|South Carolina Gamecocks. Image via The State.|
If you had South Carolina becoming eligible for a bowl game before Ole Miss, congratulations: you have truly won the Championship of Life. It was looking for a while like Will Muschamp's first season as head coach of South Carolina might be his last. Late-season conference wins against Tennessee and Missouri helped the Gamecocks to its current 6-5 record.
There are now ten SEC teams that are bowl eligible. Ole Miss and Vanderbilt could join them with victories in the final game of the regular season.
Here's the rundown of where the bowl eligible and still in the bowl hunt are going to Week 13. Bowl projections are via Jason Kirk of SB*Nation.
Bowl Eligible Teams (Six-plus wins)
Projected Bowl: 2016 Peach Bowl vs. Washington (College Football Playoff. Dec. 31, Atlanta, Ga.)
Nick Saban vs. Chris Petersen? Yes, please. Reminder: This game is being played a day before the 20th anniversary of the Petersen-coached Boise State's upset of Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.
Projected Bowl: 2017 Sugar Bowl vs. Oklahoma (New Year's Six bowl. Jan. 2, 2017, New Orleans, La.)
Projected Bowl: 2016 Citrus Bowl vs. North Carolina (Dec. 31, Orlando, Fl.)
Since Alabama is in the College Football Playoff, the SEC
Projected Bowl: 2017 Outback Bowl vs. Nebraska (Jan. 2, 2017, Tampa, Fl.)
Texas A&M (8-3)
Projected Bowl: 2016 Texas Bowl vs. TCU (Dec. 28, Houston, Tx.)
Texas losing to Kansas for the first time since Franklin D. Roosevelt was in office has apparently dashed hopes for an all-too brief revival of the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry. TCU vs. the Aggies is a pale substitute.
Projected Bowl: 2016 Music City Bowl vs. Iowa (Dec. 30, Nashville, Tn.)
Projected Bowl: 2016 Liberty Bowl vs. Kansas State (Dec. 30, Memphis, Tn.)
Athens, Ga. is closer to Nashville than Fayetteville, Ak. is. Fayetteville is closer to Memphis than Athens. One would suspect it to be logical if Arkansas and UGA get bids to the opposite bowl that each is projected to be invited to.
Projected Bowl: 2017 TaxSlayer Bowl vs. Virginia Tech (Dec. 31, Jacksonville, Fl.)
LSU's loss to Florida knocked it out of contention for the Sugar Bowl. A Tigers loss to Texas A&M could reshuffle the bowl bids for every SEC team with the exception of Alabama (and maybe Tennessee) altogether.
Projected Bowl: 2016 Birmingham Bowl vs. Houston (Dec. 29, Birmingham, Al.)
South Carolina (6-5)
Projected Bowl: 2016 Belk Bowl vs. Miami (Dec. 29, Charlotte, Al.)
It's Now or Never (Five wins, needs to win in Week 13 to be bowl eligible)
Ole Miss (5-6)
Week 13: vs. Mississippi State (Nov. 26)
It comes down to the Egg Bowl for Ole Miss. Win against Mississippi State, and Ole Miss go to a bowl. Lose, and Hugh Freeze goes on the head coach hot seat.
Mississippi State, interestingly, could make it to a bowl if it beats Ole Miss if there aren't enough six-win teams at the end of the season. Mississippi State might sneak through the bowl eligibility bowl as a 5-7 team via its Academic Progress Rate.
Week 13: vs. Tennessee
Is beating Tennessee possible? Well, Vandy did beat Georgia and Ole Miss. The Vols are also banged up. The Commodores are absolute underdogs, but considering how this college football season has gone, its not out of the question.
Vandy also has a high enough APR to go to a bowl as a 5-7 team, So there's always that.