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SEC, Big 12, & ACC Bowl Primer: Post-January 1 Edition

SEC

01/01 –.Auburn vs. Northwestern - Outback Bowl  (11 am EST – ESPN)
01/01 – LSU vs. Penn State - Independence Bowl  (1 pm EST – ABC)
01/01 – Florida vs. Cincinnati – Sugar Bowl  (8:30pm EST – FOX)
01/02 – Ole Miss vs. Oklahoma State – Cotton Bowl  (2 pm EST – FOX)
01/02 – South Carolina vs. Connecticut – PapaJohns.com Bowl  (2 pm EST – ESPN)
01/02 – Arkansas vs. East Carolina - Liberty Bowl  (5:30 pm EST – ESPN)
01/07 – Alabama vs. Texas – BCS National Championship Game  (8 pm EST – ABC)

The nation’s toughest league has quite the slate to start 2010, with seven games still to play. Auburn and LSU will battle Big Ten foes to kick off New Year’s Day. However, most the focus will be on New Orleans later that night when Florida takes on Cincinnati. The Urban Meyer saga has Gator fans wondering what the future holds, and the players will try and rally against a Bearcat team that is dealing with its’ own coaching uncertainty.

Ole Miss will look to win their second straight Cotton Bowl on January 2, although this one will be played at Cowboys Stadium. Later that day, both South Carolina and Arkansas are favored to beat UConn and ECU, respectively. If both teams come out ready to play (something the Gamecocks did not do in last year’s bowl game), they should bring home victories for the conference.

The big game takes place on January 7, when Alabama plays Texas for the National Title. The Crimson Tide will try to win the league’s fourth straight BCS Championship, a fact that shows the strength and depth on the conference. The BCS started with the 1998 season, and the SEC is 5-0 in Title Games (Tennessee ’98, LSU ’03, Florida ’06, LSU ’07, and Florida ’08). Nick Saban will try to make that 6-0 as he leads his second league school to the Championship Game.

 

Big 12

01/02 – Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss – Cotton Bowl  (2 pm EST – FOX)
01/02 – Texas Tech vs. Michigan State – Alamo Bowl ( 9 pm EST – ESPN)
01/07 – Texas vs. Alabama – BCS National Championship Game  (8 pm EST – ABC)

Oklahoma State will have a chance to cap a solid year with a victory over SEC opponent Ole Miss in the Cotton Bowl. The Cowboys started their season by beating Georgia, but they were quickly humbled by Houston the following week. OSU took care of business against most of the league, but Mike Gundy’s crew could not get the Big 2 of Texas and Oklahoma. A win over the Rebels would mean a lot to the solid group of OSU seniors who have improved the program greatly during their time in Stillwater.

There will be a lot of focus on the Alamo Bowl because of the Mike Leach firing. It is really sad what the school’s brass, heavily influenced by ESPN/Craig James, did to the coach who made their program relevant. Who knows what to expect in the Bowl game, but Texas Tech officials could be turning the program backwards with their actions.

The most important game for the league will obviously be the BCS Title Game when Texas takes on Alabama. The conference seemed like it was the Longhorns and everyone else this season, and Mack Brown’s club will have an opportunity to win UT’s second National Championship this decade. The last time Texas won it all was in Pasadena as well, and they will try to duplicate that game by beating another favored opponent in the Crimson Tide.

 

ACC

01/01 – Florida State vs. West Virginia - Gator Bowl (1 pm EST – CBS)
01/05 – Georgia Tech vs. Iowa - Orange Bowl (8 pm EST – FOX)

The ACC will need to win both of these games to end the postseason on a good note. Obviously there will be a ton of attention on Jacksonville when Bobby Bowden coaches his last game against West Virginia in the Gator Bowl. The Seminole fan base seemed to be split over the long time coach’s departure, but they will rally around him for this game and around the new staff in the future. There will be a ton of college football fans from all over the country pulling for Bowden to win in his finale.

Georgia Tech will look to win the league’s second BCS game in a row when they face a gritty Iowa squad. Virginia Tech broke the decade-long drought for the ACC in BCS games last year with an Orange Bowl victory. Before that, the conference’s last BCS win was in 1999 when Florida State won the National Title. A Yellow jackets win would mean a great deal in the ACC’s quest for more national respect.
 

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