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SMITH COLUMN: SEC having another good bowl season

January 4, 2012

No one should have expected the Southeastern Conference to go undefeated during the 2011-12 college football bowl season.
It's not just because two SEC teams in LSU and Alabama play for the Bowl Championship Series National Championship on Monday.
Even with the dominance the SEC has each year, there's usually a speed bump or two along the way. Although it has been done, it's just tough for one particular conference to get through an entire bowl slate winning every game.
Through six games so far, the SEC has compiled a record of 4-2.
Mississippi State got the conference off to a good start last Friday when it defeated Wake Forest 23-17 at the Music City Bowl.
If someone had told me prior to the game that the Bulldogs would have four turnovers and the Demon Deacons would have over an 11-minute advantage of possession time, then it would have been hard to believe they had enough in other areas to pull out a victory.
It was definitely tough at times for MSU in Nashville, Tenn., especially in the first half, but credit head coach Dan Mullen and his staff for keeping everyone focused on the task at hand despite the adversity.
On New Year's Eve, two SEC squads had games and there was a split as Vanderbilt lost a 31-24 decision to Cincinnati, the Auburn dominated Virginia 43-24 in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
There were three more SEC teams in action on Monday with Florida defeating Ohio State 24-17 at the Gator Bowl, South Carolina knocking off Nebraska 30-13 at the Capital One Bowl and Georgia losing to Michigan State 33-30 in overtime at the Outback Bowl.
Vanderbilt and Georgia had close losses in games it could have easily won. As difficult as it is, the league could be undefeated in bowl games at this point with a successful play here or there.
The SEC has two more chances at wins with Arkansas taking on Kansas State at the Cotton Bowl Friday and LSU playing Alabama.
After the dust settles late Monday, the conference will be either 6-3 or 5-4. The SEC is guaranteed to get one more win with the Bama-LSU winner.
Being able to come out of the postseason with a winning mark, plus another national championship, can only put another feather in the cap of the SEC.

Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.

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