IT Picks SEC Bowls

Southeastern Conference teams spend 51 weeks per year bragging that their league is the toughest in college football. They spend the other week proving it.

That week is at hand ... bowl time. Three SEC teams – LSU, Florida and Tennessee – will be facing Big Ten opponents this post-season. Kentucky and Auburn will be taking on ACC foes. Alabama and Arkansas will be meeting Big XII opponents, while Georgia goes against Hawaii and Mississippi State challenges Central Florida.

InsideTennessee.com experts Jeffery Stewart and Randy Moore just concluded an SEC regular season in which each clicked on better than 70 percent of his picks. Not content to rest on their laurels, they have decided to offer their bowl projections. Those are as follows:

RANDY'S PICKS

LIBERTY (Dec. 29) Mississippi State vs. Central Florida: This is a showcase game for UCF running back Kevin Smith (2,448 rushing yards this fall), who will be looking to impress NFL scouts. Playing in Memphis will be like a home game for MSU, however, and the Dogs are pretty good at home. Mississippi State 24, UCF 20

INDEPENDENCE (Dec. 30) Alabama vs. Colorado: Many Tide fans are beginning to lose faith in their $4 million coach, Nick Saban. Hey, be patient, Bammers. Just look at what Saint Nick's genius has done for the Miami Dolphins. Oops ... Colorado 26, Alabama 23

MUSIC CITY (Dec. 31) Kentucky vs. Florida State: The Big Blue beat Clemson's Tommy Bowden last bowl season and should beat FSU's Bobby Bowden this go-around. Terry Bowden is looking to get back into coaching, so he's the early favorite to be UK's 2008 bowl foe. Kentucky 31, FSU 24

CHICK FIL-A (Dec. 31) Auburn vs. Clemson: Auburn gets a lot of players from the Atlanta area, so this will be a homecoming of sorts for many of Tommy Tuberville's Tigers. That could be the difference in what shapes up to be a very even matchup. Auburn 20, Clemson 16

OUTBACK (Jan. 1) Tennessee vs. Wisconsin: The last time Phil Fulmer was promised an extension and raise BEFORE a bowl game, his 2003 team went out and laid an egg against Clemson in the Peach Bowl. After the Cal, Florida and Bama games, however, I can't imagine that the 2007 Vols have any eggs left in them. Tennessee 26, Wisconsin 20

COTTON BOWL (Jan. 1) Arkansas vs. Missouri: The Razorbacks have the best back in college football, Darren McFadden, and a high-profile head coach in Bobby Petrino ... assuming he doesn't leave for a better job between now and Tuesday afternoon. Missouri 27, Arkansas 21

CAPITAL ONE (Jan. 1) Florida vs. Michigan: I wonder if Wolverine coach Lloyd Carr remembers the humiliating 45-17 beat-down Tennessee handed him in Orlando six years ago. If so, this game should seem vaguely familiar. Florida 45, Michigan 17

SUGAR (Jan. 1) Georgia vs. Hawaii: Rainbow Warrior quarterback Colt Brennan probably will put the ball in the air 50 times or more. I'm guessing it will come down in Bulldog hands four or five of those times. Georgia 31, Hawaii 21

BCS TITLE GAME (Jan. 7) LSU vs. Ohio State: The Buckeyes spent all of 2007 being reminded of how they were dominated by an SEC team (Florida) in last year's title game. It looks like 2008 isn't going to be a fun year for them, either. LSU 34, Ohio State 17

JEFFERY'S PICKS

LIBERTY (Dec. 29) Mississippi State vs. Central Florida: Bowl games come and go; change names, sponsors, alliances and locales, but the Liberty Bowl lives as a testament to tradition. Not that it has helped its stature in the holiday bowl buffet. Still the Bulldogs and their loyal fans are glad to be playing in any bowl and that kind of enthusiasm will translate to motivation for a program that turned it around in 2007. They're not booing folks they're saying Crooooom! Mississippi State 30, Central Florida 27.

INDEPENDENCE (Dec. 30) Alabama vs. Colorado: Another small status bowl game that survives in Shreveport, La. Remember when it was the Weedeater Bowl and the source of endless jokes? You can be sure Bama is taking it serious as it's the difference between a winning and losing season for first-year coach Nick Saban. The break helped the Tide get healthier and more rested after a late season collapse that came after Bama's 41-17 victory over Tennessee. Saban will have his team ready and the crowd will help their its fire. Alabama 26, Colorado 21.

MUSIC CITY (Dec. 31) Kentucky vs. Florida State: The suspension of nearly half the FSU team must have sounded a sour note to Music City officials, but having the Bluegrass Boys and their many fans in tune town is a sweet melody. Kentucky 35, Florida State 24.

CHICK FIL-A (Dec. 31) Auburn vs. Clemson: You know I love Chick Fil-A sandwiches but I hate the Chick Fil-A Bowl. Go figure. Maybe it's because the SEC (particularly Tennessee) doesn't usually fare well in this game against ACC opponents that see it as a proving ground for their league. Look for that trend to hold as Tommy Bowden enters with a contract extension and a big raise. Clemson 23, Auburn 20.

OUTBACK (Jan. 1) Tennessee vs. Wisconsin: The last two times Tennessee lost the SEC title game it went on to big bowl victories, beating Michigan in the 2001 Citrus Bowl, and Texas A&M 37-6 in the 2004 Cotton Bowl. The Vols generally match up well with Big Ten teams and Wisconsin is as Big Ten as you can get. Tennessee 33, Wisconsin 20.

COTTON BOWL (Jan. 1) Arkansas vs. Missouri: The Razorbacks coach for the last decade is now the head coach at Ole Miss. The man they hope will be their coach for the next decade will be a spectator and the man leading the team, Reggie Herring, is looking for a job. Someone who won't have to look for his next job is Darren McFadden who projects as No. 1 in the next NFL Draft, but not before one more show. Arkansas 34, Missouri 27.

CAPITAL ONE (Jan. 1) Florida vs. Michigan: The Wolverines started the season against Appalachian State in Ann Arbor and closes the season in Orlando against defending NCAA champion Florida. That's a big change but the outcome will be the same. By the way, Is this the start of Tim Tebow's 2008 Heisman campaign or the end of his 2007 Heisman Trophy season? Florida 34. Michigan 24.

SUGAR (Jan. 1) Georgia vs. Hawaii: There's more separation between these programs than the North American continent and the Pacific ocean. There's also tradition and talent which both favor the Bulldogs. But the contrast could make for an interesting game ruled by the offenses. Georgia 40, Hawaii 31.

BCS TITLE GAME (Jan. 7) LSU vs. Ohio State: It's not every year you can lose two games and still play for the national championship in your own backyard. However no one can argue about the slate the Tigers played or their victories over Mississippi State, Virginia Tech, Florida, Auburn, Alabama and Tennessee. The intense gauntlet that is the SEC seems to forge the strength needed to win games of this magnitude. Got to geaux with the Tigers who have Les Miles at head coach and less miles to travel. LSU 27, Ohio State 24.


Inside Tennessee Top Stories