COLUMBIA, Mo. • A couple quick notes on the newly constructed SEC bowl lineup. Mark Womack, the league’s executive associate commissioner, took questions during today’s SEC conference call.
* The league has 10 guaranteed bowl spots: One in the College Football Playoff and then nine bowl games: Citrus, Outback, Belk, Liberty, Music City, Texas, Taxslayer, Birmingham and Independence.
* After the College Football Playoff selection committee chooses its bowl participants, the Citrus Bowl has first choice among remaining bowl-eligible SEC teams. The Citrus — formerly the Capital One Bowl — is not required to take the SEC championship game runner-up. Over the course of its six-year agreement, the Citrus has to take the SEC runner-up at least once.
* If the SEC champion is not selected for CFP semifinal bowls in the four-team playoff, it is guaranteed a spot in either the Cotton, Fiesta or Peach. Those three, along with the Orange, make up the rest of the CFP playoff rotation, but they are not hosting the semifinals this year.
The SEC champion would not be eligible for the Orange Bowl. The Orange is a contract bowl and its two spots will be filled by the ACC champion or, if the ACC champion is in the four-team playoff, the highest ranked replacement team from the ACC versus the highest-ranked team among this pool: non-champions from the SEC or Big Ten or Notre Dame.
So, if the SEC East champion, Georgia or Missouri, would beat the West champion in Atlanta for the SEC title but not get picked for the four-team playoff, the SEC champion would be guaranteed a spot in the Cotton, Fiesta or Peach.
* This will the first year of the SEC’s so-called Pool of Six. After the CFP and Citrus make their selections, the SEC league office will decide its SEC participants for six bowls: Outback, Belk, Liberty, Music City, Texas and Taxslayer. There is no pecking order within these six and no significant differences between payouts, Womack said.
“We’ll certainly have discussions with the bowls on which teams they have interest in,” Womack said. “We’ll certainly have discussions with our institutions about which bowls they would have an interest in. But at the end of the day, the conference will make the decision as to how those teams would be placed in those six bowls.”
Womack said SEC commissioner Mike Slive and his staff will make the final decisions about which bowls those six teams will play. What factors will the SEC take into account? The league will look to avoid regular-season rematches and rematches from recent bowl games.
“If you get into a situation where you get several teams that would have interest in the same bowl, you’d start to look at geography, regular-season rematches … records and head-to-head (results) and those type of things,” Womack said. “All of those elements would be factored into the placement of the Pool of Six by the conference.”
After the Pool of Six, the Birmingham picks among remaining eligible SEC teams, then the Independence.
* The SEC has eight bowl-eligible teams: Alabama, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Auburn, LSU and Texas A&M from the West; Missouri and Georgia from the East. Five more can become bowl eligible: Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas.
If the SEC has more bowl-eligible teams than available bowl spots, Womack said he’s hopeful the league could place an SEC team in a non-SEC bowl.
* What about a possible Texas A&M-Texas matchup in a bowl game? There have been some rumblings that the former Southwest Conference and Big 12 rivals would be opposed to playing each other in, say, the Texas Bowl in Houston. The Liberty Bowl in Memphis is also an SEC-Big 12 matchup.
“I think it’s way too early to look at what potential matchups in games could be,” Womack said. “The first thing we have to do is (figure out) what is the pool of teams we’re going to have available after the College Football Playoff bowl games are filled? What teams do we have? Where’s the interest from our bowls? Where’s the interest from our schools? At this point its’ way too early to start taking about particular matchups and particular games.”
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