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December 14, 2012

Bowling with Brenner, Part I: Dec. 15-20

All games on ESPN | All times ET

New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque) | Saturday, 1 p.m.

Nevada (7-5) vs. Arizona (7-5)

Why you should watch: Maybe you’re into empty seats?

Well, it’s Arizona, which beat Oregon State and USC, matching up with Stefphon Jefferson … the nation’s No. 2 rusher at 142 yards a game. Both teams are in the top dozen nationally in total offense. In fact, the over/under is 77.

Points, that is. Not fans.

Brenner picks: Nevada 42, Arizona 38

****************

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise, Idaho) | Saturday, 4:30 p.m.

No. 22 Utah State (10-2) vs. Toledo (9-3)

Why you should watch: The coaches. Gary Andersen and Matt Campbell (Campbell’s just 33 years old) are two of the best-value coaches in America. Their combined salaries are well under a million, but Andersen has the Aggies in the top 20 and Campbell is humming in his first full year with the Rockets, which is sure to be a stepping stone for the 33-year-old. He won’t be part of #MACtion for long.

Brenner picks: Utah State 30, Toledo 23

****************

Poinsettia Bowl (San Diego) | Thursday, 8 p.m.

BYU (7-5) vs. San Diego State (9-3)

Why you should watch: Because the Cougars are enjoying their independence … by not forcing themselves to play California teams. Even in close proximity to the state containing seven potential FBS foes. The Aztecs are basically playing a home game, and will try to run the Cougars into submission while taking Ezekiel Ansah – with a great name and better pass-rushing ability – out of the equation.

Brenner picks: San Diego State 27, BYU 24

December 3, 2012

Where are potential Auburn candidates going bowling?

AUBURN, Ala. — More than a week has passed since Auburn began its search for the next head football coach.

Now that bowl pairings are finalized, it’s time to take a look at where the principal candidates – at least based on rumored and reported interest – are heading with their current schools. It is presumed that if Auburn hires an active head coach (Bobby Petrino is currently unemployed), that coach would join Auburn immediately and forego his current team’s postseason preparation.

It’s worth noting four of the five currently-working coaches on Auburn’s likely short list won conference championships this season, and three are preparing for BCS bowls.

Coaches are solely ordered chronologically by the date of their bowl.

GARY PATTERSON

TCU (7-5) vs. Michigan State

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (Tempe, Ariz.) ~ Dec. 29, 10:15 p.m. ET ESPN

JIMBO FISHER

No. 12 Florida State (11-2) vs. No. 15 Northern Illinois

Orange Bowl (Miami, Fla.) ~ Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m. ESPN

CHARLIE STRONG

No. 21 Louisville (10-2) vs. No. 3 Florida

Sugar Bowl (New Orleans) ~ Jan. 2, 8:30 p.m. ESPN

GUS MALZAHN

Arkansas State (9-3) vs. No. 25 Kent State

GoDaddy.com Bowl (Mobile, Ala.) ~ Jan. 6, 9 p.m. ESPN

KIRBY SMART

No. 1 Alabama (12-1) vs. No. 2 Notre Dame

BCS National Championship (Miami, Fla.) ~ Jan. 7, 8:30 p.m. ESPN

December 2, 2012

2012-13 SEC/BCS Bowl Schedule

Mark your calendars and DVR boxes …

DEC. 31

Music City Bowl: Vanderbilt (8-4) vs. North Carolina State (7-5)

LP Field (Nashville, Tenn.), noon ESPN

Chick-Fil-A Bowl: No. 8 LSU (10-2) vs. No. 14 Clemson (10-2)

Georgia Dome (Atlanta, Ga.), 7:30 p.m. ESPN

JAN. 1

Gator Bowl: Mississippi State (8-4) vs. No. 20 Northwestern (9-3)

Everbank Field (Jacksonville, Fla.), noon ESPN2

Outback Bowl: No. 10 South Carolina (10-2) vs. No. 18 Michigan (8-4)

Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, Fla.), 1 p.m. ESPN

Capital One Bowl: No. 7 Georgia (11-2) vs. No. 16 Nebraska (10-3)

Florida Citrus Bowl (Orlando, Fla.), 1 p.m. ABC

Rose Bowl: No. 6 Stanford (11-2) vs. Wisconsin (8-5)

