Big Bowl Preview VII

11-30-12 Heart of Dallas
Some may say this is the beginning of the end.  It is true that the BCS is looking at a playoff system beginning in a couple of years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the end of bowl games altogether.  (Of course, given how expensive it is to travel to bowl games, their numbers may begin dwindling.)  I imagine the fans of big time college football programs would still like seeing their team play an extra game against a non-conference opponent, and I’m sure the coaches will love the extra few weeks of practice if for nothing more than preparation for the following year.  So, I don’t plan on this comprehensive, highly-analytical bowl preview being shut down anytime soon.

As always, this is meant to be fun and humorous, but that shouldn’t stop you from using any predictions as your sole source of information for gambling large sums of money.

(All times are eastern standard time.  Rankings reflect the final BCS top-25 standings.)

Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl XL
St. Thomas (14-0) vs. Mount Union (14-0)
7:00 PM, December 14, Salem, VA

For the first time in the history of this bowl preview series, the Stagg Bowl will not feature both Mount Union (OH) and Wisconsin-Whitewater.  In fact, it very nearly featured neither team from the past seven Stagg Bowl games.  Mount Union trailed Mary Hardin-Baylor – a school in Texas named, in part, for a family that gave a lot of money to save the university – at several points during the game, including separate seven point deficits in the 4th quarter.  Mount Union finally took the lead, 42-35 with five seconds remaining in regulation.  They won 48-35 when the kick coverage unit recovered a lateral and returned it into the end zone with triple zeros on the clock.  It was Mount Union’s closest margin of victory on the year and only the fourth time they managed to score fewer than 50 points in a game.  Go ahead and re-read that to make sure you read it correctly.

St. Thomas (MN) defeated Wisconsin-Oshkosh 28-14 to advance to the Stagg Bowl.  What happened to Wisconsin-Whitewater, you ask?  They lost three games during the season and did not qualify for the tournament.

This is Mount Union’s eighth consecutive appearance (16th overall) in the Stagg Bowl.  They have won 10 times, yet have failed to win in each of the last three years.  This means that outside of 5th year seniors, no player on the Mount Union roster has experienced a national championship.  Can they finally overcome the hurdle and graduate with satisfaction in their hearts?  Can St. Thomas hold Mount Union under 50?  Will asking provocative questions get you to find ESPNU in your guide and watch this game?

Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Nevada (7-5) vs. Arizona (7-5)
1:00 PM, December 15, Albuquerque, NM

The beginning to this bowl season is very strange.  There are two games on the afternoon of Saturday, December 15 and then no more bowl games until the evening of Thursday, December 20.  Last year, there were Saturday bowl games on December 17 and then bowl games returned on December 20, so the break isn’t as unusual, although it is longer.  What seems really weird to me is that ESPN didn’t bother to put either of these games in primetime.  Instead, they’re airing college basketball Saturday night.  It appears they have some good matchups scheduled, but who really cares about college basketball (outside of an alma mater) before February?

As for this game, well, it’s not the one I would’ve chose to show in primetime.  Nevada didn’t beat anyone worthwhile in those 6 wins.  Arizona managed to top both Oklahoma State and USC this year, which sounds awesome until you realize both of those teams were 7-5 in 2012.  So, it’s tough to find something in this matchup to reel in the viewer OH WAIT RICH RODRIGUEZ COACHES ARIZONA!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! NEVADA WINS!!!

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Toledo (9-3) vs. #22 Utah State (10-2)
4:30 PM, December 15, Boise, ID

There’s nothing like kicking off the bowl season in Albuquerque and Boise.  Just a couple of solid Rocky Mountain towns psyched for some hot bowl action two weeks in advance of New Year’s Day.  Again, let’s hope for some sort of act of Mother Nature to make these games interesting.

Utah State lost those two games to Wisconsin and BYU by a combined total of 5 points.  So, they’re a couple field goals away from being in a BCS bowl game, but I think playing in Boise on December 15 is a nice consolation prize.

