The SEC is always going to stand a good chance of landing two BCS bowl berths, and that’s with or without a team in the BCS National Championship Game.
With both Auburn and LSU unbeaten right now, the winner of their game this Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium would certainly position itself nicely to potentially play for the national title. Don't forget about Alabama, either. The Crimson Tide are back within striking distance.
The SEC has sent two teams to BCS bowls each of the past four years. Extending that streak to five consecutive years looks promising for the league, which means everybody else moves up in the bowl pecking order.
The SEC has agreements to send nine of its teams to bowl games this season, but that number grows to 10 teams assuming two get BCS invites.
The Capital One Bowl gets the first choice following the BCS selections and typically takes the highest ranked team.
Bowl games are also looking to get teams on the rise, and that would be Mississippi State this season. The Bulldogs have won four in a row and have an excellent chance to make it five in a row this weekend with UAB coming to town.
At this point, Tennessee (2-4, 0-3) and Vanderbilt (2-4, 1-2) are probably the two teams least likely to qualify for a bowl game. Ole Miss (3-3, 1-2) needs to get busy, too. The Rebels have to come up with three more wins to be bowl eligible and still have to play at Arkansas, at LSU and at Tennessee. They close the season at home against arch-rival Mississippi State.
There’s a still long way to go, but here’s my first stab at how the bowl lineup might shake out for the SEC:
Tostitos BCS National Championship Game (Jan. 10, 8:30 p.m. ET): Alabama vs. BCS team
Allstate Sugar Bowl (Jan. 4, 8:30 p.m. ET): Auburn vs. BCS team
Capital One Bowl (Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET): LSU vs. Big Ten team
AT&T Cotton Bowl (Jan. 7, 8 p.m. ET): Arkansas vs. Big 12 team
Outback Bowl (Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET): South Carolina vs. Big Ten team
Chick-fil-A Bowl (Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m. ET): Mississippi State vs. ACC team
Gator Bowl (Jan. 1, 1:30 p.m. ET): Georgia vs. Big Ten team
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (Dec. 30, 6:40 p.m. ET): Florida vs. ACC team
AutoZone Liberty Bowl (Dec. 31, 3:30 p.m. ET) : Kentucky vs. Conference USA team
Birmingham Bowl (Jan. 8, noon ET): Ole Miss vs. Big East team