by Dan M | Posted on Friday, December 19th, 2014

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By Robert Cortinez
rcortinez2@hotmail.com

The SEC has 12 of its 14 members playing in the 2014-2015 bowling extend-a-season.  #1 Alabama leads the way with a Sugar Bowl contest against the leap-frogging #4 Ohio State Buckeyes on New Years Day.  The Crimson Tide  carry the hopes and dreams of a potential sixth SEC national championship in the last seven years.  Ohio State is a nine point underdog but their coach, Urban Meyer, knows what it takes to win a national championship in the SEC.  Bama will be tested.  The rest of the SEC will try to run the table in their bowl games and set the bar for the the nation’s top conference.

Sugar Bowl (New Orleans, LA)
January 1, 2015  7:30pm  ESPN
#1 Alabama (12-1) v. #4 Ohio St. (12-1)
Line:  Tide  -8 / 58
Here we go.  The much anticipated college football playoffs lead off with the bully on the SEC  block, Alabama, taking on the Ohio State Buckeyes.  As mentioned above, OSU’s Urban Meyer has won a national championship in the SEC and his team looked razor sharp after embarrassing Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship game. Likewise, “Bama HC Nick Saban’s squad is operating at full throttle after summarily dispatching Missouri in the SEC championship game.This game will be closer than the oddsmaker have it pegged, but the Tide will roll to the championship game.  Look for Amari Cooper to go buck-wild.
PICK:  Alabama 33  Ohio State 20

Independence Bowl (Shreveport, LA)  
December 27, 2014  2:30pm  ABC
South Carolina (6-6) v. Miami (6-6)
Line: -3.5/ 61
South Carolina is itching to do better than .500 and finish at 7-6, appeasing their fan base with another winning season under the ‘ole ball coach.  Miami was 6-3 before losing its last three games.  One of Miami’s losses was  a six point squeaker loss to undefeated Florida State.
The Gamecocks show the Hurricanes the wrath of Steve Spurrier in a “down” season.
PICK:  South Carolina  33  Miami 27
Liberty Bowl (Memphis TN)  
Texas A&M (7-5) v. West Virginia  (7-5)
December 29, 2014, 2:00  ESPN
Line:  Mountaineers -3 / 58
The Aggies went from a #5 ranking to losing four of its SEC west division games and dropping out of the top 25.  A&M’s early season destruction of South Carolina lost its luster after after the Gamecocks went 6-6.
West Virginia had a chance for a memorable season, losing by six to #12 Kansas State (26-20) and by only one point to TCU (31-30).
PICK:  West Virginia 29  Texas A&M 24

Texas Bowl (Houston, TX)  
December 29, 8:00 pm  ESPN
Arkansas (6-6) v. Texas (6-6) l
Line: Razorbacks  -6.5 / 45.5
The Razorbacks and the Longhorns renew a cherished SWC rivalry when they square off in the Texas Bowl.  Texas is coming off a blow-out loss to TCU in its final home game while Arkansas let a victory slip out of its grasp in their final game at Missouri.  Both teams are desperate for a win to end their 2014 campaign.  Arkansas’s SEC #1 strength of schedule should power the Hogs to victory in this classic Southwestern Conference throw-back.
PICK:  Arkansas 31  Texas 28

Music City Bowl (Nashville, TN)  
December 30, 2014  3:00pm  ESPN
#23 LSU (8-4) v. Notre Dame (7-5)  
Line: Tigers  -7.5 / 52.5
The LSU Tigers ended their 2014 season on a winning note beating Texas A&M in College Station.  Other than the loss to Arkansas, LSU’s lost three games to top 20 teams (Alabama, Ole Miss and Auburn).  The Fighting Irish lost 5 of its last six games and looked pathetic along the way.  The Bayou Bengals defense will overwhelm the leprechauns from South Bend.                    PICK:  LSU  20  Notre Dame 10

