SEC’s shortage may leave more for SBC

By: Wally Hall
Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012

— While the odds are long that the Arkansas Razorbacks will win two of their next three games to become bowl eligible, the SEC might be quietly and privately hoping they do.

It is looking like the SEC will not be able to fill all 10 of its bowl games, and that becomes 11 if Alabama goes to the BCS Championship Game.

Today, the SEC has seven teams that are bowl eligible, two that are mathematically eliminated and five that have something of a shot.

Vanderbilt (5-4) and Ole Miss (5-4) play each other Saturday, so that will move the total to eight.

Even if Vandy can’t win at Oxford, it still has a shot because it finishes with Tennessee - let Derek Dooley lose this game and they maygo ahead and tell him not to let the door hit his backside on the way out - and Wake Forest.

After the Commodores, Ole Miss is at LSU and at home for the Egg Bowl against Mississippi State. So the Rebels may want to take care of business this weekend.

The teams that are 4-5 and must win 2 of 3 are Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee.

Arkansas has road games at South Carolina and Mississippi State before hosting LSU.

Missouri is at Tennessee and gets Syracuse at home before finishing the season at Texas A&M. There is a good possibility the Tigers could win both games against the teams in orange.

After Missouri, Tennessee is at Vanderbilt and hosts Kentucky. The Vols may get close, but that only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

The SEC is not the only conference in danger of not filling all its bowls. The Big Ten, Big East, Conference USA and Mountain West are facing the same problem of not having enough teams finish at least 6-6 overall.

If they come up short, what should happen is conferences like the Sun Belt, which has been a very good league this season, should get more than two teams in bowls.

Regardless of what happens tonight in Jonesboro, Arkansas State and Louisiana-Monroe - as well as Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky - deserve consideration.

The Sun Belt is tied to only two bowls, the New Orleans Bowl and the Bowl.

Of course, what the Red Wolves need to do is win out and win the Sun Belt title outright. That should put them in New Orleans on Dec. 22.

The Go-Daddy, where they played last season, will be played in Mobile, Ala., on Jan. 6, which is the start of college basketball conference schedules.

What could happen is that some 5-7 schools receive waivers from the NCAA to fill the bowls, but that would be a shame to leave out the schools from the Sun Belt, which has posted victories over SECschools this season.

College football lost a great ambassador Wednesday with the passing of Darrell Royal, the legendary Texas coach.

Royal was a great coach. In 23 years as a head coach, all but three at Texas, he never had a losing season. His overall record of 167-47-5 is the most victories in Texas history, and he won three national championships.

He was known, though, as a humble man.

In the 1970s, at a coaches golf tournament in Hot Springs Village, he brought a buddy to pick the guitar and sing. It was Willie Nelson.

Royal always hosted a reception after home games for members of the media. The one time yours truly went, the Texas coach asked me tomake him a bourbon and 7.

For some reason I added a twist of lime. He liked it and proclaimed that I was his personal bartender for the next hour.

He had that kind of personality. He was known for his wit, calling his final team that went 5-5-1 “as average as everyday wash.”

After the 1969 victory over Arkansas, when asked about the touchdown run by James Street, he simply said: “Dance with who brung ya.”

Royal was a great coach and a great person.

That’s something college football needs more of today.

Sports, Pages 25 on 11/08/2012