Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.
At first look, you might have thought Alabama’s 24-21 loss to LSU on Saturday pushed Kentucky down a rung on the SEC bowl ladder.
Not so fast, my friend.
Sure, for Kentucky to get a better bowl, besides finishing the season with wins over Vanderbilt and Tennessee, the Cats need for two SEC teams to be in BCS bowls. The way to do that is to have one SEC team in the BCS title game, and another team near the top of the BCS standings, thus making it more inviting for an at-large bid. That moves the remaining teams up a notch when it comes to the league’s numerous bowl tie-ins.
Going into Saturday, Auburn and Alabama both appeared in great position for BCS bowl status. But then Alabama fell 24-21 to the genius that is Les Miles and LSU on Saturday, dropping the Crimson Tide to 7-2 and surely from its lofty No. 6 BCS ranking.
Ah, but LSU is now 8-1. The Tigers could be as high as No. 5 when the BCS rankings are released today. If that’s the case, and Auburn stays at either No. 1 or No. 2, then LSU would be a prime candidate for the Sugar Bowl, which would help the rest of the SEC members.
For Kentucky, the difference could be whether the Cats go to the Music City, the Liberty or the Birmingham Bowl.
My projections as of today:
- BCS title game: Auburn. If the Tigers beat Georgia on Saturday, they wrap up the SEC West no matter what happens in the Auburn-Alabama game.
- Sugar: LSU. Les Miles’ club still has a tough game left with Arkansas. If it can beat the Razorbacks, it will hold on to the Sugar Bowl bid.
- Capital One: Alabama. Disappointing year for Nick Saban’s team. A loss to Auburn would saddle the Crimson Tide with three losses.
- Cotton: Mississippi State. Only a collapse would keep the Bulldogs out of Dallas.
- Outback: Florida. I’m basing this on Florida beating South Carolina this Saturday in Gainesville. If South Carolina wins, the Gamecocks get the Outback.
- Chic-fil-A: South Carolina. Read Outback Bowl.
- Gator: Arkansas. If the Razorbacks beat LSU, Bobby Petrino’s club could find itself in the Cotton Bowl, or maybe even the Outback.
- Music City: Georgia. Some think the Music City would not pass on a 7-5 Kentucky, but I’m not so sure, especially if Georgia upsets Auburn.
- Liberty: Kentucky. Only if the Cats beat Tennessee. If UK loses in Knoxville, Tennessee would be in a better position for the Liberty, and Kentucky would slip to the Birmingham Bowl. (And I know, there is still the UK-U of L basketball conflict with this bowl.)
- Birmingham Bowl: Ole Miss. To get here, the Rebels have to beat Tennessee this week, then beat either LSU or Mississippi State.