Belk Bowl  (Charlotte, NC)  
#13 Georgia (9-3) v. #21 Louisville (9-3)
December 30, 2014  6:30pm  ESPN  
Line: Bulldogs -6.5 / 56.5
The Georgia Bulldogs limp into this bowl after ending their regular season with a lackluster loss to Georgia Tech.  The Bulldogs knew at gametime that Missouri was going to the SEC Championship and rolled over and played dead for the Rambling Wreck.  Louisville had a good season under first year HC Bobby Petrino and are playing for respect.  Petrino is back in the spotlight but the Dawg’s HC Mark Richt has the better team.  Georgia gets over the regular season blues and barks into the double digit win column.
PICK:  Georgia 38  Louisville 30
Peach Bowl (Atlanta, GA)  
#9 Ole Miss (9-3) v. #6 TCU (11-1)
December 31st  12:30am   ESPN
Line: Frogs  -3.5 / 57
The Rebels gave  coach Hugh Freeze a big raise and extension after knocking Mississippi State out of the national playoffs in its Egg Bowl victory.  TCU beat Iowa State 44-3 in their final game which was not enough to keep the Horned Frogs in the inaugural national play-offs.  This will be the only  test of the SEC’s superiority over the Big 12.  TCU has a huge chip on its shoulder, but the question is whether the Frogs can channel their frustration  to overcome the SEC’s best defense.  Going with “good” Bo Wallace and the Rebels in the heart of Dixie.
PICK:  Ole Miss 31  TCU 29

Orange Bowl  (Miami, FL)  
#7 Miss St (10-2) v. #12 Ga Tech (10-3)
December 31, 2014  8:00pm  ESPN
Line:Bulldogs  -6.5  /61.5
The Stark Vegas Bulldogs are smack in the middle of Mississippi State’s best season since going undefeated in 1940.  Bulldog Dak Prescott had a bad game against Ole Miss but is still the best QB in the SEC.  Georgia Tech also had a great year making it to the ACC championship before succumbing late to Florida State.  Tech also beat SEC East stalwart ,and cross town rival, Georgia along the way.  State’s head coach, Dan Mullens, has his Bulldog team prepared to put another victory in the history books.  Hail State.
Mississippi State 38  Georgia Tech 20

Outback Bowl (Tempe, AZ)
#19 Auburn (8-4) v. #18 Wisconsin (10-3)
January 1, 2015  Noon  ESPN2
Line: Tigers -6.5  / 63.5
Auburn returned almost their entire starting offense from last year’s national runner-up team.  The flip side was that the Tiger’s defense was non-existent in 2014.  Wisconsin won 10 games  but did so in a conference, the Big 10, that, other than Ohio State and Michigan State, was barely competitive this year.  Auburn HC Gus Malzahn will have his team prepped and ready to roll.  The  Badgers have an interim coach and  are still licking their wounds from the  59-0 thrashing by Ohio State.                PICK:  Auburn  41  Wisconsin 27

Citrus Bowl (Orlando, FL)  
#16 Mizzou (10-3) v. #25 Minnesota (8-4)  
January 1, 2015  8:00pm  ESPN
Line: Tigers -5 / 47.5
The Missouri Tigers shocked the SEC prognosticators by winning the SEC East Division for the the second straight year.  Missouri HC Gary Pinkel was named SEC coach of the year and rightly so.  Minnesota is enjoying a resurgent season, making it to a bowl for only the ?? time in last ?? years.   Although Missouri played in the SEC’s weaker  east division, the Tigers have been to the trenches with SEC west teams, including Alabama, and its defense is superb.
PICK:  Missouri  26  Minnesota 20

Taxslayer Bowl  (Jacksonville, FL)  Tennessee (6-6) v. Iowa (7-5)
January 2, 2015  2:20pm  ESPN
Line: Vols  -3.5 / 51.5
The good folks in Jacksonville may be surprised at the sea of orange that will travel for Tennessee’s first bowl game in five years.  Vols HC Butch Jones will bring his fire and brimstone demeanor to this meaningless bowl.  Iowa had a decent season in the downtrodden Big 10, but the Hawkeyes lost to every ranked team they played.  This game will be all about which team wants it more.  Rocky Top rules.
PICK:  Tennessee 21  Iowa 16

Birmingham Bowl (Birmingham, AL)   Florida (6-5) v. East Carolina (8-4)
January 3, 2015  11:00am   ESPN                                                                                                                                                        Line: Gators -7 / 56.5
Thought for the day: If Florida’s second game against Idaho (1-10) isn’t cancelled for weather and the Gators don’t allow South Carolina to score 10 points in the final three minutes of their late-season home loss, Florida would be 8-4 and  Will Muschamp would still be the coach.   Instead, fate’s fickle finger poked Muschamp out the door.  East Carolina beat ranked Virginia Tech but lost  its only other SEC tilt to South Carolina.  Florida is better than both Carolinas.
PICK: Florida 29  East Carolina 20

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