Surfing through all of the bowl games and checking the times, dates and mach-ups that SEC teams are set to play over the coming month, I thought it would be great to put together a power rankings list of all the bowl games featuring SEC teams. If you're an Auburn fan you might like it, if you are a cowbell supporter you might not and if you're Florida, well, you're Florida. This is my opinion and the reasons for that will be laid out. But enjoy this list, and happy bowl season!
1. Sugar Bowl: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Ohio State Buckeyes: Jan 1, 6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Let's go back to the last time Nick Saban faced off against Urban Meyer. On October 2, 2010, Alabama beat Florida, 31-6 and Meyer's post-game comments read: "We got beat by a good team. We just didn't play very well." And after that game and that season, Meyer had to take a "leave of absence" only to find him coaching Ohio State to an undefeated season two years later and another successful one last year. So, here we find ourselves ahead of the inaugural College Football Playoff and the two meet again. Saban leads the overall record, 2-1, but Meyer's Buckeyes team -- which starts a third-string quarterback in Cardale Jones -- believes it can even that up at the Superdome.
Prediction: Alabama, 41-17
2. Peach Bowl: Ole Miss Rebels vs. TCU Horned Frogs: Dec. 31, 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
First off, let me be clear when I say this: Ole Miss, to me, has the best defense in the country. Robert Nkemdiche, D.T. Shackelford and Cody Prewitt can certainly attest to that. But so can Mississippi State, Memphis, Boise State, and even No. 1 Alabama. TCU, on the other hand, averages 46.8 points per game, ranking second among teams in the FBS. A consensus Top 5 offense versus a consensus Top 5 defense -- what's to complain about? But there's also Bo Wallace going up against Trevone Boykin and there's the defensive-minded Gary Patterson going up against the offensive-minded Hugh Freeze. If this isn't an intriguing match-up, then I don't know what is.
Prediction: Ole Miss, 27-23
3. Outback Bowl: Auburn Tigers vs. Wisconsin Badgers: Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET, ABC
Auburn gives up 149.5 rushing yards a game on average this season. Wisconsin rushes for 314 yards a game on average per game. After reading that stat, Auburn fans, just head to Outback Steakhouse and treat yourself to one of those juicy porterhouses. This one could get ugly, and in many more ways than one. On the Wisconsin side, you have an unearthly beast of a running back in Melvin Gordon and on the other, you have the wizardry-type offensive game plan of Gus Malzahn. On defense, you have Auburn's atrocious tackling and Wisconsin's debacle of a performance against Ohio State. What should you expect? Nick Marshall's speed to be a factor and Wisconsin's hopes and dreams to be in the hands of Gordon. Other than that, your guess is as good as mine.
Prediction: Wisconsin, 38-35
4. Texas Bowl: Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Texas Longhorns: Dec. 29, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
Remember the Southwest conference? You know, the one that in today's day and age would seem ideal for the cost of travel and expense between games? Well, in that time, Arkansas and Texas were both members, and both competed on a very high level. Arkansas was coached by Dr. Lou Holtz and Texas by Darrell Royal. In today's time, both schools are in somewhat of a rebuilding phase and are coached by polar opposites in BERT Bielema and Charlie Strong, respectively. Texas, quarterbacked by sophomore Tyrone Swoopes, is hopeful that they can gather some momentum going into a pivotal Year Two under Strong, and Arkansas is hoping to continue their newfound success after it was halted by Missouri just two weeks ago. Expect a battle and expect physicality; don't expect a pretty game.
Prediction: Arkansas, 31-14
5. Music City Bowl: LSU Tigers vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Dec. 30, 3 p.m. ET, ESPN
Les Miles in Nashville? I don't really know what to think about that one. Les Miles going up against former rival as a player, Notre Dame? I do know what to think about that one. Les' LSU defense will waltz into the Music City Bowl prepared to face a Fighting Irish team that has seemed to fall off the map over the latter half of the season. Everett Golson, the player on the Notre Dame team I admire most, will struggle without the help of -- really, anyone, for that matter. And Leonard Fournette, the big LSU tailback, will continue to strive towards his remarkable potential, running for what could be hundreds of yards on this Notre Dame defense. Nashvegas, meet Les. Les, enjoy this one.