After losing at Arizona in overtime to start the year, Toledo rattled off eight straight victories before losing two out of their last three and losing out on the opportunity to make the MAC championship game and, potentially, a BCS bowl game.  I think playing in Boise on December 15 is a nice consolation prize.

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
BYU (7-5) vs. San Diego State (9-3)
8:00 PM, December 20, San Diego, CA

I hope you manage to survive the four days away from bowl games.  If anything, that Jets-Titans matchup on Monday Night Football should help hold you over as your appetite for amateur athletics grows.

As an independent, BYU plays whoever they can get their hands on.  Unfortunately for them, they got their hands on schools like #19 Boise State, #13 Oregon State, and #1 Notre Dame, all of who handed the Cougars a loss.  San Diego State managed to beat Boise State during the seven-game winning streak that closed out their regular season.  Combine this with fact that San Diego State is basically playing at home and it’s tough to see BYU coming out of this game with a victory.  Hopefully Mormons can handle losses on a national stage in back-to-back months.

(For the idiots: the joke isn’t that Romney lost, it’s equating the Presidential election to the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.)

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl
Ball State (9-3) vs. Central Florida (9-4)
7:30 PM, December 21, St. Petersburg, FL

This is the bowl game played in Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays.  It is just awful.  Did you know the Rays have a lease with this stadium through 2027?  Who the hell signed that lease and thought it was a good idea?  They better hope the team continues to succeed on a somewhat consistent basis or nobody will go to those games.  (As opposed to the next-to-nobody that goes now.)

There’s not much to say about this game.  Central Florida played Tulsa in two of their last three games, with the latter game serving as the Conference USA championship.  (I guess I missed that game.)  They lost both – the first by two points and the championship game in overtime.  Otherwise, they’d be playing in… ummm… whatever bowl game Tulsa is playing in.  Ball State won their last six games of the season, but they aren’t named Tulsa.  Central Florida hasn’t lost to a team not named Tulsa since September.

(It’s hard to believe I cared enough to write an entire paragraph about this matchup.)

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
East Carolina (8-4) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4)
Noon, December 22, New Orleans, LA

You like this matchup, don’t you?  Pretty exciting, right?

OK. Let me explain something.  There are going to be some downright terrible bowl game matchups this year.  I know there’s some every year, but this year is something special.  Allow me to explain in bullet points:

  • There are 35 bowl games in 2012-13.  Thus, 70 spots are available.
  • Only 72 schools were eligible for a bowl bid at the end of the 2012 regular season.
  • The six BCS conferences have a total of 48 tie-ins with bowl games, but only 44 schools were eligible for a bid from those conferences.
  • There were five schools that were ineligible for a bowl bid due to NCAA sanctions.  All five of those schools finished with bowl-eligible records.
  • Of those five schools, four of them (Miami, North Carolina, Ohio State, and Penn State) were split between two BCS conferences – ACC and Big Ten.  Miami and UNC are in the same division of the ACC as are Ohio State and Penn State in the Big Ten.
  • These schools finished 1-2 in their divisions.  Thus, the third place team in the division ended up going to the conference championship game.
  • Georgia Tech was one of these teams.  They lost the conference championship game and finished 6-7.  They are in a bowl game.
  • If you’re curious, the two bowl-eligible teams that are not playing in a bowl game are Louisiana Tech (9-3) and Middle Tennessee (8-4).  According to this article, Louisiana Tech was offered a spot in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl, but didn’t accept immediately as they awaited other, supposedly better, opportunities.  Those never materialized and, in the meantime, the Independence Bowl offered a spot to Ohio University, who accepted.

In summation, all but one of the bowl eligible teams in the country was offered a bid.  All but two are in a bowl game.  This is going to lead to some bad games.

MAACO Las Vegas Bowl
Washington (7-5) vs. #19 Boise State (10-2)
3:30 PM, December 22, Las Vegas, NV

This may be a better game than it appears on paper.  Boise State didn’t beat anyone that matters and their two losses are Michigan State and San Diego State.  I wouldn’t be shocked if a mediocre Pac-12 team beat them.

