Bowl season is officially underway, and the excitement of approaching games is growing by the day. From the ultra-important CFB Playoff semi-final games, to rest of the New Year's Six bowls, and even to the lower-tier games, teams and players across the country will look to put an exclamation point on their seasons and finish their respective 2014-2015 campaigns on a high note. This year's assortment of bowls featuring SEC teams is one of the most appetizing of postseason schedules that I can remember in years. While you are waiting for these games and celebrating the holidays, join me in a birds-eye view of every SEC bowl game.
Duck Commander Independence Bowl-Miami (6-6) vs. South Carolina (6-6)
Saturday, Dec. 27 at 3:30 PM
Preview: Spurrier & Gamecocks come off a disappointing regular season complete with 5 conference losses and a loss to in-state rival Clemson, 35-17. South Carolina would love to erase the bitter taste from their mouths with a win over a storied program in Miami. The Hurricanes have had a rough several years but have looked good at times this season. They almost upset the #3 FSU Seminoles.
SC Impact Players-RB Mike Davis, WR Pharoh Cooper
MIA Impact Players-QB Brad Kaaya, RB Duke Johnson
Prediction: HBC and South Carolina finish season on good note. Close game though. Watch out for SC's Pharoh Cooper; he'll have an outstanding day. SC 38-MIA 35
Autozone Liberty Bowl-Texas A&M (7-5) vs. West Virginia (7-5)
Monday, Dec. 29 at 2 PM
Preview: Texas A&M has had a 2014 full of highs and lows from pilling up losses, getting embarrassed by Alabama to upsetting then #3 Auburn. Defense for the Aggies has been sorely lacking and young QB Kyle Allen has been inconsistent. West Virginia is definitely a dangerous squad that upset Baylor earlier in the fall and nearly upset top conference teams TCU and Kansas State.
TA&M Impact Players-WR Speedy Noil, DL Myles Garrett
WVU Impact Players-QB Clint Trickett, WR Kevin White
Prediction: Dana Holgerson has always had a good offense in Morgantown, and that certainly hasn't changed this year. Trickett and White will pick apart the poor A&M secondary and prove to be too much for the Aggies. WVU 48-TA&M 35
Advocare V100 Texas Bowl-Arkansas (6-6) vs. Texas (6-6)
Monday, Dec. 29 at 9 PM
Preview: Arkansas might be the best 6-6 team in the country. Then again, being bowl eligible in the SEC West is quite an accomplishment in and of itself. In his second year, Head Coach Bret Bielema has transformed his Razorbacks into a physical and imposing squad with a strong running attack. Texas has struggled in Charlie Strong's first year in Austin. It has been a tough year for a mediocre team. The defense is pretty good though.
ARK-RB Jonathan Williams, LB Martrell Spaight
TX-RB Malcolm Brown, WR John Harris
Prediction: Texas can play defense, but so can Arkansas. Look for this game to be a physical and rough-and-tumble matchup. Razorback running game proves to be too much. ARK 24-TX 13
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl-Notre Dame (7-5) vs. #23 LSU (8-4)
Tuesday, Dec. 30 at 3 PM
Preview: Notre Dame started off 2014 with a fantastic 6-0 start until they lost in a close game to then #2 Florida State. From there the season took a turn for the worst. Notre Dame beat Navy the next week then lost four straight to close out the regular season. LSU has been decimated by key graduations and NFL departures over the last several years. The Tigers are young and have been inconsistent all year. Still, the Tigers can be dangerous. They have one of the top defenses in college football and an emerging star at running back in Leonard Fournette.
ND Impact Players-QB Everett Golson, WR William Fuller
LSU Impact Players-RB Leonard Fournette, LB Kwon Alexander
Prediction: Notre Dame is one of the most storied programs in college football. Their presence always makes a game more interesting and when you have a dual-threat weapon like QB Everett Golson, you always have a chance. However, Les Miles and LSU will get the better of the Irish thanks to a stingy defense and the physical running abilities of Fournette. LSU 28-Notre Dame 14
Belk Bowl-#13 Georgia (9-3) vs. #21 Louisville (9-3)
Tuesday, Dec. 30 at 6:30 PM
Preview: Georgia's 2014 season has been a tale of the good and the bad from a dominating 34-7 win over Auburn to two heartbreaking losses to South Carolina and GA Tech as well as an ugly and humiliating loss to Florida. They have one of top offenses in the country and a defense that is very good at times. The Bulldogs have tended to not really show up in the postseason in their last several appearances. They have lost the 3 of their last 4 bowl games. However, this game might be a different story. One of the big storylines of this game will be Todd Grantham. He's now the Louisville DC after leaving UGA in 2013. Grudges are still alive and well. Louisville has one of the best defensive units in the country, but they'll have a tough time stopping UGA RB Nick Chubb who is one of the leading rushers in the SEC despite starting only about half of the season.
UGA Impact Players-RB Nick Chubb, QB Hutson Mason
LOU Impact Players-DE Lorenzo Mauldin, DB Gerod Holliman
Prediction: UGA is motivated. The Louisville defense has been one of the best against the run, but they'll see Nick Chubb for the first time. Both offenses will have a nice day given that the Georgia offense is so dangerous and that UGA will be without their leading pass-rusher in LB Leonard Floyd. This game will prove to be a nail-biter. UGA 38-Louisville 35
Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl-#9 Ole Miss (9-3) vs. #6 TCU (11-1)
Wednesday, Dec. 31 at 12:30 PM
Preview: Hugh Freeze and his Ole Miss squad have enjoyed a very successful 2014 campaign highlighted by wins over now #1 Alabama and then #3 Mississippi State. The Rebels' offense has been pretty good this year but has been limited after the loss of leading receiver Laquon Treadwell. The big story is the defense. It not only has been one of top units in the country but also is 1st in points allowed only giving up an average of 13.8 points per game. It also has arguably the best secondary in the country led by DB Cody Pruitt and the SEC's interception leader Senquez Golson. This will make for a very exciting matchup with TCU as the Horned Frogs have one of the most lethal passing games in the country led by QB Trevone Boykin. TCU averages over 48 points which ranks 2nd in the country.
UM Impact Players-QB Bo Wallace, DB Senquez Golson
TCU Impact Players-QB Trevone Boykin, WR Josh Doctson
Prediction: "Good Bo" shows up. Game proves to be a shootout. Jaylen Walton has a night to remember on the ground and on special teams. The Ole Miss secondary forces a Trevone Boykin mistake to seal it. Ole Miss 48-TCU 45.
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