Prediction: LSU, 23-13
6. Orange Bowl: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs. Mississippi St. Bulldogs: Dec. 31, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
The triple option intrigues me. I guess I'm so young that the days of it's reign on college football are in my rear-view mirror, but the versatility that it poses throws a loop in my thinking. Georgia Tech, a team that beat Georgia, will play a team that had the pieces to reach the college football playoff. On the defensive line, State has an allotment of defense lineman I see fit to stop the option, but Paul Johnson's Yellow Jackets will be prepared to face this Bulldogs in one of the premier bowl games in December.
Prediction: Georgia Tech, 28-21
7. Belk Bowl: Georgia Bulldogs vs. Louisville Cardinals: Dec. 30, 6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Mark Richt and Bobby Petrino. How fun will this be? Will Mike Bobo run the ball? Will Petrino throw in his bag of tricks? Will Mark Richt lose another game he shouldn't but remain at the helm due to possibly his fifth semi-above-average season? Will Michael Dyer run for more than 60 yards, his previous total against a Georgia team (Auburn in 2010)? Enough with the questions. Here's what we know: Georgia won't have Todd Gurley and they won't have a quarterback with anywhere close to the rhythm they'd like him to have at this point in the season. Petrino, on the other hand, will attempt to represent the ACC in the best way possible, but of course we all know that his heart always remains in Fayetteville. This should be a good one, and one that could put Mark Richt on the hot seat. You just never know with Georgia.
Prediction: Louisville, 24-21
8. Citrus Bowl: Missouri Tigers vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers: Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET, ABC
I'm bored looking at this matchup. Both teams have great coaches in Gary Pinkel and Jerry Kill. Both teams have gold somehow attached to them in Missouri's color and Minnesota's "Golden Gophers" nickname. Both teams' name start with "m." And, this match-up is another SEC-Big 10 argument supporter. Other than that, you've got me. This game reeks of one that is competitively played by two solid, solid teams but that lacks the star power and the big plays that a fan like me loves. I'll watch it, though; don't get me wrong.
Prediction: Mizzou, 17-13
9. Liberty Bowl: Texas A&M Aggies vs. West Virginia Mountaineers: Dec. 29, 2:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Want offense? Look no further than Kevin Sumlin and Dana Holgorsen. Texas A&M and West Virginia are two teams born and bred from the spread offense, and this game undoubtedly will feature them. Can Texas A&M's Kyle Allen gain the momentum for the Aggies going into next season? Or will Clint Trickett go out like many thought he could, winning his final bowl game? What about the receivers in this game? On one side, Speedy Noil and Malcome Kennedy and on the other, Kevin White. Expect offense, offense and yes, more offense.
Prediction: Texas A&M, 37-31
10. Independence Bowl: South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Miami (FL) Hurricanes: Dec. 27, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Steve Spurrier remembers this rivalry, doesn't he? "The Old Ball Coach" is geared up for another season -- or so it seems -- as he stated this week, in the most Spurrier way possible: "All of our coaches are under contract for next year. Unless they find another job for next year, we are all status quo." He also said that Miami was one of the teams that almost beat Florida State, so there's that. But in all seriousness, I really think this is a mindset game going forward for South Carolina. This season was a huge disappointment, and I think Spurrier knows this game is pivotal for his future endeavors in the Palmetto State.
Prediction: Miami, 27-20
11. TaxSlayer Bowl: Tennessee vs. Iowa: Jan. 2, 3:20 pm ET, ESPN
Another day, another hefty paycheck for Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. Opposing him in the bowl is quite possibly a coach that deserves that much in Butch Jones. This was Year Two of his Tennessee regime and as you may well know, putting in quarterback Joshua Dobbs saved the season and led them to this bowl game. Jones is so low-key that after hearing of the possible bowl invitation to Memphis, he said, "With the invention of Twitter and all these fictitious websites and erroneous things that are out there, you can't help but say 'this can't be happening.'" Well, Butch, we are no fictitious website, and you will be in the TaxSlayer Bowl, so gear up to face the Hawkeyes.
Prediction: Tennessee, 21-13
12. Birmingham Bowl: Florida Gators vs. ECU Pirates: Jan. 3, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN2
This bowl will be played in Birmingham. Yay! Birmingham is home to Legion Field, the former host of the Iron Bowl and one of the staples in the Southeastern Conference for years. That is totally irrelevant to this game, though, as both teams will suit up and face off in what will be a fun match-up if you're a "glass half-full" kind of guy. Treon Harris, Vernon Hargreaves and an ECU team that beat Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and won nine games this year are a great consolation prize for Gator fans looking forward to the McElwain era.
Prediction: Florida, 34-13