Make sure to listen to Charlie Burris and Houston Kress break down this list of SEC bowl rankings and talk about all the championship games around the country on this week’s episode of The Southeasterner Podcast! Listen here or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes by clicking here.
Bowl games were officially announced yesterday and the SEC had 10 teams qualify to play in the post-season. Some of the bowl matchups are great, while others are… well, they’re certainly games that are going to occur. We decided to rank these games so you can know which are required viewing and which you’d be better off skipping altogether.
1. Cotton Bowl – Alabama (12-1) vs. Michigan State (12-1)
When: Dec. 31, 2015, 8:00 pm on ESPN
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
This one is really a given. It’s the quarterfinal for the college football playoff and the winner advances to the national championship game. Though, if this game did not have championship implications, I would tell you to avoid it like the plague. It will be a grind-it-out snoozefest with lots of defense and punting. It’s at 8 pm on New Years Eve, so you can probably flip over to Ryan Seacrest when things start dragging in the 2nd quarter, but this is a must-watch because a national title berth is on the line.
2. Outback Bowl – Tennessee (8-4) vs. Northwestern (10-2)
When: January 1, 2016, 12:00 pm on ESPN 2
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Again, this is pretty much a given. We’re in Knoxville, this is Tennessee football, you have to watch. Is this the matchup in the Outback Bowl that fans were really hoping for? I doubt it, if you realized that Michigan was a real possibility as an opponent here, but it will be a good win for the Vols if they can take care of business, nonetheless. It should also catapult UT into an important postseason that will see Tennessee preparing for a very serious run at an SEC title in 2016.
3. Sugar Bowl – Ole Miss (9-3) vs. Oklahoma State (10-2)
When: January 1, 2016, 8:30 pm on ESPN
Where: Mercedes Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
While this game may have been better competition-wise if Ole Miss was playing Florida State, beggars can’t be choosers. There will be a whole lot of offense in this game and should be real, real fun. Oklahoma State has done nothing but get in high-scoring shootouts this season, and Ole Miss has had a penchant for offense-heavy games, as well. Also, this is primetime on New Years Day, what else are you going to be doing? Just watch it.
4. AdvoCare Texas Bowl – LSU (8-3) vs. Texas Tech (7-5)
When: December 29, 2015, 9 pm on ESPN
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, LA
At first you might think this game could be lame because Texas Tech doesn’t stand a chance against LSU, and you might be right. But what is intriguing about this game is the fact that it’s the first game for LSU since their administration tried and failed to oust Les Miles as the Tigers’ head coach. Will all of that drama effect this game and if (and this is a big “if”) Texas Tech wins, does LSU reconsider and fire Les Miles anyway? Texas Tech beat Arkansas and Arkanasas beat down LSU, so hey, you never know what could happen…
5. Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl – Florida (10-3) vs. Michigan (9-3)
When: January 1, 2016, 1 pm on ABC
Where: Citrus Bowl, Orlando, FL
Florida is the only team in the SEC not currently favored to win their bowl game, and rightfully so. Michigan has played excellent defense all season and Jim Harbaugh is one of the best coaches in America. Tune into this one to see the firey trainwreck that Florida’s offense has become try to grapple with Michigan’s top-notch defense. Granted, Michigan hasn’t had a great offense either this season, but Jake Rudock is definitely better than Treon Harris. Heck, I’m probably better than Treon Harris.
6. Birmingham Bowl – Memphis (9-3) vs. Auburn (6-6)
When: December 30, 2015, 12 pm on ESPN
Where: Legion Field, Birmingham, AL
After very convincingly taking down Ole Miss earlier this season, Memphis gets another chance to knock off an SEC West opponent in the Birmingham Bowl. Watch this just in case it turns into a beatdown by Memphis. Auburn will come in not caring after a terrible season, and Memphis will come in stoked to beat another SEC team. Yes, Memphis will be missing their now former head coach, Justin Fuente, who took the reigns at Virginia Tech, but the players on the field will be the same and my money is on Memphis all day.
7. TaxSlayer Bowl – Georgia (9-3) vs. Penn State (7-5)
When: January 2, 2016, 12:00 pm on ESPN
Where: Everbank Field, Jacksonville, FL
This is the final “must watch” game. If Georgia had not fired Mark Richt and hired Alabama DC Kirby Smart to replace him, there wouldn’t be a reason to care about this game for one second. BUT Georgia did fire Mark Richt and we can all see if they’ve become a dumpster fire like it looks they have from the outside. Not to mention, former Vandy head coach James Franklin leads Penn State and maybe he’ll get yet another victory over the Bulldogs.
8. Belk Bowl – Mississippi State (8-4) vs. NC State (7-5)
When: December 30, 2015, 3:30 pm on ESPN
Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
If you have other things to do on New Years Eve Eve, don’t worry about this game. Mississippi State is a very solid 8-4 team and NC State is a soft-like-jello 7-5 team. Dak Prescott should throw for a million yards and run for a million more in this game and you can just go about your business if you don’t feel compelled to watch that slaughter.
9. Music City Bowl – Texas A&M (8-4) vs. Louisville (7-5)
When: December 30, 2015, 7 pm on ESPN
Where: Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN
This game comes on right after the Miss State-NC State game and much the same, if you have plans that night, get out and do that instead. You won’t miss anything with Texas A&M’s bi-polar offense and Louisville’s… I don’t know, I haven’t watched Louisville enough to know anything about their team. TAMU should win and you should win also, by not worrying about watching this game.
10. Liberty Bowl – Arkansas (7-5) vs. Kansas State (6-6)
When: January 2, 2016, 3:20 pm on ESPN
Where: Liberty Bowl, Memphis, TN
WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT WATCH THIS GAME. Whoever thought this would be a good idea apparently doesn’t like TV ratings. Arkansas and their plodding offense is already hard enough to watch, but add in a Kansas State team that limped to a 6-6 record in the Big 12 and you have a recipe for a truly awful bowl game. Arkansas should win big, but don’t waste your time watching this for a second to find out.