1. Alabama (9-0 overall, 6-0 SEC)
Can anyone beat Alabama and stop the Crimson Tide from making another trip to the BCS title game? It's highly unlikely, but a wise man once said, "That's why they play the games." This week figures to be a cakewalk even if the Tide are sleep walking. There's a real chance when UTC visits in 10 days that neither the Tide nor the Mocs starters play more than two series. Then comes the trip to Auburn for the Iron Bowl, and unless Nick Marshall is ready to throw for 250-plus, the Tide have a system for short-circuiting one-dimensional teams no matter how good that one dimension. Buckle up, Bama-bashers, it looks like another holiday season colored in Crimson. Pick: BCS title game
Saturday: at Mississippi State, 7:45 (ESPN)
2. Auburn (9-1, 5-1)
Where are the Tigers going to spend New Year's? Well, there is little doubt about which coach is the front-runner for league coach of the year, huh? Gus Malzahn has the Tigers staring at a New Year's Day Bowl and in control of potentially earning a BCS bowl invitation if they win out. A win over Bama seems like a tall order, but handle Georgia and the Tigers make an attractive Sugar Bowl invitee. Some turnaround from this time last year when the Tigers collectively had quit on the way to a 3-9 debacle. Pick: Sugar Bowl
Saturday: vs. Georgia, 3:30 (CBS)
3. Missouri (9-1, 5-1)
Where is the second-biggest SEC surprise going to spend New Year's? Gary Pinkel would be a dunk coach of the year pick if not for Malzahn's magic. Still, the Tigers are in control of the SEC East, so they too could get to a BCS bowl game, but at the very least they can plan on a warm-weather trip. Pick: Outback Bowl
4. Texas A&M (8-2, 4-2)
Where will Johnny Football's last college game be? If the Aggies sweep -- somewhat of a tall order with LSU and a visit to Missouri in the last two weeks of the season -- they could be the Sugar Bowl's pick. If A&M gets swept, it still will be an attractive pick because of the star power that is Johnny Hollywood. If the Aggies split, here's saying the Cotton Bowl gets a dream matchup of Texas A&M against Texas and the entire state tries to get into Jerry Jones' palace to watch Prince Johnny Pigskin one more time. Pick: Cotton Bowl
5. Georgia (6-3, 4-2)
Where will the Bulldogs bowl? As Todd Gurley gets back into game shape and with a high-profile challenge this week at Auburn, the Bulldogs could finish on a nice run with some added notoriety. If Georgia sweeps out, the Capital One could be in play, but the Bulldogs went there last year and we know bowl officials like variety. Like those packs of chips in which there's always one brand that is left over in mass quantities. Add in that even if the Dogs sweep the last three, 9-3 will feel a little disappointing for a team derailed by injuries, so Georgia's ceiling looks to be the Outback. Pick: Gator Bowl
Saturday: at Auburn, 3:30 (CBS)
6. South Carolina (7-2, 5-2)
Where will the Gamecocks bowl? Want a sneaky Sugar Bowl shocker? Try Steve Spurrier's bunch. South Carolina's bowl range is staggering, going from potentially getting into the SEC title game and playing for a spot in a BCS game or potentially going to the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Spurrier's presence and a devoted fan base will make South Carolina an attractive pick, and the Gamecocks' season-ending game against Clemson could really raise their profile. Pick: Capital One Bowl
Saturday: vs. Florida, 7 (ESPN2)
7. Ole Miss (6-3, 3-3)
Where will the Rebels bowl? With another strong set of fans who could elevate their team, Ole Miss easily could sneak into a Florida bowl considering it could close the season on a six-game winning streak. Still, the season's next-to-last game against Missouri could determine which team goes to Florida and which team stuffs itself on Chick-fil-A sammiches on New Year's Eve. Pick: Chick-fil-A Bowl
Saturday: vs. Troy, noon (ESPNU)
8. LSU (7-3, 3-3)
