2019-2020 SEC Bowl Projections
Independence Bowl – Dec. 26; Shreveport, La.; 4 p.m.; ESPN
Ole Miss Rebels vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
As a second tier bowl, the Independence Bowl has one of the last two teams from the SEC and ACC. The Ole Miss Rebels will be the last team in the West to make it, and Louisiana will be an ideal location for them. They will face a Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets team that is solid but going through a transition with new head coach Geoff Collins.
Texas Bowl – Dec. 27; Houston Texas; 6:45 p.m.; ESPN
Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. TCU Horned Frogs
Like the Independence Bowl, the Texas Bowl would do better with SEC West teams. But as a higher tier, it will take the Mississippi State Bulldogs, who will be above the bottom tier SEC bowl teams this college football season. MSU will face the TCU Horned Frogs, a middle of the pack Big 12 team going to an ideal location for travel.
Music City Bowl – Dec. 30; Nashville, Tenn.; 4 p.m.; ESPN
LSU Tigers vs. Indiana Hoosiers
As the LSU Tigers slowly fade, they’ll at least get a Music City Bowl invite. Ed Orgeron will get the luckiest draw of any SEC team this bowl season by going, since he will face the Indiana Hoosiers, who will be a middle of the pack Big Ten team and are ideally located to head to Nashville. Indiana could have more fans here.
Belk Bowl – Dec. 31; Charlotte, N.C.; Noon; ESPN
Tennessee Volunteers vs. Virginia Tech Hokies
We predicted the Vols to go 7-5 this year, and while that should put them in a lower-tier bowl, their history of fans will send them to the Belk Bowl, where they will meet the Virginia Tech Hokies in a Battle of Bristol rematch. The Belk Bowl, being in North Carolina, obviously prefers SEC East teams. So this game will be great for both fan bases due to proximity.
Liberty Bowl – Dec. 31; Memphis, Tenn.; 3:45 p.m.; ESPN
Vanderbilt Commodores vs. West Virginia Mountaineers
Despite losing Kyle Shurmur, Derek Mason’s the Vanderbilt Commodores should take a step forward and get a winning record. That will send them west on I-40 to Memphis to the Liberty Bowl, a great location for them. The West Virginia Mountaineers have a Big 12 fan base that travels, so as they have a solid year under a new head coach, they’ll be ready to meet Vandy there.
Outback Bowl – Jan. 1; Tampa, Fla.; 1 p.m.; ESPN
Missouri Tigers vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers
One of the higher tier bowl games, the Outback Bowl usually takes the second or third best team from a division. In this case, they’ll take the Missouri Tigers, who will finish third in the East. Meanwhile, the Nebraska Cornhuskers will get the Big Ten draw due to their turnaround college football season in the West. It’ll be an old Big 12 rivalry renewed in Florida.
Citrus Bowl – Jan. 1; Orlando, Fla.; 1 p.m.; ABC
Texas A&M Aggies vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
Jimbo Fisher will take the Texas A&M Aggies to another level this year, and they will finish second in the SEC West. That’ll get them a Citrus Bowl invite, the top bowl for SEC and Big Ten teams that don’t make a New Year’s Six Bowl. This year, the Ohio State Buckeyes will fall back too, but they’ll still be good, which sends them to Orlando as well.
Birmingham Bowl – Jan. 2; Birmingham, Ala.; 3 p.m.; ESPN
South Carolina Gamecocks vs. UCF Knights
We’re back to one of the bottom two tier bowl games. Since the Independence Bowl does better with West teams, the Birmingham Bowl should take the East team. The South Carolina Gamecocks will finish sixth in the East and go here. They’ll face a UCF Knights team that finally does not win the AAC, but it will come close.
TaxSlayer/Gator Bowl – Jan. 2; Jacksonville, Fla.; 7 p.m.; ESPN
Auburn Tigers vs. Iowa Hawkeyes
Gus Malzahn’s Auburn Tigers will take a step forward this year without winning the SEC West. But they’ll be a top 25 team and earn a TaxSlayer Bowl invite to face the other team in competition to win the Big Ten West but lose it to the Wisconsin Badgers, the Iowa Hawkeyes. So Auburn will face Iowa in Jacksonville while Missouri faces Nebraska in Tampa.