Can Tennessee football turn the tide?
NASHVILLE – It just means more. But the SEC motto apparently doesn’t apply to bowling season in 2021.
So how much does Tennessee care about beating Purdue in the TransPerfect Music City Bowl?
“If you’re a great competitor – and these are traits that we’re trying to develop and recruit – it matters,” said UT coach Josh Heupel. “It’s a game our players have pushed for. It means a lot to them in our program.
The SEC has a 0-4 record in the bowls, putting a brief spot on college football’s best conference.
Missouri, a slight underdog, lost 24-22 to the military in the Armed Forces bowl.
Touchdown favorites Florida lost 29-17 to UCF in the Gasparilla Bowl.
Auburn, a lightweight favorite, lost 17-13 to Houston in the Birmingham Bowl.
Mississippi State, a 10-point favorite, was drilled 34-7 by Texas Tech in the Liberty Bowl.
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Suddenly, the Vols (7-5) carry the bowl of the SEC’s hopes against Purdue (8-4) Thursday (3 p.m. ET, ESPN) at Nissan Stadium. Well, them and South Carolina, who will face North Carolina at Duke’s Mayo Bowl Thursday (11:30 a.m. ET, ESPN).
Purdue defeated Michigan State and Iowa as both ranked in the top 5. But the Boilermakers would like to eliminate an SEC team to cap their season.
“Our guys are looking forward to playing a quality opponent who has a lot of talent,” said Purdue coach Jeff Brohm. “We’re going to play them in their backyard. So we’ll see what we’re made of.
Music City Bowl will be the first of the SEC Bowls against Big Ten
There is an argument that SEC teams are losing because the Bowls are less important to them than their non-SEC opponents. Texas Tech is the only winner on an SEC team to date from a Power Five conference.
Whether that’s true or a convenient excuse, the matches will be different in the next bowls.
Ole Miss will play Baylor in the Sugar Bowl and LSU will play Kansas State in the Texas Bowl. The two opponents are Big 12 teams.
And UT will play the first of four SEC games against Big Ten. Kentucky will play Iowa in the Citrus Bowl. Arkansas will face Penn State in the Outback Bowl.
And those will serve as the undercards to the college football playoff semifinals between Georgia and Michigan – where bragging rights will certainly be claimed. When it’s SEC vs. Big Ten, it usually means more.
Purdue failed in his latest attempt to beat an SEC team on this stage, a 63-14 loss to Auburn in the 2018 Music City Bowl – the most lopsided score in game history.
“It was a great learning experience. It was a good wake-up call, ”said Brohm. “We hope to achieve a better performance this year. “
Contact Adam Sparks at [email protected] and on Twitter @AdamSparks.