The best possible scenario for the Allstate Sugar Bowl in the first year of its new partnership with the Southeastern Conference and Big 12 would be getting two teams coming off big victories against archrivals, preferably teams that haven’t been to New Orleans in a while.
If form holds, that is exactly what’s going to happen.
Ole Miss will be the SEC representative in the Jan. 1 game if Alabama defeats fading Florida in Saturday’s SEC title game, and Baylor can claim the Big 12 spot with a victory against 4-7 Texas on Saturday.
It would be the Rebels’ first Sugar Bowl since Archie Manning led his team to a 27-22 upset of Arkansas in the 1970 game. Baylor’s only Sugar Bowl was a 13-7 victory against Tennessee in the 1957 game.
The official announcement will be made next Sunday. And, as always, nothing is set until all of the games are played.
If Florida beats Alabama, the Gators would be the SEC team in the Sugar Bowl as the SEC champion. If Baylor loses to Texas, Oklahoma State gains the Big 12 berth.
Big 12 champion Oklahoma technically could wind up in the Sugar Bowl, but that would require the Sooners to finish outside the CFP’s top four. Since they were No. 3 in last week’s rankings — and that was before their 58-23 victory against Oklahoma State on Saturday — that seems almost impossible.
The Sooners have completed their regular season, and the Big 12 has no championship game.
A Baylor victory against Texas would create a three-way tie for second place in the Big 12 among the Bears, Oklahoma State and TCU, with the three teams splitting their games against one another.
In the league’s tiebreaker procedure, TCU is eliminated because it has the worst point differential in the games, and Baylor advances by virtue of its 45-35 victory against the Cowboys.
Although Florida beat Ole Miss 38-10 on Oct. 3, the SEC uses the CFP rankings to determine its Sugar Bowl team. Those will be updated Tuesday, but the Rebels (9-3), who defeated Mississippi State 38-27 on Saturday, should be ahead of the Gators, who were beaten by Florida State 27-2 on Saturday with the Alabama game yet to go.