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SEC Finishes 7-2 in Bowl Games

SEC Finishes 7-2 in Bowl Games

The college football season has come to a close. Despite all the doubts the season would reach completion due to the ongoing pandemic, the championship game was played Monday night. Alabama took home the title for the seventh time under Nick Saban, passing the legend Bear Bryant.

The SEC’s Reign Continues

Alabama continued the Southeastern Conference’s success atop college football. The win marks the fourth time the SEC has won the College Football Playoff – more than any other conference. It is the third time Alabama has won it.

SEC Finishes 7-2 in Bowl Games
Nick Saban leads all coaches with seven National Championships (photo by bleacherreport.com).

Going back before the CFP, the SEC was responsible for seven of the last eight champions. The success has been unprecedented since 2006. Over that time span there has only been one time the SEC wasn’t national champions in consecutive years. Florida State won the final BCS Championship game in 2013, and Ohio State won the inaugural College Football Playoff in 2014.

For Alabama it is the seventh national title since 2009. The Crimson Tide have dominated the college football world. Nick Saban has yet to coach three consecutive years at Alabama without a championship.

Final Rankings

  • No.1 Alabama (13-0)
  • No.4 Texas A&M (9-1) +1
  • No.7 Georgia (8-2) +4
  • No.13 Florida (8-4) -3

The same four teams that shuffled around all season are once again the only four ranked for the SEC. Georgia jumped the most, capitalizing on some losses from teams in front of them. Florida’s loss dropped them three spots. The Gators lost their final three games of the season but miraculously fell from No.6 to just No.13 over the stretch.

Conference Shines in Bowl Season

Eight Southeastern Conference teams ultimately ended up playing during bowl season. Several teams missed out due to COVID-19 including Tennessee, Arkansas and South Carolina. Nine total games were played, all against ranked opponents.

Teams went 3-1 outside of the New Year’s Six Bowls. Auburn was the lone loss with a drumming at the hands of No.14 Northwestern 35-14. The other three games were upsets against ranked opponents in which all three SEC teams never trailed.

Mississippi State managed to stay about a touchdown ahead of No.24 Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl and ended up winning 28-26. Despite the brawl that marred the victory afterwards, it capped off an impressive end to the season in Mike Leach’s first year.

SEC Finishes 7-2 in Bowl Games
Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral threw for 345 yards and two touchdowns against Indiana (photo by olemiss.rivals.com).

Kentucky showed why their defense was one of the better ones in the conference this season. The Wildcats kept No.23 NC State off the scoreboard until just under three minutes to go in the third quarter. A late spurt by the Wolfpack wasn’t enough in the end as Kentucky won 23-21.

The highest ranked opponent outside of the NY6 was No.11 Indiana. Ole Miss dominated the game early and often, going into the fourth quarter with a 20-6 lead. The Hoosiers would make a late push and against all odds, the Rebel defense was up to the challenge and held on to win 26-20. It was the lowest point total allowed all season.

New Year’s Six Bowls

It started out ugly as No.7 Florida got annihilated by No.6 Oklahoma. The Sooners seemed to score at will and overwhelmed the Gators defensively. It was the worst game in Kyle Trask’s career at Florida as the offense was very challenged without it’s top weapons. Oklahoma won 55-20.

The Peach Bowl was arguably the most thrilling game in the conference. No.8 Cincinnati came out of the gates firing and gave Georgia all they could handle. The Bulldogs led for about three minutes all game until a go ahead field goal at the very end of the game. A game ending safety gave them the win 24-21.

SEC Finishes 7-2 in Bowl Games
Freshman runningback Devon Achane had a breakout game against UNC with 140 yards and two touchdowns (photo by expressnews.com).

Another thriller came in the Orange Bowl with UNC against Texas A&M. The Aggies found themselves down 27-20 with just under 14 minutes to go. As has been the case all season, A&M took off late in the game and routed the Tarheels 21-0 to end the game. The final score of 41-27 was Jimbo Fisher’s third consecutive bowl win in three years in College Station.

Alabama was the icing on a cake with a pair of dominant blowout wins in the playoff. The first came against Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl. A touchdown by the Fighting Irish in the final minute made the final score 31-14. The following week the Crimson Tide flexed their offensive muscles and thumped Ohio State 52-24 in a rematch from 2014.

The strong finish to a weird 2020 season has the conference continuing in the right direction. Several up and coming teams are hoping to ride the momentum to a stronger 2021. And as always, Alabama will be one of the favorites for next year.

 

 

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