Rose Bowl (Pasadena, Calif.), 5 p.m. ESPN

Orange Bowl: No. 12 Florida State (11-2) vs. No. 15 Northern Illinois (12-1)

Sun Life Stadium (Miami, Fla.), 8:30 p.m. ESPN

JAN. 2

Sugar Bowl: No. 3 Florida (11-1) vs. No. 21 Louisville (10-2)

Superdome (New Orleans, La.), 8:30 p.m. ESPN

JAN. 3

Fiesta Bowl: No. 4 Oregon (11-1) vs. No. 5 Kansas State (11-1)

U. of Phoenix Stadium (Glendale, Ariz.), 8:30 p.m. ESPN

JAN. 4

Cotton Bowl: No. 9 Texas A&M (10-2) vs. No. 11 Oklahoma (10-2)

Cowboys Stadium (Arlington, Tex.), 8 p.m. FOX

JAN. 5

BBVA Compass Bowl: Ole Miss (6-6) vs. Pittsburgh (6-6)

Legion Field (Birmingham, Ala.), 1 p.m. ESPN

JAN. 7

BCS National Championship Game: No. 2 Alabama (12-1) vs. No. 1 Notre Dame (12-0)

Sun Life Stadium (Miami, Fla.), 8:30 p.m. ESPN

Saban: “Something’s not right here” since only 2 SEC teams will play in BCS bowl games

By David Mitchell

dmitchell@ledger-enquirer.com

ATLANTA — The often stoic post-game comments from Alabama coach Nick Saban took a turn on Saturday when the topic of the Bowl Championship Series bowls came up.

The question was simple: The way this game went, with all the momentum swings, was this a perfect example of how difficult it is to win this league and this championship game?

Saban didn’t exactly answer the question as much as take a shot at a system that could leave Georgia, a team currently ranked No. 3 that fell just 5 yards short of winning the game, out in the cold in favor of a team the Bulldogs beat on the field (Florida) earlier this season.

“When you have six teams in the top 10 — my sister did the math for me — that’s 60 percent,” Saban said. “She also said, ‘Why does only 20 percent go to the BCS?’ I’m going to tell you that I think it’s a crying shame if Georgia doesn’t get to go to a BCS bowl. They should go to a BCS bowl.”

There is a BCS rule stipulating a maximum of two teams per power conference can play in the set of games including the BCS National, Sugar, Orange, Fiesta and Rose Bowls. (SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, Pac-12)

And Saban wasn’t finished. He continued, firmly stating that, based on the game the Bulldogs played on Saturday, there is no reason it should be left out.

“They played a tremendous game out there today,” he said. “That was a great football game — by both teams, and they could have won at the end just as soon as us. It came right down to the last play. So, I think it’s ridiculous, you know?

“I watch teams playing that are 7-5, and they’re saying they might go to a BCS game because they won their championship? There’s something not right here.”

Wisconsin, by virtue of going to the Big Ten Championship game by default (Ohio State and Penn State were ineligible) and trouncing Nebraska last night in Indianapolis, will play Stanford in the Rose Bowl. The Badgers are 8-5 and were not ranked in the last BCS rankings.

Big East champion Louisville also was not ranked in the last BCS top 25. The SEC has, as Saban said, six teams ranked in the top 10.

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray echoed the Alabama coach’s words after the game. Less firmly, but convinced nonetheless, Murray stated his displeasure with the way things likely will work out.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “It’s crazy that we won’t get a BCS game when we’re representing the East in the championship game, and we’re right down to the wire to go to the national championship game. So, it kind of stinks if we don’t (get a BCS bowl invitation), but we’ll be glad whatever bowl we go to.”

The most likely destinations could be the Cotton Bowl, the Capital One Bowl, the Outback Bowl or the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

It isn’t an optimal scenario considering where the Bulldogs were almost headed, but Murray said it will be important for the team to bounce back.

“We’ve got to bounce back,” he said. “We’ve got to finish strong, get that 12th win and send our seniors off on a good note.”

November 28, 2012

SEC Power Rankings: Bowl Season Edition

AUBURN, Ala. – I need a break from the words “Gene Chizik”, “sources”, “buyout”, “decommit”, “Bobby Petrino”, “sources” again, “Kirby Smart”, “Jetgate”, “SportsbyBrooks”, “Charles Barkley”, “show cause penalty” and “sources” a third time just because, yeah, seriously, it’s getting repetitive.

