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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Let's Go Bowling

Georgia is 5-4 with three to play, so while it's not a done deal that the Dawgs will be bowl eligible, it seems to be a relatively reasonable assumption. With Auburn and Kentucky coming to Athens and a date in Atlanta with Georgia Tech to close out the season, Georgia needs to take just one game to ensure it will play a postseason game -- the bigger question might be: Which one?

Mark Schlabach has Georgia headed for a return trip to Nashville for the Music City Bowl, as does Chris Low, while Bruce Feldman has the Dawgs set for Shreveport and the Independence Bowl.

A 3-0 finish to the season could certainly give the Dawgs a boost and potentially send them to Tampa. A 1-2 conclusion to the season probably leaves them circling the drain. A date in Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A Bowl isn't out of the question either.

So what seems likely?

Well, here are the SEC's destinations:

BCS Title Game

Details: Jan. 7, 8 p.m, Pasadena, Calif., ABC

Matchup: Barring a jarring upset, either Florida or Alabama will end up here.

Sugar Bowl

Details: Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m., New Orleans, La., FOX

Matchup: The loser of the SEC title game likely ends here, probably against one of the BCS busters like Boise State or TCU.

Capital One Bowl

Details: Jan. 1, 1 p.m., Orlando, Fla., vs. Big Ten #2, ABC

Matchup: The SEC's No. 3 goes here against the Big Ten's runner up. LSU is a virtual lock for this one, probably taking on Penn State, Iowa or Ohio State. Any of those would make for an intriguing matchup. Theoretically, an Ole Miss upset of the Tigers could send Ole Miss here, too, with Tennessee or Auburn needing some help to make it happen.

Outback Bowl

Details: Jan. 1, 11 a.m., Tampa, Fla., vs. Big Ten #3, ESPN

Matchup: This spot is generally reserved for the No. 2 team in the SEC East, which at this point, believe it or not, is Georgia. The Dawgs have two more conference games left, however, which could theoretically drop them all the way to fourth in the East. But that would require South Carolina beating Florida, which isn't going to happen. So the question then is, can Georgia finish ahead of Tennessee and lock up a spot in Tampa? The Vols finish with three winnable conference games -- at Ole Miss and home vs. Vandy and Kentucky -- so if they win out, they're in. We'll probably have a much better idea after this weekend, and if the Dawgs top Auburn and the Vols fall to the Rebels, Georgia would have the inside track.

Cotton Bowl

Details: Jan. 2, 2 p.m., Dallas, vs. Big 12, Big 12 #2, FOX

Matchup: This spot typically goes to the No. 2 team in the SEC West, but with LSU likely headed to Orlando, this spot either goes to Auburn or Ole Miss. Again, this weekend's games will likely decide which one.

Chick-fil-A Bowl

Details: Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m., Atlanta, vs. ACC #2, ESPN

Matchup: This game pits the ACC's No. 2 team (or this year, potentially the No. 3) against the SEC's No. 5 (or this year, likely the No. 6). There's a good chance the Dawgs end here, but would the Chick-fil-A Bowl want to bring Georgia back to Atlanta for a second straight game after the Dawgs close out with Georgia Tech? Or could the SEC West team that misses out on Dallas end up here instead? In the ACC, the Atlanta trip is intriguing, too, as Virginia Tech might well be the No. 3 team in the conference, but has already been to Atlanta twice this year (vs. Tech and Alabama).

Music City Bowl

Details: Dec. 27, 8:30 p.m., Nashville, Tenn., vs. ACC #6, ESPN

Matchup: The SEC's No. 6 or 7 team ends up here, which makes Georgia a likely participant. If the Dawgs don't go to Dallas, Atlanta or Tampa, that means Ole Miss, Auburn and Tennessee already have bids to those destinations, meaning the Music City would need to select Kentucky or South Carolina over UGA -- which would be tough to do considering the Dawgs have already beaten South Carolina and would probably have topped Kentucky to become bowl eligible. This would pit Georgia against the No. 6 team from the ACC -- which at this point would probably be North Carolina. But the ACC is such a mess, it's certainly possible Boston College, Virginia Tech, Florida State or -- gasp! -- even Duke could end up here. UGA-Duke in Nashville… can you feel the excitement?

Liberty Bowl

Details: Jan. 2, 5 p.m., Memphis, Tenn., vs. C-USA #1, ESPN

Matchup: The Music City usually takes the middling East team, which puts a middling West team here, and assuming the Hogs can win one more game, Arkansas seems a likely choice. They'll take on the Conference USA champ, which means a shootout with Houston.

