LSU is still our projected SEC representative for the College Football Playoff after surviving a previously unbeaten Florida team to remain undefeated. However, since its loss to Ole Miss in September, Alabama has played like the best team in the conference.
Alabama and LSU will meet in three weeks. The winner will be the favorite to make the playoff, while the loser will still be in play for a New Year’s Six bowl game.
Florida actually moved up into a New Year’s Six bowl game in this week's projections despite Saturday’s loss to LSU. Why, you ask? For starters, this team is legit. Despite losing their starting quarterback earlier in the week and facing the nation’s best player on the road, the Gators hung tough and kept it a one-score game for most of the second half. Second, looking at the remaining schedule, there's a real possibility Florida could win out.
Meanwhile, Texas A&M dropped out of the New Year’s Six and into the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl after losing to Alabama on Saturday. The team might have fallen further, but no one in that middle tier of bowl games looks better than the Aggies right now.
Speaking of that middle tier, Auburn moved back into it thanks to a win at Kentucky on Thursday. Talks of Gus Malzahn’s Tigers not making a bowl game might have been a bit premature. And as a reminder, the six teams in that middle tier will be selected to a bowl game by the SEC depending on proximity and matchups. So they’re not listed by rank but rather by the date of the game, from latest (AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Jan. 2) to earliest (AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl, Dec. 29).
Rounding out this week’s SEC bowl projections are Missouri and Arkansas. Missouri drops down, not because of a close loss on the road to Georgia but because of a struggling offense that hasn’t shown signs of life in two games. The Tigers are still a bowl team, but a 1-3 start in conference is not ideal.
Now here are this week’s SEC bowl projections:
College Football Playoff semifinal (Cotton Bowl): LSU
Allstate Sugar Bowl: Alabama
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Florida
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl: Texas A&M
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Auburn
TaxSlayer Bowl: Georgia
Outback Bowl: Ole Miss
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Kentucky
Belk Bowl: Tennessee
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl: Mississippi State
Birmingham Bowl: Missouri
Camping World Independence Bowl: Arkansas
Outside looking in: South Carolina and Vanderbilt.