With the release of the latest College Football Playoff rankings, it seems likely that four SEC teams will play in New Year’s Six bowls. Florida and LSU are ranked #9 and 10, respectively, in the latest rankings, and it seems unlikely that either would fall below #11 in the final rankings. Things could get hairy if Northwestern or Pitt wins its conference championship on Saturday, though we can feel pretty sure that both Florida and LSU will be playing in the New Year’s bowls.
As we discussed the other day, four SEC teams in the New Year’s Six would mean that Vanderbilt would fall into the Pool of Six bowl games — those are Belk, Gator, Liberty, Music City, Outback, and Texas. Which one would we want to go to? Not that we’ll get our way, but here goes.
Pros: Vanderbilt hasn’t played here before, so that’s a positive. Charlotte’s an all right city with a nice stadium, and the Belk Bowl probably has the best bowl Twitter account.
Cons: The other tie-in is with the ACC, so we’ll probably get matched up with someone like Wake Forest or Duke or Virginia or Georgia Tech or... wait, you know what, this really belongs under “Pros.” The only real negative I can think of is that the bowl game in Charlotte has never had a name that wasn’t a corporate sponsor — first it was the Continental Tire Bowl, then the Meineke Car Care Bowl, and now it’s the Belk Bowl.
Pros: While Vanderbilt has played in the Gator Bowl before, it’s been a really long time — 63 years, to be exact. The Gator Bowl is one of the older bowls, and as parlagi pointed out the other day, the older bowls tend to be the best in terms of overall fan experience. Also, it’s in Florida, so if you’re into nice weather around the holidays, there’s that.
Cons: While it’s in Florida, it’s in Jacksonville. And on the other side is a weird ACC/Big Ten joint tie-in, so we’d probably play someone like Iowa here. Also, no way does the SEC have this one. And we can’t forgive them for dropping “Gator” for a few years and just naming themselves after title sponsor TaxSlayer, which isn’t even a fun corporate sponsor.
Pros: Memphis! If you think I am about to take potshots at my hometown, you’re out of your damn mind. And the other tie-in is with the Big 12 or occasionally the AAC, which is... different, but in a good way.
Cons: Honestly, the stadium blows. It’s not Legion Field levels of bad, just a 1960s-era relic that is not much fun. We’ve also been here recently, in 2011, when James Franklin managed to allow Butch Jones (then the head coach at Cincinnati) to beat him.
Music City Bowl
Pros: Ummmmmm... you can sleep in your own bed?
Cons: Plenty. We’ve been here twice within the last decade, in both 2008 (our first bowl game in 26 years) and 2012, and both were the result of lazy bowl slotting by those in charge of these things. (“Well Vanderbilt doesn’t travel so let’s just put them in the Music City.”) I don’t think either Vanderbilt or the Music City Bowl particularly want this to happen. Let’s just move on.
Pros: It’s in Tampa, which is the one place in this group that you’d really want to be around New Year’s. Warm weather and what, by all accounts, is a pretty cool stadium.
Cons: Corporate sponsor name and Big Ten opponent. And it wouldn’t be Penn State, so no, we wouldn’t have a shot at exacting revenge on the Ol’ Bald Poach. Oh yeah — like the SEC would ever let us have this one.
Pros: Well, those of you who go to the bowl game can come hang out with me in Houston, for starters. Also Zach Cunningham, who plays his home games in the same stadium these days. Houston will occasionally get a cold snap around New Year’s, but it’s generally pretty mild this time of year. It’s also a Big 12 tie-in, and they usually will get one of the more decent Big 12 teams and not the team that barely snuck in at 6-6.
Cons: NRG Stadium. It sucks.
Cons: Screw you, College Football Playoff committee, if you boot LSU from a New Year’s Six bowl and send us here again.
So, which bowl game do you want? Answer in the comments.