Also, I respect that this game is being played at 12:30 PM local time in Vegas.  Plenty of time to wake up and make the game in the morning and plenty of time for debauchery on a Saturday night.  Vegas knows its’ clientele.

Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl
Fresno State (9-3) vs. SMU (6-6)
8:00 PM, December 24, Honolulu, HI

I mean, normally I would spend Christmas Eve with family, but who can resist FRESNO STATE V SMU??!!!  They should rename this the PRE-BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME!!!

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
Western Kentucky (7-5) vs. Central Michigan (6-6)
7:30 PM, December 26, Detroit, MI

If they gave away three million free pizzas with crazy bread during the course of this game, I might be enticed to watch it.  Considering the game is in Detroit, I imagine they’ll give away free handguns and a kick to the groin from Ndamukong Suh.

Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman
#24 San Jose State (10-2) vs. Bowling Green (8-4)
3:00 PM, December 27, Washington, DC

According to Wikipedia (I know), this game is supposed to feature a team from the ACC against either Army or a team from Conference USA if Army isn’t eligible.  Bowling Green is from the MAC and San Jose State is from the WAC.  Also, neither of those teams are Army.

Speaking of the WAC, this will be the last year they play football for the foreseeable future.  Lost in all the conference realignment is the death of smaller conferences like the WAC.  As teams like Boise State, Utah State, San Jose State, UT-San Antonio, Louisiana Tech, Texas State, and UT-Arlington found new homes in other conferences, the WAC was left to scramble and try to pickup other schools.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a conference below the WAC, in terms of prestige, from which to pluck football programs.  Instead, the conference will simply go without football.  Some schools, like Idaho, will play as an independent in the Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I) in future years.  Can’t wait for that Idaho vs. Notre Dame game.

Belk Bowl
Cincinnati (9-3) vs. Duke (6-6)
6:30 PM, December 27, Charlotte, NC

This would’ve been an awesome game if it was 10 years ago and the sport was basketball.

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl
Baylor (7-5) vs. #17 UCLA (9-4)
9:45 PM, December 27, San Diego, CA

UCLA’s last two games were both against Stanford.  The first to end the regular season and the second for the Pac-12 championship.  They lost both games.  Now, I’m no genius, but maybe the Pac-12 should consider ending the season by playing intra-divisional games to ensure this doesn’t happen.  There are six teams in each division, so it shouldn’t be hard to figure out.

Outside of those two losses, UCLA lost to Cal 43-17.  Cal won three games this year.

Baylor lost a lot of games when they started playing their conference schedule, but they own one of the most important victories of the season.  They beat then #1 Kansas State on November 17, 52-24.  It was their second-largest margin of victory on the season and their largest in conference (and, yes, they got to play Kansas as well).

Baylor only won one away game (Louisiana-Monroe).  So it’s difficult to see them beating UCLA in southern California unless an NFL linebacker can knock RGIII back to Baylor in time for the game.  (Might happen.)

AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl
Ohio (8-4) vs. Louisiana-Monroe (8-4)
2:00 PM, December 28, Shreveport, LA

From above, we know Ohio only got into this game when Louisiana Tech decided not to immediately accept an invitation.  I’m not sure if Louisiana Tech vs. Louisiana-Monroe was the intended matchup, but that would’ve been a brilliant move if it worked out.  If you subject yourself to these games, notice the incredibly small crowds.  It’s very difficult to sell tickets to these games for a number of reasons.  The best strategy is to find two schools relatively close to your venue and just hope their fans show up.  It would’ve been interesting to see the crowd if two Louisiana schools were matched against one another.

You may remember Louisiana-Monroe as the school that stunned then #8 Arkansas in early September.  (Good job, preseason pollsters.)  They nearly beat Auburn the next weekend, losing by three in overtime.  Then, they hung with Baylor, losing only by five.  Naturally, after going toe-to-toe with teams from BCS conferences, they couldn’t be bothered to win their own non-BCS conference, instead finishing in third place.

