Sunday, September 17, 2017

Bowl Eligibility Watch: Four SEC teams three wins away from bowl eligibility.


Bowl Eligibility Watch 2017
Is Week 3 too early to check in on the bowl eligibility of SEC teams? Well it probably is, but it's still  interesting to see which teams look like sure-fire on their way to a bowl game, and which teams surprisingly are gonna have to work harder to get there.


Winning in the SEC is never easy, and it looks as though the majority of member programs are going to have to travel a long, ugly road to bowl eligibility this season. And by majority, I mean everybody except Alabama (and possibly Georgia) looks as though a six-win season could be a more difficult task than expected thanks to early-season underperformance.

One thing is for certain: Ole Miss will not be going to a bowl this season following its own self-banhammering due to NCAA rules violations. Luckily, a loss to Cal on Saturday night has saved the conference from another member program going undefeated while on NCAA sanctions like Auburn did in 1993.

Bowl projections used for this series of articles from SB*Nation's Jason Kirk.

3-0 (Three more wins away from bowl eligibility)


Alabama

Projected bowl: 2018 Sugar Bowl/ College Football Playoff game vs. Wisconsin (Jan. 1, 2018, New Orleans, La.)

There really isn't much to say here, except nothing but a couple of surprising losses in the SEC West will knock 'Bama from it's presumed spot in the College Football Playoff this season.

Georgia

Projected bowl: 2018 Peach Bowl vs. Ohio St. (Jan. 1, 2018, Atlanta, Ga.)

Mississippi State

Projected bowl: 2018 Citrus Bowl vs. Miami (Fl.) (Jan. 1, 2018, Orlando, Fl.)

Don't be shocked to see the Georgia and Mississippi St. projections after the two teams face each other next Saturday. Also, be shocked to see Georgia in a non-New Year's Six/ bowl game not played in Florida this postseason.

Vanderbilt

Projected bowl: 2017 Independence Bowl vs. Wake Forest (Dec. 27, Shreveport, La.)

Despite the 3-0 start, Vandy is the team least likely among the four currently undefeated SEC to make it to a bowl game this postseason. The Commodores are going to need to come up with at least one or two upsets on its remaining 2017 schedule to make it to December.


2-1 (Four more wins away from bowl eligibility)


Auburn 

Projected bowl: 2017 Music City Bowl vs. Minnesota (Dec. 29, Nashville, Tn.)

Here we start going down the slippery slope. All of the SEC West teams who are not Alabama are starting to look like getting the four wins needed for bowl eligibility from strictly inside the division will be a less than east task this season.

LSU 

Projected bowl: 2017 Liberty Bowl vs. Kansas State (Dec. 30, Memphis, Tn.)

Has the new car smell surrounding first-year LSU head coach Ed Orgeron begun to fade yet? A bad loss against Mississippi St., and It's starting to look like six wins could be a struggle this season for the Bayou Bengals.

The good news for LSU, it faces Syracuse and Troy as its next opponents. Then the fun begins, as SEC conference play begins with cross-division rival Florida on Oct. 7. It doesn't get any easier from there.

South Carolina 

Projected bowl: 2017 Belk Bowl vs. Georgia Tech (Dec. 29, Charlotte, NC)

If the Gamecocks can manage an upset of Florida, Georgia, or Tennessee, it could possibly push the team up a notch into one of the non-New Years Six Florida-based bowls.

Tennessee 

Projected bowl: 2016 Outback Bowl vs. Michigan (Jan. 1. 2017, Tampa, Fl.)

Ruh-roh! Here's another 2-1 SEC program where things could get ugly really quick. The Florida loss was a heart-breaker, and one more bad loss could end Butch Jones' tenure as the Vol's head coach.

Texas A&M 

Projected bowl: 2017 Texas Bowl vs TCU (Dec. 27, Houston, Tx.)

The Aggies start out SEC conference play with Arkansas and South Carolina, then faces Alabama on Nov. 7). Two out of three wins there are possible, but another loss before the 'Bama game could totally derail the season.









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