It seemed to take longer than it should have -- in fact, it took about three hours after the College Football Playoff announced the teams that would be going to its marquee bowls -- but the SEC conference office has released the schedule for the conference's postseason games. And some of them are more conventional than others.
|Time / TV||SEC Team||Opponent|
|Sugar Bowl||Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m. ET / ESPN||Alabama||Ohio State|
|Orange Bowl||Dec. 31, 8 p.m. ET / ESPN||Mississippi State||Georgia Tech|
|Peach Bowl||Dec. 31, 12:30 p.m. ET / ESPN||Ole Miss||TCU|
|Independence Bowl||Dec. 27, 3:30 p.m. ET / ABC||South Carolina||Miami (FL)|
|Liberty Bowl||Dec. 29, 2 p.m. ET / ESPN||Texas A&M||West Virginia|
|Texas Bowl||Dec. 29, 9 p.m. ET / ESPN||Arkansas||Texas|
|Music City Bowl||Dec. 30, 3 p.m. ET / ESPN||LSU||Notre Dame|
|Belk Bowl||Dec. 30, 6:30 p.m. ET / ESPN||Georgia||Louisville|
|Outback Bowl||Jan. 1, Noon ET / ESPN2||Auburn||Wisconsin|
|Citrus Bowl||Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET / ABC||Missouri||Minnesota|
|TaxSlayer Bowl||Jan. 2, 3:20 p.m. ET / ESPN||Tennessee||Iowa|
|Birmingham Bowl||Jan. 3, 1 p.m. ET / ESPN or ESPN2||Florida||East Carolina|
We could say there are no real surprises here -- but that would be a lie. There are very few match-ups that anyone had predicted, which just proves that the SEC bowl process is going to be full of unpredictability no matter who does it. Better or worse might depend on your perspective, but the conference office certainly didn't stick any closer to the script that many of us predicted.
Some games also might have gotten reshuffled by Mississippi State going to the Orange Bowl, which few saw coming -- or at least the new opponents might have given the SEC some second thoughts about some of them. But that's not something that we'll probably ever hear from the commissioner's office.
Assigning winners and losers is a little harder with the "Pool of Six" format, but it's clear that the teams that were not high on the bowl lists were Florida and South Carolina, who got dumped off in the Birmingham Bowl and Independence Bowl, respectively. It's not a surprise, given the seasons those teams had. At least we know that Steve Spurrier is familiar with the title sponsor of the Duck Commander Independence Bowl.
One of the more surprising choices might have been Tennessee going to Jacksonville to play Iowa in the TaxSlayer Bowl. Most projections had the Vols going to the Liberty Bowl, which wanted Tennessee, to play West Virginia -- but that slot went to Texas A&M. Who knows if the Chip Brown report about the Aggies wanting to avoid Texas was accurate, but the function is the same; we'll have to wait awhile longer to see A&M play the Longhorns.
Instead, it will be another former Southwest Conference team -- Arkansas -- that will play Texas. It might be a pair of 6-6 teams, but with the Hogs' upswing at the end of the season and the fact that Texas is the opponent, there will be no shortage of attention for this game. It could be one of the better undercards of the season.
LSU plays Notre Dame, which is always an interesting get-together. The Music City Bowl is an unusual destination for the Tigers, but we might see more unusual destinations under the new format, and it's not hard to see Bengals fans traveling to Nashville for that game.
Georgia vs. Louisville also comes across as a little weird. The Dawgs will play Bobby Petrino's Cardinals in a matchup of Top 25 teams in the Belk Bowl. Auburn and Wisconsin's face-off in the Outback Bowl should be over in no more than three hours. Get ready to see a lot of running plays. A lot.
Missouri managed to hold onto the Citrus Bowl spot, and will face the Golden Gophers of Minnesota. For those Tiger fans who always wanted to play in the Big Ten, now you get to. You might see a lot more of that in the future. If there's one thing that's always true about the SEC's bowl selection process, it's that another game against the B1G is never far away.