Things have shuffled around in the SEC since my preseason bowl projections. There are some interesting games in the next couple weeks and the plot will continue to thicken. Yes, UK has dropped out of my Bowl Projections. Florida appears to have rejoined the SEC's elite. Mississippi State isn't living up to my preseason hype and I still think Georgia will rebound. I haven't seen anyone talk about it yet, but there is an interesting scenario at play. This may be the year two SEC teams play for the National Championship. Sound impossible? Far from it.
At this point, 12 teams would seem to have at least a fair shot at playing for the national title: LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma, Boise State, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Wisconsin, Nebraska, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Florida and Clemson. Of these, four are SEC schools and eight are not. The latter number will dwindle in the coming weeks (as will the former). Clemson and Virginia Tech play one another this weekend, as do Wisconsin and Nebraska. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State face off on December 3. That leaves a lot of chances that a one loss team will play for the title.
Suppose, for example, LSU loses to Alabama in Tuscaloosa on November 5, but both teams otherwise run the table. This is a not only possible but plausible. If this plays out, LSU will have handily beaten Oregon, Mississippi State, West Virginia, and also defeated Florida and Arkansas. If Oklahoma or Oklahoma State runs the table, certainly that team would face Alabama in the national championship. But what if, say, Stanford or Wisconsin are the only other unbeatens? Stanford has only one top 25 caliber opponent, Oregon, who they will play at home and whom LSU has already whipped. Wisconsin has the aforementioned tilt against Nebraska, but its only other opponent currently in the Top 25 is Illinois. The Illini are unlikely to be in that position by the time the game rolls around on November 19.
I'm not sure a one loss LSU would make the national championship over an undefeated Big Ten or Pac 12 team, but if its only loss were to an end of regular season #1 Alabama at Alabama and the game were relatively close, wouldn't that be a fair result? In contrast, if it comes down to Boise State and LSU, I think the BCS ends up screwing Boise over in a heartbeat.
This week's picks are predicated on the notion that Oklahoma keeps winning. But we'll see.
Music City Bowl
BBVA Compass Bowl
No available SEC team.