We interrupt this lead-in to inform you because I successfully used all those words in one sentence, and tagged this blog post as such, this is now the eighth-highest clicked article in Internet history. (The first seven all just list the word ‘Tebow’ over and over again.)

Anyway, you’ll find none of those words in my final SEC Power Rankings of the year. Enjoy the reprieve. I know I will. It won’t last long.

By the way, unless a new coach is named Friday (don’t do it, Auburn), I will be at the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta, joined by L-E preps writer David Mitchell (@leprepsports) and supplementing the already-fine coverage of Mark Edwards (who covers Alabama at @DailyEdwards) and Seth Emerson (Georgia, @SethEmerson). So follow along for that.

It should be a fantastic game. At least, I was told so by reports from an unnamed source with information close to the situation.

Aaron Brenner, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer 

**All rankings BCS**

1) No. 2 Alabama (11-1, 7-1 SEC); Last week, 1

Last week: beat Auburn 49-0

The back eight seems impenetrable. There’s really any number of ‘player of the year’ candidates on this team, which I will go ahead and name for each of the SEC squads. C.J. Mosley, Dee Milliner, Robert Lester, it’s just an uber-dominant defense. Good luck out there, Aaron Murray.

Next: SEC Championship Game vs. No. 3 Georgia (11-1, 7-1), 3 p.m. CT | CBS

Player of the Year: C.J. Mosley, jr., LB

Bowl prediction: BCS National Championship

2) No. 3 Georgia (11-1, 7-1); LW, 2

Last week: beat Georgia Tech 42-10

Oh, but Murray will have plenty of help. Todd Gurley’s the SEC’s best back, Keith Marshall’s the best backup back in the league, Jarvis Jones is maybe the best linebacker in the country. This should be a phenomenal game at the Georgia Dome.

Next: SEC Championship Game vs. No. 2 Alabama (11-1, 7-1), 3 p.m. CT | CBS

Player of the Year: Aaron Murray, jr., QB

Bowl prediction: Capital One Bowl

3) No. 9 Texas A&M (10-2, 6-2 SEC); LW, 3

Last week: beat Missouri 59-29

Manziel, not Boyziel. Despite not speaking once to the media during the year, he’ll handle himself brilliantly in New York City a week from Saturday.

Player of the Year: Johnny Manziel, fr., QB

Bowl prediction: Cotton Bowl

4) No. 4 Florida (11-1, 7-1); LW, 5

Last week: beat No. 10 Florida State 37-26

The Gators have not allowed a single rushing gain longer than 24 yards all year. Filthy. And now they just hung 37 on the Seminoles in Tallahassee? You earned your Sugar Bowl trip.

Player of the Year: Marcus Roberson, so., DB

Bowl prediction: Sugar Bowl

5) No. 7 LSU (10-2, 6-2); LW, 4

Last week: beat Arkansas 20-13

So it sounds like Les Miles will not leave the Bayou for a ridiculous, bluff-type offer at Arkansas. Hopefully LSU gave Miles that raise because he earned it, not because a desperate league rival wants to play poker. Said LSU athletic director Joe Alleva Wednesday: “It’s been my plan all along to give coach a longer contract, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Player of the Year: Kevin Minter, jr., LB

Bowl prediction: Outback Bowl

6) No. 10 South Carolina (10-2, 6-2); LW, 6

Last week: beat No. 11 Clemson 27-17

The Gators and Gamecocks are basically twins this year. Except, well, Florida won the matchup. Which is why South Carolina is the sixth best team in its own conference, and can’t even book a New Year’s Day date in a historically top-heavy league.

Player of the Year: Jadeveon Clowney, so., DE

Bowl prediction: Chick-Fil-A Bowl

 

*****big gap here*****

 

7) Vanderbilt (8-4, 5-3); LW, 7

Last week: beat Wake Forest 55-21

If I were to tell you two teams in the SEC have six-game overall winning streaks (currently the longest in the conference), and gave you five guesses, I bet many of you would miss one. Georgia is one. The other is not Texas A&M, it’s not LSU, it’s not South Carolina. The Vanderbilt Commodores have not lost since losing gamely to Florida on Oct. 13.  They’ll trounce someone in a lesser bowl.

