Sometimes, the SEC's bowl lineup is great from top to bottom. This year's? Not so much. Partly it's a symptom of several of the conference's teams not achieving their potential, and partly it's the Big Ten's fault for also having a bunch of vaguely disappointing, offensively challenged squads.
Here are the three tiers of bowls the conference has in 2015-16.
Sugar: Ole Miss vs. Oklahoma State
This is easily the best bowl pairing, and nothing else is all that close. Both participants have explosive offenses paired with defenses that aren't terrible. There will be points, but they'll be earned. It should be fun.
Texas: LSU vs. Texas Tech
Do you like contrasts in style of play? Do you like contrasts in storylines surrounding programs? Would you like to see Leonard Fournette run himself to exhaustion because no one can tackle him? How about seeing see a Kevin Steele defense attempt to stop a competent Air Raid? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, this game is for you.
Birmingham: Auburn vs. Memphis
The Memphis pass attack against this Auburn defense will be the season's best comedy special. Ridiculous things will be happening all throughout this game for both good and bad reasons.
OK, If You're Into That Sort of Thing
Belk: Mississippi State vs. NC State
Both teams are fine. They're not great. They're not bad. They're fine. They're also fairly evenly matched, and this is also Dak Prescott's finale. Is that enough to get you to turn it on?
Citrus: Florida vs. Michigan
Both teams started off better than expected in the first seasons under new head coaches. Both teams ran out of gas because the previous head coaches left the cupboard half bare and the standard injuries that come with football depleted their rosters. With a month off to practice and heal up, this could be a great game. It also could be a bit light on entertainment as both defenses are well ahead of the offenses.
Music City: Texas A&M vs. Louisville
Admit it: you didn't pay one lick of attention to the Cardinals after they started 0-3. Well, the team went 7-2 the rest of the way, beating teams it should and losing to teams it should. There's not much I can do to build up this game. It's two OK teams playing each other. Of all the bowl games in 2015-16, it certainly is one of them.
Cotton: Alabama vs. Michigan State
This game pairs two teams that want to do largely the same thing, only Alabama is better at every position except quarterback. The Tide is best suited to playing fairly conventional teams like MSU: it beat Wisconsin 35-17, Georgia 38-10, LSU 30-16, and Florida 29-15. MSU is better than any of those teams, but secretly, its defense isn't up to the standard of recent Spartan units. This has a thirty something to the teens score in a Bama win written all over it, and we've already seen this show four other times this year.
Only If Nothing Else is On
Outback: Tennessee vs. Northwestern
The Wildcats are a rich man's Mizzou: awful (but not hopeless) offense with a terrific defense. Tennessee is pretty good but not outstanding at anything. If either team makes it to the 20s in points, it'll be a miracle.
Liberty: Arkansas vs. Kansas State
The Li-BERT-y bowl features an Arkansas team that will probably look great with all the time to prepare against a K-State squad that isn't nearly as good as its 6-6 record would have you believe. The Hogs will probably steamroll the Wildcats from start to finish.
TaxSlayer: Georgia vs. Penn State
A lame duck Georgia staff is going up against a Penn State team that already fired its offensive coordinator for putting together a hopelessly bad offense despite having a potential NFL quarterback. Both teams have great defenses and bad offenses. The only intrigue is whether the punters will collapse from exhaustion. AVOID AVOID AVOID AVOID AVOID AVOID