The watchability factor

Basically, college football's bowl games come in two varieties:

1. The ones that involve SEC teams.

2. The ones that don't interest me.

There are exceptions, of course. I watched Southern Cal and Texas play for the BCS championship two years ago, and neither of those teams is affiliated with the SEC. For the most part, though, my motto is: "If it ain't SEC, it ain't for me."

Being a discriminating TV viewer with a life apart from football – albeit not much of one – I know that some bowls involving SEC teams will put me on the edge of my seat and others will put me to sleep. That's why I try to find time for the former and try to avoid the latter.

With that in mind, what follows is my take on the watchability of the nine bowl games involving SEC teams this season, with each rated between 1 (snoozer) and 10 (thriller):

LIBERTY (Dec. 29) Mississippi State vs. Central Florida: Sylvester Croom is a quality guy, and I'm happy (though surprised) that he led his team to a bowl bid this year. I'm looking forward to seeing him cap a good season with another win. I'm also looking forward to watching UCF's Kevin Smith, who has run for 2,448 yards this season and needs 181 more to break Barry Sanders' NCAA single-season record. I'll make time to watch this game. Watchability factor: 7

INDEPENDENCE (Dec. 30) Alabama vs. Colorado: Both teams finished 6-6 and both lost to Florida State – the Tide by 21-14, the Buffaloes by 16-6. The only reason I might tune in this turkey would be to see if The $4 Million Man finishes Year 1 with a losing record. Wouldn't that get 'em stirred up in Tuscaloosa? Watchability factor: 4

MUSIC CITY (Dec. 31) Kentucky vs. Florida State: Rich Brooks beat Tommy Bowden in bowl action last year and gets a chance to beat Poppa Bowden in bowl action this year. This ought to be entertaining, especially with the Big Blue's potent offense on display one last time. Watchability factor: 9

CHICK FIL-A (Dec. 31) Auburn vs. Clemson: Speaking of Tommy Bowden, the former Auburn aide will be facing his old school in this matchup of Tigers vs. Tigers. Clemson ranks No. 6 nationally in total defense and Auburn No. 8 in scoring defense, so this one could wind up 10-7. Zzzzzzz. Wachability factor: 3

OUTBACK (Jan. 1) Tennessee vs. Wisconsin: The Vols average 35.0 points per game and the Badgers 30.5. Tennessee has won five of its last six games, Wisconsin four of its last five. Jesse Palmer of ESPN rated this game No. 1 among the 32 bowls in terms of unpredictability. Sounds like a high-scoring, competitive matchup to me. Watchability factor: 10.

COTTON BOWL (Jan. 1) Arkansas vs. Missouri: The Tigers were ranked No. 1 and a lock to play for the national title until they lost the Big XII Championship Game to Oklahoma by a 38-17 score last weekend. That probably means they'll either be high as a kite or flat as a pancake for their bowl game. Either way, Darren McFadden should run for 200 yards, making for a fairly entertaining afternoon. Watchability factor: 7

CAPITAL ONE (Jan. 1) Florida vs. Michigan: Last bowl season Florida hammered a Big Ten team (Ohio State) that was unbeaten and ranked No. 1. This bowl season the Gators face a Big Ten team that lost to Appalachian State. Unless Lloyd Carr gets his hands on some Kryptonite, I look for Superman Tebow and his buddies to wax the Wolverines. I love when it when Big Ten teams lose. Watchability factor: 9

SUGAR (Jan. 1) Georgia vs. Hawaii: The Bulldogs are playing great football and should win comfortably against an unbeaten but untested Rainbow Warrior team. Like the rest of America, though, I'm eager to see if Hawaii passing whiz Colt Brennan is ready for prime-time. He adds a little intrigue to an otherwise bland pairing. Watchability factor: 7

BCS TITLE GAME (Jan. 7) LSU vs. Ohio State: I think it's a given that the SEC champion Tigers are a more talented team than the Big Ten champion Buckeyes. Still, I'm eager to see how much of a hit Jim Tressel's self-esteem will take after losing to Ron Zook AND Les Miles in the same season. Watchability factor: 10

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