Player of the Year: Jordan Matthews, jr., WR

Bowl prediction: Gator Bowl

8) Ole Miss (6-6, 3-5); LW, 9

Last week: beat Mississippi State 41-24

Great bounceback effort after a three-game losing streak, sealing that long-awaited bowl eligibility. How about Bo Wallace, teetering on losing his job earlier this year, and responding by throwing five touchdowns in his biggest game of the year?

Player of the Year: Donte Moncrief, so., WR

Bowl prediction: Liberty Bowl

9) Mississippi State (8-4, 4-4); LW, 8

Last week: lost to Ole Miss 41-24

Chad Bumphis, 12 TDs. For a defensive conference, this certainly was a year for top receivers. Very little momentum though for the Bulldogs, losers of four in their past five.

Player of the Year: Darius Slay, sr., DB

Bowl prediction: Music City Bowl

10) Arkansas (4-8, 2-6); LW, 10

Last week: lost to No. 7 LSU 20-13

Eight months, the school has had, to make a decision on a long-term hire. Offering Les Miles the world shows you where the Razorbacks are at. This is by far the weakest of the three remaining SEC openings.

Player of the Year: Cobi Hamilton, sr., WR

11) Missouri (5-7, 2-6); LW, 11

Last week: lost to No. 9 Texas A&M 59-29

Talk about slinking away quietly. Not a lot of positives to build on going into year two of SEC football. Maybe the Big Ten should have gotten a longer look.

Player of the Year: Kendial Lawrence, sr., RB

12) Tennessee (5-7, 1-7); LW, 12

Last week: beat Kentucky 37-17

Next season hinges heavily on Tyler Bray’s decision whether or not to return.

Player of the Year: Cordarrelle Patterson, jr., WR

13) Auburn (3-9, 0-8); LW, 13

Last week: lost to No. 2 Alabama 49-0

“The Auburn people don’t deserve that.” said a certain former head coach. Was he talking about the three-hour slaughter just finished on the field, or the three-month disaster preceding it?

Player of the Year: Tre Mason, so., RB

14) Kentucky (2-10, 0-8); LW, 14

Last week: lost to Tennessee 37-17

Best of luck, Mark Stoops. If you last three years, it’ll be a modern marvel.

Player of the Year: Avery Williamson, jr., LB

November 21, 2012

SEC Rankings/Bowl Predictions: Week 12

Aaron Brenner, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer 

**All games Saturday unless noted … all times CT … all rankings BCS**

1) No. 2 Alabama (10-1, 6-1 SEC); Last week, 1

Last week: beat Western Carolina 49-0

Many schools’ game notes will break out their listings by unit, which would be ordered just as you’d expect: offense, then defense, then special teams … or QBs, then RBs, then WRs, etc. etc. down to DBs, Ks, Ps and returners. Not Alabama’s. Defensive notes come first. It’s fitting, really. The Crimson Tide defense has become the college version of Tom Brady: even when it’s not a season for the ages, you look at the quiet statistics, and they still jump out at you. (For example, Alabama “only” ranks seventh nationally in pass efficiency defense.) Dee Milliner, Robert Lester, C.J. Mosley, the whole gang’s just good. Auburn’s offense gained 140 total yards and zero points last year at Jordan-Hare against the Tide. Why does this game smell about the same?

Next: vs. Auburn (3-8, 0-7), 2:30 p.m. | CBS

Bowl prediction: BCS National Championship

2) No. 3 Georgia (10-1, 7-1); LW, 2

Last week: beat Georgia Southern 45-14

Aaron Murray, deflecting NFL talk before he makes a decision whether to return for his senior year. “I’m having too much fun right now.” That’s what it’s all about. He’s probably leaving Athens soon, but what a ride it’s been for him.

Next: vs. Georgia Tech (6-5), 11 a.m. | ESPN

Bowl prediction: Capital One Bowl

3) No. 9 Texas A&M (9-2, 5-2 SEC); LW, 4

Last week: beat Sam Houston State 47-28

Yeah, Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples said it best on the tricked-out Texas A&M page: “If the award is going to be for the most outstanding football player – for the guy who makes the biggest difference – there’s no question who that is. If you’re not thinking of voting for Johnny Manziel, you’re nuts.” In other words: hey, stuffy old farts who have a Heisman vote. Don’t care if it’s a freshman, a senior, a senior citizen, or Sam Gordon. You pick the best player. It’s not even close this year. Wasn’t even close before K-State went down, but hey, good guy and good player Collin Klein, appreciate you making this easier.

