Late losses have SEC limping into bowl schedule

By David Moorman  |   Wednesday, December 10, 2008  |  Comments( 0 )

College Football
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On the surface, it seems the Southeastern Conference is in good shape heading into college football's postseason.

After all, Florida is playing for the BCS national championship for the second time in three years with the possibility of giving the SEC three consecutive titles. Furthermore, eight teams accepted bowl invitations, including the Gators, who will play Oklahoma for the BCS championship.

But what of the remaining seven? Six are coming off losses, including former No. 1 Alabama, whose first setback of the season came at the hands of the Gators in the SEC championship game, 31-20. Alabama will face undefeated Utah in the Sugar Bowl.

Georgia, the preseason No. 1 team, fell in its regular-season finale to Georgia Tech, 45-42. The three-loss Bulldogs will meet Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl.

Georgia Tech will play two miles from its campus in the Georgia Dome when it squares off against LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. LSU beat Georgia Tech in what was then called the Peach Bowl in 2000, 28-14, but that was under different circumstances.

The current Tigers have lost two of their last three games and four of their last six in looking little like the team that won last year’s national championship. They also lost to Georgia during the regular season, 52-38.

Vanderbilt was the darling of the nation at one point when it won its first five games. Since then, the Commodores have been playing more like the Vandy of old in having lost six of seven, including two in a row. Despite that, Vanderbilt will be making its first postseason appearance in 26 years when it tackles Boston College in the Music City Bowl.

Kentucky is much like Vanderbilt in that both teams are 6-6 overall, with the Wildcats also having gotten off to a fast start. Kentucky won its first four games only to have lost four of its last five, including three in a row. That doesn’t bode well for the Wildcats against East Carolina in the Liberty Bowl.

South Carolina isn’t on solid footing, either, in preparing to play Iowa in the Outback Bowl. The Gamecocks have lost their last two games by a combined score of 87-20.
Aside from Florida, Ole Miss is the only SEC bowl team to have won its last game. In fact, the Rebels have won five in a row, including a pair of shutouts. Their last loss came to Alabama on Oct. 18, 24-20.

Ole Miss’ matchup with Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl could well be one of the most electrifying postseason games to be played.

While Texas Tech’s boasts of one of the nation’s most potent offenses, Ole Miss has shown it can produce fireworks of its own behind redshirt sophomore quarterback Jevan Snead, a Texas native and former University of Texas signee. What’s more, Ole Miss is the only team to have beaten Florida.
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About David Moorman

Dave Moormann is an award-winning journalist, who has covered LSU athletics since 1980. He began his coverage with the Baton Rouge Advocate, where he was a writer and editor from 1980-98. In 1996, he authored a book on the history of LSU football entitled, "Fighting Tigers Handbook: Stories, Stats...
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