The Picks: Four SEC teams eye bowl berths

FILE -- Tennessee is one of four SEC teams still vying to become bowl eligible this season. (AP Photo/Wade Payne, File)

[EDITED: 11-10-17] This is the time of the year when the conferences start seriously looking at how many bowl teams they will or might get into games at the end of the season (also known as “ATM season.”)

There is a perception that the more teams you get in the better your conference is, but the problem is that when you send a lot of mediocre teams into bad matchups and lose a lot of those bowl games it drags down the perception of the strength of your conference.

Did that make any sense at all?

Here is what we’re looking at in the SEC:

Seven teams are in — Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, Mississippi State, LSU, Kentucky and South Carolina. Let’s say the SEC gets one team in the playoffs and another goes to the Sugar, there are a lot of slots remaining to be filled.

Therein lies the problem.

Ole Miss is a four-win team that will get to five this week, but the Rebels are banned from the postseason. That leaves, really, four teams battling it out because I don’t think Florida is winning out. I’m not sure the Gators win again.

Arkansas (four wins): at LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri.

Chance of bowl eligibility: Not good. The Hoggies could catch LSU in an Alabama hangover, but they are more likely to go 1-2 and fall short.

Vanderbilt (four wins): Kentucky, Missouri, at Tennessee.

Chance of bowl eligibility: Sure, why not? Missouri is nowhere near as good as it looked last week and who knows where the Vols’ mindsets will be?

Tennessee (four wins): At Missouri, LSU, Vanderbilt.

Chance of bowl eligibility: Good. I know what Vandy did last year but 2-1 seems very likely. Does Butch Jones coach the bowl game? Inquiring minds want to know.

Missouri (four wins): Tennessee, at Vandy, at Arkansas.

Chance of bowl eligibility: Not gonna happen.

It’s important to note that these four teams are 2-18 in SEC play. It Just Means More Bowl Swag.

Moving on, did you see the video of the Alabama fan being dragged out of the stadium for smoking. Google it. Go ahead. Then maybe you won’t notice I went 5-5 last week.

That’s 67-33 for the season for The Picks. Maybe I should take up smoking.

There are a lot of really interesting games this week and I hate to eliminate SEC on SEC crime, so I’m giving you a dozen this week. You’ll thank me later.

FLORIDA AT SOUTH CAROLINA: I’ve had several people ask me if Will Muschamp will run up the score. Naw, it’s a new AD and the coach who replaced him is gone and I’m not sure he knows how to run up the score. Uh-oh, hope I didn’t make him mad. South Carolina, 31-13.

GEORGIA AT AUBURN: The is the oldest rivalry in the South, which has nothing to do with this game. This is one of several de facto playoff games we have this week. Kinda. Georgia, 23-21.

ALABAMA AT MISS. STATE: Mississippi State is a different team at home. Maybe it’s the cow-clackers. It can’t be Starkville. Alabama, 35-21.

NOTRE DAME AT MIAMI: I’m finished picking against Miami. It feels like a team of destiny. That should jinx the ‘Canes. Miami, 35-0.

TCU AT OKLAHOMA: Baker Mayfield against a real defense. A nation of Heisman Trophy voters should turn its lonely eyes to you. Oklahoma, 32-24.

IOWA AT WISCONSIN: Hey, Ohio State. I think Iowa just scored again. Wisconsin, 23-21.

OHIO STATE AT MICHIGAN STATE: Hey, Ohio State. Oh, wait, I already said that. Ohio State, 34-30.

OKLAHOMA STATE AT IOWA STATE: I guess I can jump off my Okie State-to-the-playoffs bandwagon now. Ouch, I sprained my ankle. Oklahoma State,38-23.

ARKANSAS AT LSU: Think about how close LSU is to being 5-4 with some losable games left. This isn’t one of them. LSU, 35-18.

FSU AT CLEMSON: The Seminoles are one of the real mysteries of this college football season. Watch them go and beat Clemson to completely blow our minds. FSU, 31-23.

KENTUCKY AT VANDERBILT: Poor Kentucky. Poor, poor Kentucky. Think Vandy is feeling any sympathy? Kentucky, 27-20.

TENNESSEE AT MISSOURI: Missouri is probably feeling good about itself. Except the people who sat on rocks in the end zone the whole game. Missouri, 38-31.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at And follow at


  1. As a Tennessee fan, even if we somehow win 2 of our next 3 games, we have no business playing in any bowl this year. I’m really excited about the Georgia-Auburn game and think it will have the feel of some of those classic battles between both teams. I’m hoping that Georgia will run the table and that both they and Alabama will be undefeated when they play in the SEC CG and that both teams make the playoffs.

  2. I do not know whether you realize it or not Pat but you continue to document how bad an AD Jeremy Foley really was. As a life long Gator Football Fan and as a UF Alumnus I wish to say that Foley’s total surrender to Title IX was simply disgusting. Let the sun rise on a new Gator Regime. It is now time to start the rebuilding. All Hail Florida Hail!

    • JF made his rep mostly on the Billy Donovan hire. He DID do a good job on the less high profile sports –
      Volleyball, Tennis, Soccer, Baseball, Softball, Gymnastics, Swimming, Golf, Track. Other than women’s basketball JF has hired really good-to-great coaches all across the athletic department. But football IS King and Kozo the Clown, Muschump and McEl-fail are (3) gigantic strikes. JF’s out!

    • Hey Lud: BS! As a lifelong Gator football fan and alum, I have also raised two daughters. One of whom went to college (GW) on a sports scholarship. I could not be more proud of UF’s all sports approach. I am a huge fan of the Lady Gators across the board.How can we not be in this day and age? Having said that, that level of commitment to equality (for which I give enormous credit for to Foley), it should not mean sacrificing quality football. Just do it all. Why can’t we expect that?

  3. fsu over Clemson, AT Clemson? Unless Clemson self-destructs and implodes, that aint happening.

    fsu’s only here wins were against Wake (which they should have lost), Syracuse (which came down to the last play), and another team I can’t even recall right now which tells you how insignificant that was (and they barely won that one too).

    I could see AU pulling the upset, Notre Dame ending Miami’s streak, and TCU pulling off the win too.

    As for UF, I said when they fired mac they should have sent Nussmeier packing too. Unless Coach Shannon intends to totally overhaul what Nuss is doing, we’ll be lucky to score one of our late, fourth quarter TD’s and get out of Columbia with less than a blow-out loss. Hope the Gator surprise me, but I see a team which has just totally quit and has zero faith or trust in their coaches.