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Article posted: 1/4/2013 5:29 AM

SEC loses ground in college bowl season

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So far the Southeastern Conference has been anything BUT sensational this college bowl season, compiling a 3-3 record going into Friday's Texas A&M tilt versus Oklahoma.

A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and his teammates, however, are transplants from the Big 12 who now play under the SEC banner.

The SEC excuse makers are out in full force.

When the Louisville Cardinals beat No. 3 ranked Florida by a score of 33-23 in the Sugar Bowl, the first thing I heard when I turned on the TV was that if Louisville played the Florida Gators 10 times, Florida would win seven or eight of these games.

I chuckled because if you watched that game and are really honest, you would say that statement is -- to put it nicely -- uninformed.

Florida hadn't seen a quarterback like the Cardinal's Teddy Bridgewater since early September when the Gators beat Manziel.

I have been saying all year the SEC was the weakest it has been in a decade. I do have one question, though: if the SEC was 6-0 going into Friday night, wouldn't we be hearing how dominant the SEC is?

Now that they are having an average postseason we are hearing plenty of nonsense, like Florida wasn't up to playing the game or it's a good thing they don't play again.

Please! Congratulations to Louisville, a much-maligned and criticized team. With that Louisville win, the Big East teams now have a bowl season record of 3-1.

If Florida played in the Big East, they would definitely struggle. The Gators looked like a practice team against head coach Charlie Strong and his Cardinals. Strong's name will be on the radar of pro football teams down the line. His biggest coup is having 35 players from the state of Florida. He beat Florida with players they used to get.

A big-name Bears coach?

I read a publication that said whoever coaches the Chicago Bears will have a head start because of all the teams needing a coach, the Bears have the best quarterback in Jay Cutler.

But after seeing some of the names the Bear want to interview, underwhelming is the word that comes to mind.

Lovie Smith is going to be replaced by someone who will do his best and may even be successful. But if Bears fans were hoping for John Gruden or any other big-name coach, think again.

Prepare for a solid but not sensational pick, although I would have no problem getting behind a Bill O'Brien from Penn State or offensive coordinator Mike McCoy from the Denver Broncos.

Either way, whoever coaches the Bears will have some pressure on him to produce quickly because he will have inherited a big-money quarterback and a record of 10-6.

It will be interesting how it unfolds.

NFL picks:

I was 1-0 last week for a current record of 16-15-1. This week, let's go with Minnesota (+8) over Green Bay.

Except for Northwestern beating Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl, my New Year's Day bowl picks didn't come through. Nebraska got whipped by Georgia, and NIU didn't even cover the spread against Florida State in the Orange Bowl.

Program note:

Look for me on Mancow's show on Ch. 50 (WPWR TV) at 6 a.m. Friday and Monday.

Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.

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