Alabama Football: Time for SEC bowl bonanza to begin

Alabama Football has the big one, but the eight other bowl games SEC teams are in are also important to conference prestige.

Ricardo Brazziell / USA TODAY NETWORK
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With Alabama Football back in its rightful post-season place; the CFB Playoff, Crimson Tide fans may have limited interest in any bowl games other than the Rose and the Sugar. That is understandable given the jumbled rosters of some teams, flooded with opt-outs and Transfer Portal exits.

Alabama football fans might enjoy Georgia beating up on FSU in the Orange Bowl, except for the Seminoles having to elevate third-teamers to starters. If Georgia takes the game seriously, it will be a mismatch. The Noles, at full roster strength, were not going to beat Georgia. Now the game could get ugly.

College football pundits are inclined to rate Power Five conferences based on bowl and Playoff wins and losses. The games are not a good measuring stick for the strength of conferences, but every year the results are scrutinized. The last couple of bowl seasons have not been kind to the SEC. The leagues's record in the 2021-22 season was 6-8, with three of the wins in the CFB Playoff. With two Playoff wins in the 2022-23 season, the SEC record was 7-5.

The last season of dominating SEC performance was 2020-21, when the league's record was 7-2, The Crimson Tide won two of the seven. The SEC losers were Auburn and Florida.

What makes this bowl season more interesting than normal is six SEC teams will play six Big Ten teams.

2023-24 SEC Bowl Games

Wed. 12/27, 8:00 PM CST - Texas Bowl - Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma State

Most sportsbooks had the Aggies as a slight favorite, but that has changed to the Cowboys. Oklahoma State has been hurt far less by player exits. A win by the Cowboys will not surprise.

Thur. 12/28, 11:00 AM CST - Gator Bowl - Kentucky vs. Clemson

The Tigers are nearly a touchdown favorite and even in a down year, Clemson likely has the better team. But the Tigers will have the more depleted roster, with as many as five or six starters not playing. An upset by Kentucky could happen.

Fri. 12/29, 7:00 PM CST - Cotton Bowl - Missouri vs. Ohio State

Except for two injured players, Missouri should be at full strength. The Buckeyes will play without QB, Kyle McCord and WR Julian Fleming. Ohio State could also have more late attrition. The Buckeyes are slight favorites, but Missouri has a good chance to win.

Sat. 12/30, 11:00 AM CST - Peach Bowl - Ole Miss vs. Penn State

Penn State is a small favorite, but some fans see the game as a toss-up. Neither team has been ravaged by player exits. It should be a good game.

Sat. 12/30, 1:00 PM CST - Music City Bowl - Auburn vs. Maryland

Some (maybe many) Alabama football fans will root for Maryland, even with Tulia Tagovailoa sitting out. Auburn is a touchdown favorite, and despite the train wreck Hugh Freeze has led this season, Auburn should prevail.

Sat. 12/30, 3:00 PM CST - Orange Bowl - Georgia vs. Florida State

As noted above the Dawgs should win - big.

Mon. 1/1, 11:00 AM CST - ReliaQuest Bowl - LSU vs. Wisconsin

The Badgers might be down as many as seven starters. LSU will not have Jayden Daniels and defensive back Sage Ryan. The Bengal Tigers are almost a double-digit favorite. Even without the Heisman winner, LSU should win.

Mon. 1/1, 1:00 PM CST - Citrus Bowl - Tennessee vs. Iowa

The Vols can score. The Hawkeyes can defend. The clash of styles could be interesting. Tennessee is a touchdown favorite and should win.

Alabama Football and the Rose Bowl

The Granddaddy is scheduled for 4:00 PM CST on New Year's Day. As of Tuesday night, the Wolverines are still a slight favorite. Don't be misled. Michigan is a good team with some great players and it will lose to a better team with more great players.

Next. Coaches Pick Tide. SEC and Big Ten coaches talk Bama vs. Michigan. dark