Lackluster bowl effort from SEC

You see, I told you there weren’t enough bowls.

But you wouldn’t listen.

When everybody was chuckle-complaining about Bad Boy Mowers and Gasparillas and Famous Potatoes, yeah, I told you this day would come.

I told you that you’d be flipping around the TV one day soon, desperate to find a decent Ohio-San Diego State matchup when you keep coming up with more NBA.

Yeah, admit it. The Dollar General Bowl doesn’t sound quite so bad now, does it?

You’d kill for another Cheez-it Bowl — especially the hilarious Cheez-it Bowl — for sheer unintentional entertainment value.

It’s tough quitting cold turkey.

And you’ll probably forget all about this empty feeling in your gut when the bowl season is announced next year and you want to make sport of the Cheribundi Bowl.

Can’t help you now. Can only tell you I told you so.

It’s over. Finished. Done for.

So let’s make do as best we can.

The latest bowl season offered 11 SEC teams the opportunity to do whatever they do.

It wasn’t exactly a banner year for SEC!-SEC! bragging rights, what with that 6-6 record and no national championship to shout about.

But before searching one last time to see if maybe, just maybe, with a hope and a prayer, there’s one more stray Camellia Bowl yet to be played, let’s review.

We’ll rank the SEC teams’ bowl experience’s from best to worst, strictly on what it meant to the conference, beginning with:

1. PEACH:

Florida 41, Michigan 15 — The perfect SEC storm. Really, what’s better for the SEC than beating up on a Big Ten powerhouse? What’s better than embarrassing the coach who, more than any other, seems to love taking his pot shots at the SEC while rattling the collective cages.

2. GATOR:

Texas A&M 52, N.C. State 13 — The Aggies looked scary good, and didn’t need seven overtimes and even more fortunate breaks to do it this time. Jimbo Fisher served warning the West is about to get even tougher.

3. CITRUS:

Kentucky 27, Penn State 24 — The Wildcats, who faded late in the regular season, probably had the toughest task of any SEC team. Certainly, the Cats were given less of a chance to win than any of the others.

4. MUSIC CITY:

Auburn 63, Purdue 14 — OK, it was just Purdue — but you had that fun fact that it was the same Purdue that beat Ohio State by 29 points. And it was 28-0, Auburn, in the first quarter, 56-7 at the half … Auburn only scored once in the second half. It’s not supposed to be that easy.

5. FIESTA:

LSU 40, Central Florida 32 — LSU would rank higher if the final score had reflected the domination on the field. Tigers played about as well as they could under the circumstances and, in the end, it didn’t seem like the final score fooled any of the general public. The conference spent a year living down the egg Auburn deposited as the SEC scalp UCF cited as its claim to fame. LSU was plenty convincing enough, even with a secondary made up of spare parts and volunteers.

6. TEXAS:

Baylor 45, Vanderbilt 38 — Hey, it’s Vanderbilt. You pat the Commodores on head just for making a bowl game and playing hard, hanging in there, even if Baylor wasn’t very good.

7. LIBERTY:

Oklahoma State 38, Missouri 33 — Perfect matchup. The one SEC team that would enjoy the Big 12 got itself into a genuine shootout. True to form, last team to score wins. You takes your chances.

8. ORANGE/NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP:

Alabama — Clemson 44, Alabama 16. Really, that was Bama? Would rank lower here, but the Tide did also beat Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl — more convincing than the 45-34 final. But, with the whole SEC living vicariously through the Tide, that was quite the belly-flop against Clemson. Bama didn’t look much like a conference bell cow on the biggest stage. You expect more from the SEC bully. On the other hand, few of its conference brethren seemed to feel much sympathy.

9. OUTBACK:

Iowa 27, Miss. State 22 — Come on, Bulldogs. Iowa is the classic kind of Midwest team that is supposed to succumb to SEC speed and athleticism. And the Bulldogs had to rally late to make it this close.

10. SUGAR:

Texas 28, Georgia 21 — Nobody buys the standard excuse anymore. But at some point the conference is going have to deal with the dilemma of what to do with the loser of the SEC championship game, particularly when it came in thinking it had a chance for the playoffs. Still, no excuse for just going through the motions.

11. BELK:

Virginia 28, South Carolina 0 — Pathetic. No excuse for it, Gamecocks. As punishment, you have to live around the same water coolers and compare postseason notes with cross-state blood rival Clemson.


Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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