Bowl gets the first choice after the BCS. They must take the team with the best overall record in the conference or a team with one less win. Again, that would leave any of the other four after the two BCS picks. This bowl seems to be a two-horse race; Georgia and LSU. Would the Cap One take a team that is coming off a loss to Bama or an LSU team that has been a disappointment to their fans? Both teams travel well.

My projection: Georgia

Cotton/Outback Bowl – The Cotton Bowl and Outback Bowl share the next choice, with the Cotton generally taking a team from the West and the Outback taking a team from the East. If Georgia heads to the Capital One Bowl, LSU is a shoe-in for the Cotton. The Outback Bowl could take Carolina, but it will come down to the Gamecocks and Florida. The Outback Bowl loves Florida and there is still a sore spot from Carolina's last visit to Tampa against Iowa.

My projection: LSU (Cotton), Florida (Outback)

Chick-fil-A Bowl – This is where things get interesting. The Chick-fil-A Bowl gets the fifth pick with the SEC. They would obviously love to see a Carolina team sitting there, however, they may not be able to take the Gamecocks. If Carolina beats Clemson, the Chick-fil-A Bowl would almost have to take the Tigers over Georgia Tech. In this situation, a victory for Carolina could actually hurt its bowl chances. However, even if Clemson beats Carolina, if they don't earn a BCS berth then they will be headed to Atlanta.

My projection: Mississippi State

Gator Bowl – Right now it appears that a potential 10-win team in South Carolina could drop all the way to sixth in the bowl pecking order. The Gator Bowl would certainly be thrilled to take South Carolina, although Gamecock fans may not be too thrilled about playing a mid-level Big Ten team. The Gator picks fourth in the Big Ten after the Rose Bowl, Capital One Bowl and Outback Bowl. Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska, Michigan State, Iowa, and Northwestern would be among the possible match-ups. Not too promising of an intriguing match-up.

My projection: South Carolina

Music City Bowl – The Music City Bowl would love to have the hometown team and that may be their only option. Right now, Vanderbilt is the only other SEC team that is bowl eligible. Ole Miss would need a win over Mississippi State to become bowl eligible, and Missouri would have to find a way to knock off A&M to become bowl eligible. Those are the only two teams that could become eligible this weekend. Even if both become eligible, they would not get the bid over Vandy.

My projection: Vanderbilt

Liberty Bowl – Should Ole Miss become bowl eligible this weekend, they would get the bid. If not, the Liberty Bowl would become an at-large bid for another conference.

My projection: Ole Miss

BBVA Compass Bowl – Should Ole Miss and Missouri become bowl eligible this weekend, Mizzou would be headed to the BBVA Compass Bowl. They would earn a bid to the Liberty Bowl if they win and Ole Miss loses.

My projection: Missouri

Independence Bowl – No team eligible.

My projection: At-large


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