The Southeastern Conference kicks off its 2010-11 bowl season on Thursday night in Nashville, where the Tennessee Volunteers (6-6, 3-5 SEC) will play the University of North Carolina (7-5, 4-4 ACC) in the Music City Bowl.
A record ten SEC teams will be bowling this season – which equals the record set by the conference a year ago.
Not surprisingly, the SEC leads the nation in its all-time bowl winning percentage – boasting a 196-153-9 record (.560) in 358 games entering this year’s competition. The Big East ranks second with a .550 winning percentage, although Big East teams have only played in 83 bowl games as members of the conference. The PAC 10 – whose teams have played in 200 bowl games – ranks third with a 105-93-2 all-time mark (.530).
The ACC ranks fifth among conferences with an 84-87-2 record (.491).
Frankly it’s a miracle that the Vols are bowl eligible this year – having started the season with a 2-6 record under first year head coach Derek Dooley. Tennessee is hoping to avoid its third losing season in the last six years, but the Vols will have to show up for the postseason – something that’s been a problem for the school since winning its last national title in the 1999 Fiesta Bowl.
Tennessee is 3-6 in its last nine bowl games – including an 0-3 mark against Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) teams.
Two SEC teams (South Carolina and Georgia) play on Friday, while three more play on New Year’s Day (Florida, Alabama and Mississippi State).
After that, Arkansas plays on January 4 in the Sugar Bowl, LSU plays on January 7 in the Cotton Bowl, Kentucky plays on January 8 in the BVA Compass Bowl and undefeated Auburn plays on January 10 in the national championship game.
(For the complete bowl schedule, with odds, click here).