Tuesday, October 2, 2018

SEC Bowl Eligibility Watch: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, and LSU are one game away from postseason eligibility.

Four teams remain undefeated after Week 5 of the college football season, needing one more win to hit the six-win mark needed for postseason eligibility. Alabama and Georgia are still legitimately  playing for a spot in the College Football Playoff, with Kentucky, and LSU trying to keep their outside shots to make the CFP alive.

As for the rest of the SEC, eight teams at least wins all are still in the postseason chase for an invite to a bowl. Ole Miss is banhammered from postseason play, while Arkansas are sinking at the bottom of the SEC West.

Here's where the SEC stands in regards to where the teams with legitimate chances for postseason play. Bowl and CFP projections are via Jason Kirk of SB*Nation.

Five Wins (Magic Number: 1 Win)

Alabama (5-0, 2-0 SEC)

Postseason projection: 

2018 Orange Bowl vs. Clemson (Dec. 29, Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fl.)

The Crimson Tide play 1-4 Arkansas on Oct. 6. Barring a huge upset, 'Bama should get its sixth win (and its postseason eligibility) against the Razorbacks.

Georgia (5-0, 3-0 SEC)

Postseason projection: 

2019 Sugar Bowl vs. Oklahoma (Jan. 1, Superdome, New Orleans, La.)

A repeat of last season's Rose Bowl? Oh joy! Georgia has to get through 3-2 fellow SEC East team Vanderbilt to get there, however. A quick reminder: all SEC East games are trap games for Georgia. Do not let anyone ever convince you otherwise.

LSU (5-0, 2-0 SEC)

Postseason Projection: 

2019 Outback Bowl vs. Michigan State (Jan. 1, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fl.)

Oct. 6 sees LSU playing cross-division rival Florida on the road in Gainesville, Fl. Florida is doing better than many people thought they would be at the start of the season, so a sixth win is not guaranteed next Saturday.

Kentucky (5-0, 3-0 SEC)

Postseason Projection: 

2019 Citrus Bowl vs. Wisconsin (Jan. 1, Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Fl.)

Kentucky faces 3-2 Texas A&M on Oct. 6. If the Wildcats can't beat the Aggies, then they will have to wait until Oct. 20 to earn that elusive sixth win against Vanderbilt.

All I'll say that I wouldn't bet the farm that Kentucky and Georgia will both be undefeated when the Wildcats host the Bulldogs on Nov. 3.

Four Wins (Magic Number: 2 Wins)

Florida (4-1, 2-1 SEC)

Postseason Projection:

2018 Music City Bowl vs. Virginia Tech (Dec. 28, Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tn.)

As stated above, Florida host LSU on Oct. 6, then go on the road to face Vanderbilt on Oct. 13. The Gators have a bye week on Oct. 20, giving the team enough time to face SEC East division leader Georgia on Oct. 27.

Florida is a lot better team than some might have expected, so there's a strong chance it will be going to a more high  profile bowl game this postseason.

Auburn (4-1, 1-1 SEC)

Postseason Projection: 

2019 Fiesta Bowl vs. Boise State (Jan. 1, 2019, State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Az.)

 Auburn has to go on the road to face a Mississippi State team coming off of two losses on Oct. 6, followed by a lackluster Tennessee at home on Oct. 13. The Tigers go back on the road to face banhammered Ole Miss in Oxford on Oct. 20. Two wins during  this stretch are highly probable.

As for Kirk's projection of Auburn going to a New Years Six bowl, that might be a little bit of a stretch. It might take an upset of Georgia on Nov. 10 to pull it off, which admittedly is feasible. (The Peach Bowl might be the more likely NY6 Bowl in Auburn's future, though)

Three Wins (MN: Three Wins)

Texas A&M (3-2, 1-1 SEC)

Postseason Projection:

2018 Liberty Bowl vs. Oklahoma State (Dec. 31, Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Tn.)

Texas A&M has the rare feat of facing two SEC East teams in a row in the next couple of weeks. The Aggies host Kentucky on Oct. 6, then travel to Columbia, SC to face South Carolina on the road. A second away game follows on Oct. 27 against Mississippi State in Starkville, Ms.

The Aggies' first season under head coach Jimbo Fisher has been lukewarm to say the best. There's a strong chance that the team won't be becoming bowl eligible until sometime in November.

Missouri (3-1, 0-1 SEC)

Postseason Projection: 

2018 Texas Bowl vs. TCU (Dec. 27, NRG Stadium, Houston, Tx.)

Missouri faces back-to-back road games at South Carolina on Oct. 6, then at Alabama on Oct. 13, before returning home to face Memphis on Oct. 20. It's starting to look like Mizzou will be chasing bowl eligibility deep into November.

Vanderbilt (3-2, 0-1 SEC)

Postseason Projection: 

2018 Birmingham Bowl vs. Houston (Dec. 22, Legion Field, Birmingham, Al.)

Vanderbilt's next three games are at Georgia (Oct. 6), then a return to Nashville hosting Florida (Oct. 13), and then back on the road at Kentucky on Oct. 20. A 1-2 record during this stretch may be asking too much.

Mississippi State (3-2, 0-2 SEC)

Postseason Projection:

2018 Gator Bowl vs. Indiana (Dec. 31, TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville Fl.)

October 6 sees Mississippi St. hosting Auburn, then traveling to LSU on Oct. 20, then hosting Texas A&M on Oct. 26. Don't expect a 3-0 record during this stretch.

Two Wins (MN: 4 Wins)

South Carolina (2-2, 1-2 SEC)

Postseason Projection: 

2018 Belk Bowl vs. Duke.

Consider what Kirk dubs this the "Steve Spurrier Bowl" a bit of wishful thinking (Spurrier coached at both schools) only because of all the cards that have to fall at the right time for it to happen.

South Carolina going at least 2-1or better during the next three game stretch does seem more possible. The Gamecocks have three straight home games (with an Oct. 20 bye week thrown in for good measure) starting with Missouri on Oct. 6, the hosting cross-division rival Texas A&M on Oct. 13, and then hosting Tennessee on Oct. 27.

Tennessee (2-3, 0-2 SEC)

Postseason Projection:


Tennessee is on its bye week. That's as easy as things will get as the Volunteers travel to Auburn on Oct. 13, host Alabama on Oct. 20, then travel to South Carolina on Oct. 27. There's a reason why Kirk isn't projecting a bowl in The Vols' future.

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