Ohio also got off to a surprising start by going into State College, PA and knocking off Penn State, 24-14.  They ended up winning their first seven games.  Too bad they had to play the last five games, of which they lost four.

Obviously, Louisiana-Monroe has the advantage here playing so close to home.  They also have an advantage because most of Ohio’s students have forgotten they have a football team.

Russell Athletic Bowl
Rutgers (9-3) vs. Virginia Tech (6-6)
5:30 PM, December 28, Orlando, FL

Rutgers has announced they (along with Maryland) are moving to the Big Ten-with-twelve-soon-to-be-fourteen-and-maybe-someday-sixteen-teams Conference.  This is obviously a move by the Big Ten to get their games on TV in the New York/New Jersey area, but let’s not trash the move completely.  Rutgers was playing in the Big East.  A conference that consistently struggles to get a team ranked in the top 25 of any poll.  A conference that is so desperate for survival they’re adding the following teams in the next few years:

  • Houston
  • SMU
  • Central Florida
  • Memphis
  • Boise State (football only)
  • San Diego State (football only)
  • Tulane
  • East Carolina (football only)
  • Navy (football only)

If they’re still called the Big East next year, it will be just as big a joke as the Big Ten.  Also, keep in mind who has left/will be leaving in the coming years:

  • West Virginia (Big 12)
  • Syracuse (ACC)
  • Pittsburgh (ACC)
  • Louisville (ACC)
  • Notre Dame (ACC – football still independent)

Can you really blame Rutgers?  (And, for that matter, can you really blame Maryland when you see who’s coming to the ACC?)

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas
Minnesota (6-6) vs. Texas Tech (7-5)
9:00 PM, December 28, Houston, TX

Tommy Tuberville with the dickiest dick move of all time.  Please tell me you heard about this.  It’s just fascinatingly awful.

Tuberville was the coach at Texas Tech until he left without telling anyone.  Quite literally.  He was at a dinner with other coaches and recruits at the 50-Yard Line Restaurant on South Loop 289 in Lubbock (a place I don’t think I ever went to during my time in Lubbock).  He was asked by one of the recruits how long he and his staff planned to be there (assuming they wouldn’t get fired).  A smart question by a recruit and one that I’m sure most, if not all, ask.  Tuberville danced around the question and then got up and left the table.  It was assumed he went to the bathroom.

He never came back.  The next day he announced he was leaving for the University of Cincinnati.

That’s a bizarre tale.  It’s made even more bizarre by the fact he left for Cincinnati.  I just laid out all the logical reasons for Rutgers going to the Big Ten and leaving the Big East behind.  How exactly is Cincinnati an upgrade over Texas Tech?

Minnesota’s coaching situation has its’ own set of bizarre circumstances.  Their head coach, Jerry Kill, has now suffered seizures on three different gamedays over the last two seasons.  Every time it happens we’re reminded that it’s just something he has to live with and monitor, but it’s not a major concern for his short or long term health.  OK.  Whatever you say, coach.

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
Rice (6-6) vs. Air Force (6-6)
11:45 AM, December 29, Fort Worth, TX

You could conceivably attend the previous bowl game the night before in Houston and then get in your car and drive through the night to attend this game in Fort Worth the next morning.  You could also conceivably stab yourself in the thigh 100 times and experience the same amount of pleasure from the experience.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl
West Virginia (7-5) vs. Syracuse (7-5)
3:15 PM, December 29, Bronx, NY

Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow to make this game interesting!

Geno Smith (QB – West Virginia) was considered by some to be this year’s RGIII – a quarterback overlooked at the beginning of year that emerges during the year to become a Heisman candidate and top pick in the draft.  The top pick thing might still work out since there’s really not much available and the NFL values QBs above anything else.  The Heisman thing failed when West Virginia lost five straight, including three at home, during the middle of the season.  Granted, the results could’ve been helped had West Virginia fielded a defense slightly stronger than a wet paper bag, but Smith himself declined against some of the stronger competition.

I suppose you could be watching next year’s top draft pick, but, then again, if you watched LSU win the Sugar Bowl on January 3, 2007, you watched next year’s #1 pick as well.  (Hint: his name kind of rhymes with DeRuckus Muscle.)

