From an anonymous commenter: "Loved the "Let's Go Bowling" blog. Any way you could update that with the changes after this weekend's games??"
Ask and you shall receive… and it's even better this week since we're now sure Georgia will indeed be going to a bowl.
First, a quick explanation of the selection process, for those of you who don't know:
-- Presumably, the SEC title game winner will play for the national title and the runner up will go to the Sugar Bowl.
-- The Cap One then gets the first selection of the remaining SEC teams. They'll have to pick someone within 1 game of the next best record (after Florida and Alabama).
-- The Outback and Cotton Bowls get the next selections. The Outback typically gets the East No. 2 and the Cotton gets the West No. 2. However, with a second SEC team going to the BCS, that adds a wrinkle, since the Cotton is likely to lose its rep to the Cap One. That said, the fourth choice would almost certainly be a West team anyway, so there's not likely to be a great shakeup.
-- Chick-fil-A Bowl gets the sixth selection this season and can choose from either division, followed by the Music City and the Liberty (which choose concurrently in conjunction with the league office), the Independence and the PapaJohns.com, in that order.
Now, here are my SEC bowl predictions...
BCS Championship Game
Details: Jan. 7, 8 p.m, Pasadena, Calif., ABC
Prediction: Alabama vs. Texas
Chances for UGA: None
Details: Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m., New Orleans, La., FOX
Prediction: Florida vs. Cincinnati
Chances for UGA: None
Capital One Bowl
Details: Jan. 1, 1 p.m., Orlando, Fla., vs. Big Ten #2, ABC
Prediction: Ole Miss vs. Penn State
Chances for UGA: 1 percent. Anything's possible, but essentially UGA would have to win out, LSU would have to lose both of its final two and Mississippi State would have to win the Egg Bowl. And even then, it's doubtful.
Details: Jan. 1, 11 a.m., Tampa, Fla., vs. Big Ten #3, ESPN
Prediction: Georgia vs. Wisconsin
Chances for UGA: 40 percent. There's still plenty left to be decided, and it's possible a West team could end up here, but the traditional matchup pits the SEC's second place team in the East here, and right now, that's Georgia by a good margin. If Georgia wins out there, they'd be a very attractive option for the Outback.
Details: Jan. 2, 2 p.m., Dallas, vs. Big 12, Big 12 #2, FOX
Prediction: LSU vs. Oklahoma State
Chances for UGA: 8 percent. This is almost always a matchup that pits an SEC West team against the Big 12, and this year an LSU-Okie State matchup would be attractive, considering it would pit Les Miles against his old team. Assuming either LSU or Ole Miss went to the Capital One, the Cotton would have the next choice and could theoretically go with Georgia. But since LSU has the tie break in this one, that seems particularly unlikely. But should LSU beat Ole Miss next week, get the Cap One Bowl berth, UGA win out and Mississippi State pull the upset in the Egg Bowl, Georgia may suddenly seem like the most attractive option.
Details: Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m., Atlanta, vs. ACC #2, ESPN
Prediction: Tennessee vs. Clemson
Chances for UGA: 35 percent. Georgia is currently 1.5 games ahead of the Vols in the SEC standings with two games to play, so unless Georgia blows it this week against Kentucky, the Dawgs will lock up the second spot in the East. But if Tennessee is within a game of Georgia -- which means they'd have to beat both Vandy and Kentucky to close out the year -- then the Outback could take the Vols based on the Kiffin-related hype and UT's head-to-head blowout win over Georgia. That would likely drop the Dawgs to the Chick-fil-A, and a UGA-Clemson matchup would probably draw very, very well.
Music City Bowl
Details: Dec. 27, 8:30 p.m., Nashville, Tenn., vs. ACC #6, ESPN
Prediction: Auburn vs. Florida State
Chances for UGA: 15 percent. Georgia's win over Auburn likely flip-flopped where the two teams were headed. Add to that the likely loss Auburn will face against Alabama in the Iron Bowl, and what looked like a potential Cotton Bowl bid likely pushes the Tigers down a ways. However, if Georgia loses out, the Chick-fil-A could decide Auburn was the hotter hand and take the Tigers, leaving Georgia to return to Nashville. That seems unlikely, however, given the Dawgs' head-to-head win over the Tigers and the attractive draw Georgia would be playing in Atlanta.
Details: Jan. 2, 5 p.m., Memphis, Tenn., vs. C-USA #1, ESPN
Prediction: Arkansas vs. East Carolina
Chances for UGA: 1 percent. Essentially Georgia would have to drop its final two, Tennessee and Auburn would have to win out and the Dawgs would have to be considered the eighth most attractive SEC team by the bowls. I just don't see how that happens.
Details: Dec. 28, 5 p.m., Shreveport, La., vs. Big 12 #7, ESPN2
Prediction: South Carolina vs. Missouri
Chances for UGA: None. Kentucky could move into this spot with an upset of Georgia this week, but South Carolina may still seem like the more attractive option.
Details: Jan. 2, 2 p.m., Birmingham, Ala., vs. Big East #5/6, ESPN
Prediction: Kentucky vs. Connecticut
Chances for UGA: None. The Big East needs Connecticut to win two of its final three (at Notre Dame, vs. Syracuse, vs. South Florida) to fulfill its bowl slots. Otherwise Kentucky is looking at a non-BCS conference matchup.
Selfishly, I'm hoping to avoid the Chick-fil-A Bowl. While I think it'd be a nice matchup and I'd enjoy free Chick-fil-A in the press box, I'm not thrilled about the idea of working on deadline on New Year's Eve. The Outback or the Cotton Bowls would be a bit more prestigious for the Dawgs and a bit more convenient for me. But regardless, last week's win (combined with Tennessee's loss) did some good things for Georgia's bowl hopes.
I'll also note that apparently I'm the only one who thinks Georgia has a good shot at the Outback, and both Chris Low and Bruce Feldman still have them in the Music City. Both of them have Arkansas going to the Cotton Bowl, however, and I'm at a loss to understand how that happens. Georgia has a tougher strength of schedule, the same overall record, a better SEC record and a head to head win at Arkansas. Not to mention Georgia would almost certainly travel better for any game than Arkansas.