Independence Bowl

Details: Dec. 28, 5 p.m., Shreveport, La., vs. Big 12 #7, ESPN2

Matchup: This marks the SEC's last season doing business with the Shreveport, La. spectacular, and the No. 9 team from the conference is likely headed here. Odds are, that's Kentucky or South Carolina, but there's a chance Mississippi State wins two of its last three (vs. Alabama, at Arkansas, vs. Ole Miss) to become bowl eligible and steals this spot. There's also an outside chance, as Feldman appears to be betting on, that Georgia slides all the way down here, too. That would involve Georgia beating Auburn but losing to Kentucky, giving the Music City an option of taking the Wildcats rather than bringing the Dawgs back to town for a second time this season. I say that's unlikely. Bowl

Details: Jan. 2, 2 p.m., Birmingham, Ala., vs. Big East #5/6, ESPN):

Matchup: The SEC's last bid goes here, and while Mississippi State has an outside shot, Dan Mullen's boys would have to pull two upsets to make it happen. Odds are, this will be the final East team, either South Carolina or Kentucky. Given that the Gamecocks will be the underdogs in their final two -- Florida and Clemson -- and could end the season with losses in five of their last six games, Steve Spurrier better keep his fingers crossed that Mississippi State doesn't pick up win No. 6.

So, what do you think is most likely? What's your preference?

Do you want to spend your New Year's Eve inside the Georgia Dome for the Chick-fil-A Bowl?

Or wake up early on New Year's Day for the Outback Bowl?

Or is a trip to Shreveport just the vacation you've been waiting for?

Would you like to see Georgia take on another middling Big Ten team or does a potential matchup against Bobby Bowden in Nashville intrigue you?

Let me know what you think.


Anonymous said...

I'm not convinced UGA is going to be bowl eligible. Just saying.

Blue Gill said...

Beat Tech and nothing else matters.

Sports Dawg said...

At first I thought your question "which one" was referring to which team we would defeat to become bowl eligible. Anyway, I vote that we win out and receive the best invitation as a result!

jferg said...

I would like to see Dawgs/FSU (for nostalgia) or Dawgs/UNC (for local bragging rights) as our worst case scenario...Dawgs/Va Tech in CFA bowl or Dawgs/Iowa in Outback as our best case scenario. Dawgs/Iowa intrigues me most....

Ausdawg85 said...

Beat Tech...little else matters. Tampa is best for the kids, of course, but I'm so sick and tired of a Big 11...errr for the Dawgs in off years, I'd rather see an ACC match-up, especially in the Eat More Chik'in Bowl. 6 hour drive to Shreveport is just outside of the zone of loyalty for a 6-win season.

Paul said...

Whoa, David! It's too early to talk about this outloud! Sure, you can think about it; but at this point with Georgia a favorite at home versus Auburn, Kentucky getting a couple of players back from injury and Tech with an off week to get ready for us, I'm going to opt for not offending the football gods.

Paul said...

And, sorry for making you moderate a second comment, but a point of order: You wrote that the Outback gets the #2 team from the east and that the Cotton gets the #2 team from the west and that respective teams can sew up those spots... I understand it's one way to say it, but it's more accurately described as the "first option of an east team" for the OB and the "first option of a west team" for the CB. They don't have to take the team that finished 2d - they just get the next pick. That's a huge distinction when considering bowls think about what fan bases will travel and why all the moping by Georgia fans about how terrible the Dawgs are hurts the bowl prospects.

Anonymous said...

Georgia-Georgia Tech (yes, a rematch) or Georgia-Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, let's make it happen!

JasonC said...

One thing that irritates me a little bit is the SEC's bowl match ups, especially in seasons when we will likely send a team to the BCSCG. We send lower seeded teams to play higher seeded teams from other conferences in at least 3 bowl (I'm not including the Independence Bowl, but you definitely could this year). I think the Chick-fil-a has the biggest mismatch. I'm not saying the SEC can't handle it, but why should the SEC play every conferences' #2 with our #3-5 teams.

Rick said...


Agreed. But if you believe that the SEC is the strongest conference in college football, which I do, then I say we take on the so-called higher ranked teams and show them how overrated they really are and how underrated our mid-level teams are. (i.e. 2008: Ole Miss vs Texas Tech OR LSU vs GT)

rakeback said...

Bobby Bowden is nothing more than a figurehead at this point. I think he needs to bow out gracefully rather than challenging the administration. The program clearly wants to go another way and he wont allow them too even though he isnt putting together winning programs.