(Nightmare fuel for Browns fans: had Al Davis not selected JaMarcus Russell #1 in 2007, Phil Savage would’ve taken him at #3 instead of Joe Thomas.  Excuse me while I vomit.)

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl
Navy (8-4) vs. Arizona State (7-5)
4:00 PM, December 29, San Francisco, CA
ESPN2 (!)

Hey! A game not on ESPN!  And more than one game occurring at the same time!

Navy beat no one worth a lick, only beat Indiana by one point, and should’ve lost to Army.  If Arizona State shows up, they should win.

Note to any high school juniors and seniors reading – if you have any thoughts about going to Arizona State, do so.  Otherwise, at some point in your life, you will visit Phoenix and regret your decision.  Nothing personal, just an observation.

Valero Alamo Bowl
#23 Texas (8-4) vs. #13 Oregon State (9-3)
6:45 PM, December 29, San Antonio, TX

This is the first matchup between two teams that finished in the BCS top 25.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that both teams are good, but it LOOKS that way.

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
TCU (7-5) vs. Michigan State (6-6)
10:15 PM, December 29, Tempe, AZ

When a new sponsor comes along, I usually take the opportunity to destroy them in some way, shape, or form.  It’s hard to do that with Buffalo Wild Wings.  I suppose you could mock their ridiculous commercials, but they are a little funny the first couple times you see them.  And now anytime something crazy happens in a football game someone has to make a comment that someone at Buffalo Wild Wings pushed a button to heighten the drama.

If you’re a sports fan who travels even occasionally, a national chain like Buffalo Wild Wings is dependable.  You know you’ll be able to walk in and see a number of sporting events all around you.  They usually have a good selection of beer on tap and the menu is good enough that you should be able to find something to eat.  There’s nothing worse than walking into a bar/restaurant to find every TV on the same channel or two along with a limited beer selection.  You spend the whole time drinking crappy beer while checking your phone every two seconds for something interesting because there’s no way in hell you’re going to pay attention to ESPN when the question at the bottom of the screen reads “Is it time for Tebow?”

So, hey, Buffalo Wild Wings, if you want to sponsor future Bowl Previews, I’m always for sale and willing to endorse.

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
NC State (7-5) vs. Vanderbilt (8-4)
Noon, December 31, Nashville, TN

Reader RowdeeG informs me he’ll be in Nashville for New Year’s and will attend the Music City Bowl.  So, someone will actually be there to watch these two teams play.  Of course, Vanderbilt is located in Nashville, so they should have a good crowd.

And just how the hell did Vandy go 8-4 with an SEC schedule?  Well, they got very lucky.  They didn’t have to play Alabama, LSU, or Texas A&M – the top three teams in the SEC west.  Their three in-conference losses went to the three teams above them in their division – Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina.  Throw in some games with Wake Forest, UMass, and Presbyterian, and you get yourself a bowl eligible team.

Hyundai Sun Bowl
USC (7-5) vs. Georgia Tech (6-7)
2:00 PM, December 31, El Paso, TX
CBS (!)

Oh, Matt Barkley.  I’m sure you made a lot of old white people happy when you stayed at USC for your senior year.  “He values his education!”  “He’s devoted to USC!”  You became an early favorite for the Heisman and first overall pick in next year’s NFL draft.  Then you had to start playing games.  Early in the season you threw two picks and zero touchdowns in a big game against Stanford.  In your last four games, you threw at least two picks in each game.  And then you hurt your shoulder and had to sit out against Notre Dame in your final home game as a Trojan.

Now, you have one last chance against Georgia Tech.  They are the only team in a bowl game with a record under .500.  Surely, you can’t lose to this team.  If you’re serious about proving to people what you’re capable of, you can’t even perform poorly.

