SEC ought to roll in all their bowls

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 26, 2001

Bowls, bowls, bowls! It’s just that time of year that’s all, and I’m particularly interested in those being played this week.

Georgia’s on my mind, but first, Southeastern Conference folks will see Alabama of the SEC take on Iowa State in the Independence Bowl at Shreveport this very night. Then tomorrow night (Dec. 28), Georgia will grapple Boston College in the Music City Bowl at Nashville.

Having Georgia on mind, I would just like to remind that this school’s football teams have historically been hard-nosed. So Boston College had better watch out. The Bulldogs lost to South Carolina early in the season, then won four straight before falling to Florida and Auburn. The Dawgs then zapped Ole Miss 35-15, Georgia Tech 31-17 and Houston 35-7 getting ready for that good ole Nashville sound.

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Georgia’s favored by seven over BC, incidentally. The winner’s gonna receive $750,000 for winning, but the loser will get that much also. The Independence, incidentally, shells out a million bucks to each of its participants. Shreveport’s coming up in the (bowl) world. Great city, actually.

They &uot;only&uot; have about 25 post-season bowl games, so you know there will be a slew of really good games. Auburn vs. North Carolina, for instance, in Atlanta’s Peach Bowl Dec. 31, should be a whale of a contest. Each team will get upwards of two million (1.8) sheckles. Winning’s what they’re there for, though.

And Natchez’s close neighbors out of Baton Rouge – the LSU Tigers, no less – may be 9-3 on the season, but they’re highly-regarded, although underdogs in the Sugar Bowl to Illinois. Just by six points. I look for LSU to out-defense the Illini down in the Big Easy. It’s a New Year’s Day game, remember.

You’ve noticed, I know, that eight SEC teams are in bowls, and six are favored to win. Go, SEC!

Alabama’s favored over Iowa State in the Independence; Tennessee by seven over Michigan at Orlando; Georgia’s favored over BC in the Music City; Auburn’s picked by just one point in the Peach; ditto for S. Carolina over Ohio State in the Outback; then Florida by 12 over Maryland in the Orange Bowl; and LSU is &uot;unfavored&uot; by six to Illinois in the Sugar (sweet one).

Dixie’s sold on its Southeastern Conference, and so are most oddsmakers. Which reminds me that Arkansas is a 10-point underdog to Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, a two million-dollar bowl stop in Dallas for both participants.

A big business, those post-season bowl games. Lotta teams shoot for ’em. That’s why LSU shot for the Sugar and got it. It’s always great to have a (home) SEC team hosting the Sugar game, of course. I’ll be glad when Mississippi State and Ole Miss get back to the Sugar Bowl level. It’ll happen again, don’t you think?

AND Christmastime, truly the most beautiful time of the year, has just passed. Day before yesterday memories of Christmases on Elm Street in our town over 60 years ago overwhelmed me. My two brothers, Herman and Billy and I would go to the old Baker Grand Theatre, where the Poor Children’s Christmas Tree was merrily giving out Christmas baskets. We unashamedly – yea, gleefully – raced uptown to get our toys and candy The Natchez Democrat-sponsored &uot;Tree&uot; had for scads of children … Along about that time, or a little after, I came to know Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior, and Christmastime played a big part in my everlasting decision.

Glenvall Estes is a longtime sports columnist for The Natchez Democrat.