SEC Bowl Tie-ins
- Sugar Bowl
- CapitalOne Bowl
- Outback Bowl
- Cotton Bowl
- Chick-Fil-A Bowl
- Gator Bowl
- Liberty Bowl
- Music City Bowl
- BBVA Compass Bowl
- Independence Bowl
The logjam at the top of the SEC had Alabama (12-1) at the top pretty much every week, even though the Tide lost to Johnny Heisman (actually Johnny Manzeil) and Texas A&M. The main question was whether two non-SEC teams would place ahead of the SEC survivor and keep a conference squad out of the national title game. Oregon and Kansas State were on track to do it, but couldn’t quite pull it off … so Alabama returns to the Bowl Championship Series title match for the third time in five years.
Florida (11-1) lost to Georgia, but thereby got the benefit of not having to face Alabama in the conference title game. As a result, the Gators snag the Sugar Bowl berth ahead of the Bulldogs. BCS rules require a Big East team (at least until 2014), so Louisville is the opponent.
Georgia (11-2) came within a few yards of a major upset of Alabama in the SEC title game, but instead settles for the CapitalOne Bowl in Orlando. They will take on Nebraska, which was booted from the Rose Bowl after a blowout loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game.
South Carolina (10-2) got a big 35-7 win over Georgia, only to lose their next two to Florida and LSU. That dropped them to the Outback Bowl, where they face Michigan.
Heisman winner Manziel takes his 10-2 Texas A&M squad to Texas Stadium, where the surging SEC newcomers will face former Big XII foe Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. The Sooners were aced out of a BCS bid due to the “special rule” that placed Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl. But the resulting Cotton matchup is better than most of the BCS tilts.
Another one of the better non-BCS meetings is in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, where 10-2 LSU faces fellow 10-game winner Clemson.
Mississippi State takes its 8-4 record to the Gator Bowl to face Northwestern, while Vanderbilt will stay home to face N.C. State in the Music City Bowl in Nashville.
Ole Miss (6-6) snagged a trip to the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham. The Liberty Bowl opted for Iowa State of the Big XII, and the Independence Bowl slot went unfilled.