12-13-12 Shirley

AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Iowa State (6-6) vs. Tulsa (10-3)
3:30 PM, December 31, Memphis, TN

Chick-fil-A Bowl
#8 LSU (10-2) vs. #14 Clemson (10-2)
7:30 PM, December 31, Atlanta, GA

Serve cheeseburgers at your New Year’s Eve party just to stick it to the pretentious cows in these Chick-fil-A commercials.  Remember how the Beef Industry Council and Beef Board used to run those ads with Aaron Copland’s Hoedown as the theme music?  (Beef. It’s whats for dinner.)  How awesome would it be if they bought ad time during this game?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I prefer beef to chicken and just about anything to Chick-fil-A. Gator Bowl
Mississippi State (8-4) vs. #20 Northwestern (9-3)
Noon, January 1, Jacksonville, FL
ESPN2 (!)


12-13-12 Daltrey

(It’s true. I was just looking for a reason to troll you with this Daltrey photo.)

Heart of Dallas Bowl
Purdue (6-6) vs. Oklahoma State (7-5)
Noon, January 1, Dallas, TX

For the sake of your sanity, I hope your cable/satellite provider doesn’t have ESPNU.  The only thing that can make this game interesting is a shootout.

This is the game played at the Cotton Bowl, but it’s not the Cotton Bowl.  The Cotton Bowl is played at the new Cowboys Stadium.

Outback Bowl
#10 South Carolina (10-2) vs. #18 Michigan (8-4)
1:00 PM, January 1, Tampa, FL

This is one of three Big Ten/SEC matchups during the early part of the day.  This may be the best matchup and, yet, it may still be a blowout.  Michigan’s best win on the year came in overtime at home against Northwestern.  Yikes.  South Carolina crushed Georgia at home, beat Clemson on the road, and narrowly lost to LSU in Baton Rouge.

Capital One Bowl
#7 Georgia (11-2) vs. #16 Nebraska (10-3)
1:00 PM, January 1, Orlando, FL
ABC (!)

Can anyone make a logical argument for Nebraska winning this game?  Just consider their last game against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship.  They allowed 539 rushing yards to Wisconsin.  Five hundred and thirty-nine.  Two Wisconsin players rushed for over 200 yards and a third rushed for over 100 yards.  Georgia may not have to pass the ball.  And if they do, they have a pretty good quarterback and passing attack.

Georgia had a very good chance to beat Alabama in the SEC Championship game and play for the national championship.  Their coach did a poor job of managing the clock down the stretch and Georgia lost when they were tackled in the field of play without any timeouts and the clock running out.  In other words, they got Shurmured.

Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio
Wisconsin (8-5) vs. #6 Stanford (11-2)
5:00 PM, January 1, Pasadena, CA

Ahhh… there’s nothing like unranked teams in a BCS game.  Yes, Wisconsin utterly thrashed Nebraska in the Big Ten Championship game to “earn” a berth in the Rose Bowl, but they wouldn’t have been playing in the championship game any other year.  They actually finished third in their division behind Ohio State (12-0) and Penn State (8-4), but since neither of those teams were eligible for postseason play, Wisconsin got to play in the championship.  Give them credit, they took advantage of the opportunity and got to the Rose Bowl.

Too bad they won’t have their coach.  Bret Bielema left Wisconsin abruptly to take the Arkansas head coaching job.  I guess he figured if first year head coaches Urban Meyer and Bill O’Brien can guide their teams to better records while enduring NCAA sanctions, he would have no chance once they’re established and at full strength.  Good luck against Saban and Miles, Bret.

Stanford should win this game.  They could lose their coach as well, but it would be to the NFL, if he went anywhere.  That won’t happen until after the NFL season has concluded.

Discover Orange Bowl
#15 Northern Illinois (12-1) vs. #12 Florida State (11-2)
8:30 PM, January 1, Miami, FL

For the first time since 2008-09, we have a true David vs. Goliath matchup.  I didn’t watch the BCS selection show, but apparently Kirk Herbstreit decided it was time to get some attention.  He absolutely tore apart the selection saying Northern Illinois had no business playing in a BCS bowl game and that America would rather see a school like Oklahoma in a BCS bowl game.  What Kirk doesn’t realize is that America doesn’t really care.  All of these games are meaningless, except one.

