This is the CBS Local SEC Football Report. Every week, this space will recap the results and top performances from the Southeastern Conference and look ahead to key match-ups the following week.
Bulldogs Get Revenge
Georgia met Auburn on Saturday afternoon for the conference championship, just three weeks after being blown out by the Tigers, 40-17, at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Clearly, the Bulldogs didn’t forget the embarrassment they felt after that game because they dominated the second meeting between the two teams, in much the same way that Auburn dominated the first. The Bulldogs rushed 41 times for a total of 238 yards (5.8 YPC) and held Auburn to just 114 yards on 31 carries (3.7 YPC) en route to a 28-7 win.
The bigger plus side for the Bulldogs was the vastly improved play of QB Jake Fromm, who completed 16 of his 22 pass attempts for 183 yards and two touchdowns. That’s a much more efficient outing than his 13/28 for 184 and one TD the first time around. Fromm didn’t take over the game by any means, but he hit the plays that the defense was giving him, which is something that couldn’t be said in the first meeting.
Auburn took the early 7-0 lead, but the Bulldogs settled in after that, scoring 28 over the final three quarters, including the back-breaker by freshman RB DeAndre Swift.
The conference title is Georgia’s first since 2005 and it comes in just the second year of Kirby Smart’s tenure with the team.
SEC Gets Two Teams Into The College Football Playoff
After the results of championship weekend, there was a lot of debate late Saturday night into early Sunday morning about which team should get the number four spot in the playoff: Ohio State or Alabama. The Buckeyes had the benefit of having won the Big Ten championship 27-21 over previously undefeated Wisconsin. But, they finished the season with two losses, one to Oklahoma (the Big 12 champ) and one to unranked Iowa by 31 points.
Alabama, on the other hand, finished 11-1 with a loss to Auburn on the road by 12. They didn’t play in their conference championship game, which was the big sticking point for many pundits considering their resume.
Right or wrong, the committee decided to go with Alabama for the fourth spot in the playoff, giving the SEC two teams in contention for the title. It also sets up a rematch between Alabama and number one Clemson as they’ll meet in the All State Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day for the right to play in the national championship. Georgia battles Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl earlier in the day on New Year’s.
Coaching Carousel Continues To Spin
It’s the end of the regular season and just prior to the beginning of bowl season which means the coaching carousel is spinning fast and furious. Here’s all the news from the past week in the SEC coaching world.
Florida found it’s new head coach last week when it hired Dan Mullen.
Tennessee fired its Athletic Director after a botched search process and replaced him with former head coach Phillip Fulmer who is now re-setting the entire process.
Texas A&M made the biggest splash of the carousel so far by luring Jimbo Fisher away from Florida State with a 10-year $75 million contract that is fully guaranteed.
Arkansas let Bret Bielema walk and struck out on trying to lure Gus Malzahn away from Auburn as he inked a new multi-year extension.
Mississippi State brought in Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead to try and continue the winning culture that Dan Mullen had built there over the past several years.
SEC Places Nine Teams In Bowl Games
Aside from the top two teams who are in contention for the playoff, the conference as a whole placed seven other teams in various bowl games that will be played out leading up to the big games on New Year’s Day. Only five teams within the conference weren’t eligible for a bowl bid: Ole Miss (6-6 self-imposed bowl ban), Vanderbilt (5-7), Florida (4-7), Arkansas (4-8), Tennessee (4-8). So, with the regular season behind us and the bowl match-ups set, let’s take a look at the bowl schedule for the SEC and we’ll preview those match-ups in a couple of weeks.
Wednesday, December 27th
Academy Sports & Outdoors Texas Bowl- Texas (6-6) vs. Missouri (7-5)
Friday, December 29th
Belk Bowl- Wake Forest (7-5) vs. Texas A&M (7-5)
Friday, December 29th
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl- Kentucky (7-5) vs. #21 Northwestern (9-3)
Taxslayer Bowl- Louisville (8-4) vs. #23 Mississippi State (8-4)
Monday, January 1st
Outback Bowl- Michigan (8-4) vs. South Carolina (8-4)
Chick Fil A Peach Bowl- #12 UCF (12-0) vs. #7 Auburn (10-3)
Citrus Bowl- #14 Notre Dame (9-3) vs. #17 LSU (9-3)
Rose Bowl- #3 Georgia (12-1) vs. #2 Oklahoma (12-1)
AllState Sugar Bowl- #4 Alabama (11-1) vs. #1 Clemson (12-1)
Thanks for checking in throughout the season on the SEC Football Report, we’ll be back once again when bowl season kicks off for these teams the week after the holidays. For now, enjoy the Army-Navy game this weekend and the beginning of bowl season.