SEC squads featured in 9 bowl games over the next week

Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe (top) holds up the most valuable player trophy after the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game against Georgia in Atlanta, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Arkansas’ 4-8 finish left the Razorbacks on the outside looking in this bowl season, but between Wednesday and Monday, nine SEC squads will be featured in bowl games.

Here are my picks for the bowl games involving SEC teams as well as the national semifinals and finals. My picks are just for fun. I wouldn’t bet on any of these games, and I certainly warn against using any pick of mine as guidance.

The SEC bowl action kicks off at 8 p.m. Wednesday on ESPN when the Texas A&M Aggies (7-5) face the No. 20 Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-4) in the Texas Bowl. The Aggies are favored by 1.5 points, but I’m picking the Cowboys.

The Kentucky Wildcats (7-5) meet the No. 22 Clemson Tigers (8-4) at 11 a.m. Friday on ESPN in the Gator Bowl. Clemson is a 5.5-point favorite, but I’m going against the odds again and picking the Wildcats.

The upstart No. 9 Missouri Tigers (10-2) meet the No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1) at 7 p.m. Friday on ESPN in the Cotton Bowl. The Tigers are a 1.5-point favorite, but I’m going with the underdog Buckeyes.

The No. 11 Ole Miss Rebels (10-2) face the No. 10 Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2) at 11 a.m. Saturday on ESPN in the Peach Bowl. The Nittany Lions are a 3.5-point favorite with their great defense, but again I’m going against the odds and picking the Rebels.

The Auburn Tigers (6-6) meets Maryland Terrapins (7-5) at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Music City Bowl on ABC. Auburn is a 7-point favorite, and as much as I dislike picking Hugh Freeze’s team, I’m taking the Tigers in perhaps the least interesting game involving an SEC team.

The No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs (12-1) meets No. 5 Florida State Seminoles (13-0) at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Orange Bowl on ESPN. This game could have been a national semifinal game, but the Bulldogs are massive 14-point favorites. It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if the Seminoles upset Georgia, but I don’t think that happens. The Bulldogs win and possibly cover.

The No. 13 LSU Tigers (9-3) play the Wisconsin Badgers (7-5) in the ReliaQuest Bowl at 11 a.m. Monday on ESPN2. The Tigers are 9.5-point favorites. I’m picking LSU, but wouldn’t be surprised if Wisconsin won.

The No. 17 Iowa Cornhuskers (10-3) face the No. 21 Tennessee Volunteers (8-4) at noon Monday on ABC in the Citrus Bowl in what might be a sneaky good matchup. The Vols are 8.5-point favorites, but for some reason I think Iowa’s defense has its way.

The No. 1 Michigan Wolverines (13-0) face The No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1) at 4 p.m. Monday on ESPN in the Rose Bowl. Michigan is a 1.5-point favorite, but I think Alabama won the national title by nipping Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. The Crimson Tide just have two more hoops to jump through. The first is beating Michigan.

The No. 2 Washington Huskies (13-0) face the No. 3 Texas Longhorns (12-1) at 7:45 p.m. Monday on ESPN. It galls me to pick the Longhorns, but they are a 4.5-point favorite, and I think the Steers win.

That would pit Texas against Alabama for a rematch of their Week 2 game, which Texas won easily at Tuscaloosa, in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 8 on ESPN.

With Texas joining the SEC this summer along with Oklahoma, it’s a de facto all-SEC title game. Texas spanked Alabama, 34-24, on Sept. 8, and the game wasn’t as close as the final score. However, I pick Alabama to win, if this is the actual matchup we get in the title game.