Next: vs. Missouri (5-6, 2-5), 6 p.m. | ESPN2

Bowl prediction: Cotton Bowl

4) No. 7 LSU (9-2, 5-2); LW, 3

Last week: beat Ole Miss 41-35

Really couldn’t have asked for a tougher slate for LSU this year. Had to play South Carolina AND Florida outside of the SEC West, and their two losses are to top-four squads by a combined 12 points. Tough submerging LSU below the Aggies, who the Tigers just beat at Kyle Field within the past month. But A&M’s been more impressive, and has the better offense more likely to compete with the top-flight foes.

Next: at Arkansas (4-7, 2-5), 1:30 p.m. Friday | CBS

Bowl prediction: Sugar Bowl

5) No. 4 Florida (10-1, 7-1); LW, 5

Last week: beat Jacksonville State 23-0

Quit ripping on Florida’s offense. The Gators have the NCAA’s second-longest FBS streak of games without getting shut out. You have to go back 307 games to Oct. 29, 1988: Auburn 16, Florida 0. (Gene Chizik was a graduate assistant at Clemson, and the eldest current Tiger, T’Sharvan Bell, was 10 months away from being born.)

Next: at No. 10 Florida State (10-1), 2:30 p.m. | ABC

Bowl prediction: Outback Bowl

6) No. 12 South Carolina (9-2, 6-2); LW, 6

Last week: beat Wofford 24-7

Goes without saying the Clemson offense against the South Carolina defense should be a fantastic matchup. But look for Connor Shaw (career record: 18-3) to quietly make enough plays for a big road win. Here’s a stat that may shock you, in the passer rating category: Shaw 156.93, Manziel 155.14.

Next: at No. 11 Clemson (10-1), 6 p.m. | ESPN

Bowl prediction: Chick-Fil-A Bowl

7) Vanderbilt (7-4, 5-3); LW, 8

Last week: beat Tennessee 41-18

Five magical words soon to be oft-uttered into the holiday season: “Wait, Vanderbilt has eight wins?” Fill in obligatory coach-killer joke here, after the Kentucky and Tennessee drillings. Watch your back, Jim Grobe.

Next: at Wake Forest (5-6), 2:30 p.m. | ESPNU

Bowl prediction: Music City Bowl

8) Mississippi State (8-3, 4-3); LW, 7

Last week: beat Arkansas 45-14

Stinks that the Egg Bowl’s been relegated to ESPNU. The Bulldogs, ranked in both human polls but not in the BCS top 25, are almost certainly heading to Jacksonville no matter what the outcome. They should be uber-motivated for a couple reasons: State’s got something to prove, since its four conference wins are against SEC teams with a combined 2-26 league record; and that state battle for bragging rights is something nasty.

Next: at Ole Miss (5-6, 2-5), 6 p.m. | ESPNU

Bowl prediction: Gator Bowl

9) Ole Miss (5-6, 2-5); LW, 9

Last week: lost at No. 7 LSU 41-35

You seem a likeable guy, Hugh Freeze. What’s with the player embargo this week? Prepare to get ripped if you blow this home game – and with it, a bowl shot.

Next: vs. Mississippi State (8-3, 4-3), 6 p.m. | ESPNU

Bowl prediction: Liberty Bowl with a victory, about a 50-50 proposition

10) Arkansas (4-7, 2-5); LW, 10

Last week: lost at Mississippi State 45-14

Only two more days until the sad conclusion of the ‘Smile’ era. A pity reporters can’t attend both Les Miles and John L. Smith press conferences. Can we dub this the Delightfully Weird Bowl?

Next: vs. No. 7 LSU (9-2, 5-2), 1:30 p.m. Friday | CBS

11) Missouri (5-6, 2-5); LW, 12

Last week: lost to Syracuse 31-27

Ooof, that’s gotta hurt. No reason not to take care of business against the Orange. That’ll deprive Mizzou of about 15 bowl practices, which really could have been useful.

