IT Goes Bowling With SEC Picks

Eight SEC teams will be bowling for dollars during the next few days as the league look to make a splash in football's post season. As usual, Inside Tennessee.com analysts Jeffery Stewart and Randy Moore are eager to share their insights and projections on the various bowl match-ups involving SEC teams. Here are those projections:

Randy's picks:

Dec. 31

VANDERBiLT VS. BOSTON COLLEGE (Music City ): I figured I'd learn a little something from studying Vandy's bowl history but I was wrong. The Commodores have played in just three bowls the past 118 years, posting one win, one loss and one tie. They lost six of their last seven games of 2008, however, which IS significant. So, even with the hometown advantage, I don't see them grounding the Eagles. Boston College 27, Vanderbilt 20

LSU VS. GEORGIA TECH ( Chick-fil-A ): The Ramblin' Wreck upset Georgia in the regular-season final, and the Dawgs are a better team than LSU. Plus, the Yellow Jackets' hometown advantage at The Georgia Dome is a lot bigger than Vandy's hometown advantage at The Coliseum. Georgia Tech 31, LSU 21

Jan. 1

SOUTH CAROLINA VS. IOWA (Outback): They could call this one the ¨Overrated Coaches Bowl." The Gamecocks' Steve Spurrier is not the genius he was during his heyday at Florida and the Hawkeyes' Kirk Ferentz is the most overpaid coach in college football... if not the most overrated. Oh, well. Maybe Spurrier's magic will return since he's playing in the Sunshine State. South Carolina 24, Iowa 17

GEORGIA VS. MICHIGAN STATE (Capital One): Now that Sylvester Croom, Phil Fulmer and Tommy Tuberville are gone, Mark Richt is the SEC's resident hot-seat coach. He lost three games with a team that was supposed to win the national title, thanks to a defense that allowed 38 points or more in five of the last eight games. Still, the Dawgs should be good enough to slow down an offensively challenged Spartan team. Georgia 34, Michigan State 24

Jan. 2

OLE MiSS VS. TEXAS TECH (Cotton Bowl ): Houston Nutt loves to run the ball and Mike Leach loves to throw it, yet both coaches fielded relatively balanced offenses in 2008. This sleeper could be the most entertaining bowl game of the entire post season. Texas Tech 34, Ole Miss 31

KENTUCKY VS. EAST CAROLINA (Liberty Bowl): After back-to-back Music City Bowl wins, the Big Blue seems to be pretty comfortable playing post season games in the Volunteer State. The Wildcats should bounce back from the Game 12 spanking they took at the hands of Tennessee. Kentucky 24, East Carolina 16

ALABAMA VS. UTAH (Sugar): The Tide is coming off a loss to the team Urban Meyer currently coaches (the Florida Gators) and preparing to face the team Urban Meyer used to coach (the Utes). I don't think that has any bearing on the game; I just thought I'd point that out. ALABAMA 27 Utah 17

Jan. 8

FLORIDA VS. OKLAHOMA BCS title game ): I projected Florida to win the national title back in August, and the Gators' dominating play since their Game 4 loss to Ole Miss has me feeling pretty good about that pick. Florida 41, Oklahoma 27

JEFFERY'S PICKS

Dec. 31

VANDERBILT VS. BOSTON COLLEGE (Music City): The Commodores don't qualify for a bowl in 26 years and when the finally do the trip covers the approximate 25 blocks to the home stadium of the Titans. On the positive side expenses will be virtually nothing which means a nice chunk of change for the Commodores coffers. But what would really make it worthwhile is the chance for the school's first bowl victory since the Eisenhower administration. It would also give the Dores a wining season at 7-6, no small achievement playing against advantaged opponents of the SEC. If Boston College is motivated to play none of that will matter. The guess here is the Eagles will soar. Boston College 31, Vanderbilt 19.

LSU VS. GEORGIA TECH (Chick-fil-A Bowl): What a difference a year makes. Last December the Tigers won the SEC Championship in the Georgia Dome en route to a national championship. Now Les Miles' troops are hoping to avoid their sixth loss of the season in a lower tier bowl. Georgia Tech's fortunes changed just as suddenly under Paul Johnson but in the opposite direction. LSU will benefit from the extra time needed to prepare for the option, by with the defensive staff in shambles it may not matter. Georgia Tech 33, LSU 27.

Jan. 1

SOUTH CAROLINA VS. IOWA (Outback Bowl): The Gamecocks get back into the bowl business in a SEC vs. Big 10 encounter. They have won with their defense this season and still have question marks at quarterback. They weren't impressive down the stretch and failed to beat a good team all season. Iowa 24, South Carolina 17.

GEORGIA VS. MICHIGAN STATE (Capital One): Remember when Tennessee fans were embarrassed to be going to this bowl because it signified losing out to the hated Gators. Some UT fans used to say they never wanted to go back to the Citrus Bowl. Careful what you wish. There's an object lesson in there somewhere for Georgia fans, who held national title aspirations along with a preseason No. 1 ranking, only to watch the Dawgs lose three games and stumble into Orlando after a home loss to arch rival Georgia Tech. On Thursday when they're watching on New Year's Day and wishing their game was later in the day at a more prestigious locale, keep in mind there are far worse destinations in January. The talent is there now and it should be on display against the Spartans. Who knows about next year? Georgia 30, Michigan State 21.

Jan. 2

OLE MISS VS. TEXAS TECH (Cotton Bowl ): Texas Tech settled for a trip to Dallas after an 11-1 campaign which means Mike Leach's squad may not be excited to compete. However Ole MIss' giant killer status could provide the incentive for a Red Raiders route. In a similar situation last season MIssouri flattened Arkansas 38-7 in the Cotton Bowl. Of course Houston Nutt has been 2-5 in bowl games including two straight losses in the Cotton Bowl. Conversely MIke Leach is 5-3 with four wins in his last five post season appearances. The Rebels will try to keep the chain and the clock moving which should keep the game close. Texas Tech 27, Ole Miss 24

KENTUCKY VS. EAST CAROLINA (Liberty Bowl): The Wildcats are bowling for the third straight season having captured consecutive Music City Bowl victories in 2006 over Clemson and 2007 over Florida State. The break will be a help for Kentucky who played eight straight weeks down the stretch and displayed a lack of depth. The Cats will have enough to knock of East Carolina which is actually favored. Kentucky 20, East Carolina 17.

ALABAMA VS. UTAH (Sugar): The Crimson Tide's magical campaign missed its ultimate goal after a loss to Florida in the SEC title game. However this is a solid team that will benefit from having time to prepare for the spread. Something they didn't enjoy against the Gators. Playing against Florida's spread will also help prepare for it for the Utes. Look for Bama to roll over Utah which lacks the speed or physicality to knock off Nick Saban's battle-hardened Tide. Alabama 33, Utah 21.

Jan. 8

FLORIDA VS. OKLAHOMA (BCS title game): This has the makings of a classic offensive shootout with plenty of points and big plays provided by the last two Heisman Trophy winners. However Oklahoma's defense has had it's problems holding high-powered attacks in check, while Florida's defense may actually be better than it's much acclaimed offense. Stopping Tim Tebow may be too much to ask. Also the timing phase of play will hurt Oklahoma more than the layoff will affect Florida's spread. Florida 30, Oklahoma 26.


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