I would like to remind Kirk, and others, that there have been five occasions where a non-BCS team was pitted against a BCS team in a BCS bowl.  Four times, the non-BCS team has won.  Yes, Florida State is favored by 13.5 in this game.  I’m sure most of the previous matchups have seen large spreads leading up to kickoff.  Oddly enough, it isn’t the largest spread among the BCS games.  That honor goes to the next one on our list…

Allstate Sugar Bowl
#21 Louisville (10-2) vs. #3 Florida (11-1)
8:30 PM, January 2, New Orleans, LA

Florida is a 14.5 favorite in Vegas.  And rightfully so.  They should destroy Louisville.  So, they probably won’t.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
#4 Oregon (11-1) vs #5 Kansas State (11-1)
8:30 PM, January 3, Glendale, AZ

This very easily could’ve been the national championship game.  These two teams were sitting 1-2 in the BCS rankings to begin the day on November 17.  They both lost that night, which not only opened the door for Notre Dame, but also allowed Alabama back in the picture after they lost the week before.  I suppose this game gives us the chance to see what the championship game would’ve looked like had these two teams been able to win out.  Considering Oregon averages 50 points a game and Kansas State averages 40, I’m guessing it won’t look like a defensive battle.

AT&T Cotton Bowl
#9 Texas A&M (10-2) vs. #11 Oklahoma (10-2)
8:00 PM, January 4, Arlington, TX
FOX (!)

Get ready for a heavy dose of Gus Johnson reminding you that these two teams are old rivals from their time in the Big 12.  (They aren’t, but whatever.)  Additional drama will come in the form of Heisman-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel of A&M.  Hey, did you know he’s the first freshman to win the Heisman?  Have fun playing the next two years as the former Heisman winner.  It will make you feel quite old.

BBVA Compass Bowl
Pittsburgh (6-6) vs. Ole Miss (6-6)
1:00 PM, January 5, Birmingham, AL

Nothing like Pitt v Ole Miss to get you ready for the NFL Wild Card weekend. Bowl
#25 Kent State (11-2) vs. Arkansas State (9-3)
9:00 PM, January 6, Mobile, AL

This could be a fun little game to watch if you can stomach anymore football after wild card weekend.  Kent State went undefeated in conference play before losing to Northern Illinois in double overtime in the MAC Championship game.  Speaking of the MAC, they got six teams into bowl games despite having only three regular bowl tie-ins.  An impressive feat for a smaller conference.  Too bad all the coaches are now leaving.  In the MAC, they pay their coaches relatively nothing, so they leave at the first opportunity a lot of the time.  You can get upset all you want, but you know you would take another job performing the same task if the new company paid you 5-10 times what you’re getting paid now.

Discover BCS National Championship Game
#1 Notre Dame (12-0) vs. #2 Alabama (12-1)
8:30 PM, January 7, Miami, FL

Here are some select scores from Notre Dame games this past season:

  • 20-17 vs Purdue at home
  • 13-6 vs Michigan at home
  • 20-13 in OT vs Stanford at home
  • 17-14 vs BYU at home
  • 29-26 in triple OT vs Pittsburgh at home
  • 22-13 at USC with USC missing their starting QB

They could’ve easily lost any one (or more) of those games.  Of course, then we’d probably be stuck with another all-SEC championship game, so I suppose it’s not all bad that Notre Dame found a way to win all those close games.

These teams also rank 1-2 in scoring defense.  However, Alabama has the 15th-ranked scoring offense while Notre Dame is ranked 76th.  Both teams like to run the ball and play solid defense, so NFL fans should enjoy this matchup.   That is, until, Alabama is up 24-0 and the outcome is decided.  Sorry Notre Dame fans, but at least you have Duke basketball to look forward to in the coming months, not to mention the Yankees starting up in April and the Miami Heat going for another championship in June.  And, hey, Tony Romo just led a comeback victory in December, so maybe your Cowboys can actually make the playoffs this year.

Happy Bowling!

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