Next: at No. 9 Texas A&M (9-2, 5-2), 6 p.m. | ESPN2

Bowl prediction: BBVA Compass Bowl with a victory, which is unlikely (could move up to Liberty Bowl if Ole Miss loses)

12) Tennessee (4-7, 0-7); LW, 11

Last week: lost at Vanderbilt 41-18

My hairstylist’s daughter said a friend told her she heard that Sam Gordon might be a candidate for the Tennessee job. Wanna tweet my report, Football Rumor Mill?

Next: vs. Kentucky (2-9, 0-7), 11:21 a.m. | SECN

13) Auburn (3-8, 0-7); LW, 13

Last week: beat Alabama A&M 51-7

Yer darn right I slipped multiple Sam Gordon references into these rankings. Oh, yes, right, something Auburn-y. Welp, Jonathan Wallace’s winning percentage currently exceeds that of Tyler Wilson. This is a fact. … Look, give Chizik this: he’s not lying when he says Auburn has to play its best football of the year to have a chance. In all reality, that can probably be tweaked to “perfect” football. The Tide will not take pity on the Tigers.

Next: at No. 2 Alabama (10-1, 6-1), 2:30 p.m. | CBS

14) Kentucky (2-9, 0-7); LW, 14

Last week: beat Samford 34-3

Apparently, this rivalry is referred to as the Battle for the Barrel. However, there is no longer an actual barrel up for grabs, after a 1998 alcohol-related car crash killing Kentucky players. But this great American rivalry does, indeed, have a name. See. And you thought you wouldn’t learn anything new from this column.

Next: at Tennessee (4-7, 0-7), 11:21 a.m. | SECN

November 6, 2012

Sugar Bowl to feature SEC, Big 12 showdown

NEW ORLEANS, La. – The Allstate Sugar Bowl has been awarded the host site of the post-season football bowl game following the 2014 regular season, featuring the champions of the Southeastern Conference and the Big 12 Conference, conference and bowl officials announced Tuesday.

The awarding of the site to the Allstate Sugar Bowl is a culmination of a process that began shortly after the May 18, 2012 announcement of the game.

The game will be played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, with the first matchup of the SEC and Big 12 teams on Jan. 1, 2015.

The agreement is for 12 years.  In the event that the bowl is selected as a semifinal game in the new BCS structure, the game would not host the SEC – Big 12 matchup in that year.

The champions of the two conferences will be in the matchup unless one or both are selected to play in the new four-team model to determine the national championship.  Should that occur, another deserving team from the conference(s) will be selected for the game.

“New Orleans and the Sugar Bowl are synonymous with post-season college football.  For many years, fans have enjoyed the color and pageantry that New Orleans offers,” said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive.  The Mercedes-Benz Superdome has hosted many Super Bowls, Sugar Bowls and National Championship Games and having teams from the Big 12 and the SEC in a post-season college football game together only adds to this list.  We look forward to competing against the Big 12 as a new championship tradition begins on New Year’s Day.”

“From the moment this game was announced, there has been tremendous excitement associated with the collaboration between these two conferences.  That excitement is reflected in the bids received to host this game.  There were great cities, attractive destinations, and impressive venues to consider,” commented Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby.   Now Big 12 fans can look forward to a New Year’s tradition and coming to New Orleans to support their team.  We are thrilled about our long-term association with our SEC colleagues and to be in partnership with the Allstate Sugar Bowl.“

“We’re pleased to have been selected to host this great game.  This gives us the chance to extend the Sugar Bowl’s long-standing relationship with the Southeastern Conference and to develop a new relationship with the Big 12 Conference,” said Paul Hoolahan, Chief Executive Officer of the Allstate Sugar Bowl.  “The result will be, without a doubt, one of college football’s best bowl games on an annual basis, one that brings tremendous national prestige and millions of dollars in economic impact to our city and state over the New Year’s holiday.  We look forward to the tremendous promise this game, and these two great conferences, have to offer.”

“This is a great day for the Sugar Bowl Committee, the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana.  What this means for our city and state is hard to fully explain,” said Jack Laborde, President of the Allstate Sugar Bowl.  “With the privilege of hosting this game comes a national spotlight, a position at the top of the college football world and untold tourism dollars.  We couldn’t be happier and are grateful for the opportunity.”

