Which bowl is each SEC team projected to play in?
While offseason bowl projections are little more than a shot in the (distant) dark, they always offer some interesting insights as to how various teams are being thought of as the season nears. And that’s certainly true of the Associated Press bowl projections, which were released Wednesday.
Associated Press college football writer Ralph Russo has a couple of surprising projections, the most notable of those being Auburn playing in the College Football Playoff (as the SEC’s lone representative) and Alabama, a team most have picked as one of the top two or three in the country, being relegated to the Peach Bowl.
Tigers fans everywhere can be heard rejoicing at the possibility.
Russo also has Georgia joining Alabama as a "New Year’s Six" bowl participant in the Sugar Bowl. And at the other end of the spectrum, Kentucky and Vanderbilt are not projected to be selected for a bowl.
One other item of possible interest: Texas A&M and Texas renewing their recently-defunct rivalry in the Texas Bowl, as Russo projects, would provide one of the spicier bowl matchups in recent memory.
Keep in mind that the SEC recently changed its selection process; after the New Year’s Six games, the Citrus Bowl has first pick, and the league then assigns teams to the next six SEC-affiliated bowls, all of which are considered roughly equivalent. The Birmingham Bowl and Independence Bowl, respectively, have the last two selections.
The AP’s projections are as follows:
College Football Playoff semifinal: Auburn vs. Notre Dame
College Football Playoff championship game: Auburn vs. Ohio State
Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs. TCU
Peach Bowl: Alabama vs. Clemson
Citrus Bowl: LSU vs. Wisconsin
Outback Bowl: Arkansas vs. Nebraska
Liberty Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech
TaxSlayer Bowl: South Carolina vs. Minnesota
Music City Bowl: Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech
Belk Bowl: Missouri vs. North Carolina State
Texas Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Texas
Birmingham Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Memphis
Independence Bowl: Florida vs. Miami
Image credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports