These SEC Teams Should Be on Upset Alert in During Bowl Season

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterDecember 11, 2012

CLEMSON, SC - NOVEMBER 24:  Dylan Thompson #17 of the South Carolina Gamecocks runs with the ball during their game against the Clemson Tigers at Memorial Stadium on November 24, 2012 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Nine of the 14 teams in the SEC made bowl games this season, and it should come as no shock that the outlook for those nine teams is good.

According to the good folks at, all nine SEC teams are favored over their opponents.

Those big hotels in Las Vegas weren't built by setting bad lines, but it is called gambling for a reason. Surely not all nine SEC teams will win, right?

There's an upset in there somewhere, and these three teams better be on upset alert during the holiday season.


3. Outback Bowl: South Carolina (-5) vs. Michigan

The Gamecocks got by Clemson to close out the regular season without quarterback Connor Shaw, who missed the intra-state rivalry with a foot injury. Shaw should be back against the Wolverines, but that's a long layoff for anyone to take, much less a player coming off of injury.

Michigan boasts the nation's 11th-best defense, having given up just 311.2 yards per game and second-best pass defense at 155.2 yards per game through the air. 

But this game will be won or lost when Michigan has the ball. Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will have his hands full with the flexibility Michigan has with quarterbacks Denard Robinson and Devin Gardner.

With a month to prepare, defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward should have his crew prepared for what Michigan will throw out it, but that's easier said than done.


2. BCS National Championship Game: Alabama (-9.5) vs. Notre Dame

I know, I know. Notre Dame is overrated, it lucked its way into the title game, had it not been for a phantom pass interference call or several other breaks, the Fighting Irish wouldn't even be in a BCS bowl.

Make no mistake, Notre Dame likes to play SEC-style football in the trenches, and if you don't think the respect card is going to be played by that coaching staff for the next month, you're crazy.

It isn't just linebacker Manti Te'o. Defensive linemen Stephon Tuitt, Louis Nix and the rest of the Irish front seven are very talented and certainly capable of getting dirty in the trenches.

Alabama's coaches and players aren't sleeping on Notre Dame, and for good reason. If the defense plays up to its capabilities and quarterback Everett Golson plays like he has over the final five games—seven touchdown passes, three rushing touchdowns and two picks—it can absolutely spring the upset.


1. Gator Bowl: Mississippi State (-2) vs. Northwestern

The team on the biggest upset alert is also the one that has the smallest point spread.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs will enter the Gator Bowl fresh off their 41-24 Egg Bowl loss to Ole Miss and losers of four of their last five games.

Not exactly what the Bulldogs had in mind after starting 7-0.

Mississippi State better be careful, because Northwestern is loaded with firepower with dual-threat quarterback Kain Colter and junior running back Venric Mark. Colter lines up at quarterback and running back, tossing eight touchdowns and rushing for 820 yards and 12 touchdowns. In addition, Mark rushed for 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Not a bad one-two punch.

Mississippi State finished the season ranked 11th in the SEC in rush defense, giving up 166 yards per game on the ground, and gave up an average of 209.7 yards per game on the ground over the final four games of the season.

Be wary, Bulldogs.