Where will LSU bowl? You now get to a point where you're looking around and wondering, are the Tigers really headed to the Music City Bowl and does that mean they could play someone like Georgia Tech? Yep, and yep. Very possible indeed. That said, coming off an open week this Saturday, the Tigers have a profile-raising possibility against Texas A&M and a season-ending dunk against Arkansas. If they sweep, they could elevate, but considering LSU went to the Chick-fil-A last year, they would have to jump several spots to get to Florida. Is that likely? Sure. Pick: Music City Bowl
9. Vanderbilt (5-4, 2-4)
Where will Vandy bowl? The greatest stretch in post-World War II Commodores history has been filled with surprising moments and a slew of games in Nashville, including the postseason. Vandy is in line for its third straight bowl trip under James Franklin. Read that again. In fact, Franklin and the 'Dores could very well win out -- vs. Ketucky, at a reeling Tennessee and vs. Wake Forest -- and be facing a real trip to Memphis or even Shreveport. Egad. Vandy AD David Williams may need to pull a page out of the Jay Jacobs playbook. Remember when Jacobs, the Auburn AD, pre-bought all of the Outback Bowl allotment of tickets and guaranteed a big following to the Outback Bowl after Gene Chizik's first year in 2009? A similar move that secures Vandy a higher profile postseason spot would go a long way in keeping Franklin in the 615, considering if a guy can take Vandy to three straight bowl games, what could he do with Southern Cal's talent base? Or Nebraska's? Or, heaven help all of us, Florida's? Pick: BBVA Compass Bowl
Saturday: vs. Kentucky, 12:21 (WDSI)
10. Florida (4-5, 3-4)
Where will Florida bowl? Well, the injury-ravaged Gators -- from the preseason depth chart, Florida has lost its starting QB, starting RB, best WR, two starting tackles, the nation's best defensive tackle, a defensive end and two starting linebackers -- have work to do to make the postseason. In fact, other than the Disappointing Bowl in 10 days when Georgia Southern visits the Swamp, Will Muschamp's Gators will need to upset either South Carolina or Florida State. Where there's a Will there's a way, right? If 2014 is this blah-tastic, we may need to change that cliche to "Where there's a Will, there's a way out the door." Pick: No bowl
Saturday: at South Carolina, 7 (ESPN2)
11. Tennessee (4-6, 1-5)
Where will Tennessee bowl? We had the Vols 6-6 before the season. They need to beat Vandy next week and win at Kentucky the following week. It's doable -- tough but doable. And while a whirlwind holiday in luxurious Memphis or Shreveport seems a little less glamorous, well, it is. But for a young team like the Vols, those extra weeks of practice could be monumental. Pick: Liberty Bowl
12. Mississippi State (4-5, 1-4)
Where will these Bulldogs go bowling? The postseason rests in all likelihood on the season-ending Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving. Mississippi State has little chance against Alabama, no matter how much time the Tide spend practicing in preparation for Auburn. Mississippi State should beat Arkansas the following week in Fayetteville -- and yes, folks, there are plenty of good seats still available for that one -- which means the magical sixth win that could deflect a lot of deflation from Dan Mullen's year rides on a visit from the rival Rebels. Pick: No bowl
Saturday: vs. Alabama, 7:45 (ESPN)
13. Kentucky (2-7, 0-5)
Where will Kentucky bowl? Someone may take the Wildcats on a bowling excursion when the basketball team heads to the Final Four at the end of March.
Saturday at Vanderbilt, 12:21 (WDSI)
14. Arkansas (3-7, 0-5)
Where will Arkansas bowl? The Fayetteville version of the Holiday Bowl in Hixson. Good times. Raise your hand if you knew Auburn would be six games better at this point with Gus Malzahn rather than Mean Gene Chizik. OK, now raise your if you expected Arkansas to be one game worse under Bret Bielema than the financial guru that was John L. Smith? Smile everyone. Smile.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...
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