During the 14-year history of the Bowl Championship Series the Big 12 and SEC lead the nation with 11 seasons in which each conference has had at least one team ranked in the top four of the final BCS standings. Both conferences share the top spot all-time with 14 teams each that have finished in the top four of the final BCS Standings. The two conferences have combined for 16 appearances in the BCS National Championship Game, with the Big 12 ranking second behind the SEC’s nine appearances with seven trips to the National Championship Game.

The two league champions have met twice in BCS bowl games since 1998, both in BCS National Championship Games. In 2010, Alabama defeated Texas, 37-21, in Pasadena, Cal., and in 2009, Florida defeated Oklahoma, 24-14, in Miami, Fla.

June 20, 2012

BCS commissioners endorse a seeded four-team playoff model

The wave of change that appears to be sweeping over college football this offseason took another big step forward on Wednesday when the men who actually have the power to create a playoff finally got behind the issue publicly. For the moment, the selection process, and a bunch of the other particulars, still have to be worked out, but the 11 conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick are behind a plan they can send to the presidents’.

“We are excited to be on the threshold of creating a new post-season structure for college football that builds on the great popularity of our sport. We take our responsibility to our universities, our presidents, and to student-athletes seriously and we’re determined to make this great sport even more popular.

“At our meeting with the Presidential Oversight Committee next week, we will present our views so the presidents can make their decisions. On many issues we have achieved widespread consensus; on some issues, important and valuable alternatives have been suggested.

We have developed a consensus behind a four-team, seeded playoff, while recognizing that the presidents will certainly present their views, including a discussion of a Plus-One. We also discussed various selection methods and look forward to having these discussions with the presidents.

“We are getting very close and we look forward to next week’s meeting. We have already had extensive discussions with our presidents and it remains important to note that all final decisions will be made by the presidents, either at next week’s meeting or at whatever date is appropriate.”

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June 5, 2012

SEC officially announces Independence Bowl tie-in

In a move that will surprise very few, the SEC officially announced that it has added a record 10th bowl tie-in by agreeing to send its No. 9 selection to the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La., to take on the ACC’s No. 6 team.

The Independence Bowl will be on 1 p.m. Dec. 28 on ESPNU.

“We are obviously thrilled to be back in the game with the SEC,” said 2012 AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl chairman Jack Andres. “We enjoyed 15 years of success with them from 1995-2009, and we’ve hosted 10 of their teams in our game, including newcomers Texas A&M and most recently Missouri. Our local ticket buyers and sponsors are familiar with the teams in the SEC and we hope this will generate even more local support for our game.”

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said last Friday in Destin that the league was looking to add another bowl tie-in to give one more opportunity now that the league has expanded to 14 teams. Both Missouri and Texas A&M were bowl teams last year.

The SEC is 13-3 all-time in the Independence Bowl.

“With the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M, we were looking to expand our bowl lineup and we are pleased to have the Independence Bowl back in our schedule,” said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive.  “The Independence Bowl gives us a tie-in with the ACC, which will provide exciting competition in this high profile game.”

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June 4, 2012

SEC reportedly to add Independence Bowl to bowl rotation

Only three days ago, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive confirmed that the league was looking for one more bowl tie-in to add to its already packed holiday season.

Now, the target appears to be much more clear.

CBSSports.com reported Monday that the SEC will add the Independence Bowl to its roster for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Anything beyond that will be impossible until the proposed changes to the BCS are decided and implemented.

By adding the Independence Bowl, the SEC now has 10 bowl tie-ins, a record for any conference, and an extra bowl was needed to accomodate conference newcomers Missouri and Texas A&M. Both teams made bowl appearances last season.

The Independence Bowl will pit the SEC against the ACC the next two seasons. The two leagues already square off in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and the Music City Bowl.

“We’re in conversations now, and attempting to provide another bowl for the next two years,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said in Destin, Fla., last Friday. “We think we’ll be able to make an announcement shortly.”

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SEC Bowl Tie-Ins

  • Sugar Bowl
  • Capital One Bowl
  • Cotton Bowl
  • Outback Bowl
  • Chick-fil-A Bowl
  • Gator Bowl
  • Music City Bowl
  • Liberty Bowl
  • BBVA Compass Bowl
  • Independence Bowl* – Reported, not confirmed