The SEC should take great pride in being the last Power 5 conference to start bowl action
The Pac-12, arguably the nation’s best football conference last year, will incredibly play in five bowl games before any SEC program suits up; and that includes the absurdity of Utah — ranked No. 3 nationally in late October — playing on Bowl Opening Day (Dec. 19) … or 10 days before LSU tackles Texas Tech in the Texas Bowl.
(In fairness, the Utes are undoubtedly super-pumped for their Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl clash with BYU, their most loathsome rival. The two schools previously met for 91 straight years, from 1922-2013.)
Consider the above nugget to be additional proof of how the SEC and Big Ten are the true media darlings of the TV and corporate worlds. Yes, the Big 12, Pac-12 and ACC boast some amazing programs in the college landscape; but from a time-tested perspective, the SEC and Big Ten seldom draw the short end of the stick during the holidays.
On the down side, husbands and boyfriends in the South cannot use the “SEC bowl” excuse in the days immediately before and after Christmas, when confronted with honey-do lists from their wives and girlfriends.
All 10 games featuring SEC members — from the Birmingham Bowl (Auburn versus Memphis) to the Cotton Bowl (Playoff semifinal, Alabama versus Michigan State) — will be compressed into one dizzying 60-hour stretch.
Which brings us to this: Here’s hoping you didn’t commit to any grand plans on New Year’s Eve, at least before the national-semifinal pairings were announced. A large handful of fine-dining restaurants and ballrooms in the South — particularly Atlanta — don’t offer bar-area TV sets as sidebar entertainment.
Jay Clemons, the 2015 national winner for “Sports Blog Of The Year” (Cynopsis Media), has previously written for SI.com, The National Football Post, Bleacher Report and FOX Sports.