Bowl Projections 2012: Must-Watch Matchups Outside of the BCS

James MaahsContributor IIINovember 27, 2012

COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 24:  Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies (C) celebrates a third quarter touchdown with teammates during their game against the Missouri Tigers at Kyle Field on November 24, 2012 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

As the college football season comes to a close, many fans will look to the five BCS Bowl games that are sure to have some exciting matchups.

But outside of those five BCS playoff games, there are many considerable must-watch matchups that fans should keep in mind.

These are the teams that fight for a playoff spot all season long, trying to prove that they belong in a BCS Bowl game. But they came up just short, having to settle for a college football bowl game outside of the BCS.

These are a few of the must-watch matchups outside of the BCS:

Note: Information on bowl projections courtesy of ESPN.


Valero Alamo Bowl Projection: Oklahoma State (7-4) vs. UCLA (9-3)

The battle between these two offensive football teams would be giant.

UCLA is still trying for a spot in the Rose Bowl, as the Bruins have a rematch against Stanford after they lost the first game 35-17. But assuming that everything holds for this matchup to happen, both teams would pound on each other's defense.

Oklahoma State ranks seventh in passing yards with 332.6 per game, that includes ranking third overall with 45 points per game. Needless to say, the Cowboys can put up a big number if their opponent lacks defense.

UCLA doesn't have the power offense that many college football teams have, they rank 25th overall in points per game with 25.8. With Oklahoma ranking 67th in points against, it makes no difference. UCLA will be able to put up an offensive show without much of a problem.


Cotton Bowl Projection: Texas (8-3) vs. Texas A&M (10-2)

How much would the fans love to see a battle for Texas take place in a college football bowl game?

With Kansas State and Oklahoma heading towards BCS bowls, Texas gets a look at No. 2 in the Big 12. This would align them to meet an SEC opponent in the Cotton Bowl.

Texas vs. Texas A&M would be a matchup that some people only dream about; two schools fighting for territorial dominance.

No. 9 Texas A&M has an offense that many teams would rather avoid, ranking fourth with 44.8 points per game. No. 18 Texas can't say the same, ranking 20th overall with 37.2 points per game.

On paper, Texas is simply outmatched by Texas A&M, but everyone knows this far extends matchups on paper.

Pride will be on the line and that might be enough to cause an upset. It would be the perfect end to such a gigantic bowl game.


Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Projection: Northern Illinois University (11-1) vs. Middle Tennessee (8-3)

It may not take much to say that No. 21 Northern Illinois University will roll over Middle Tennessee, but the end result is not why you should watch this game.

It will be a laugher if the two shall meet, and that will be because of NIU's QB Jordan Lynch. The only QB in only player in FBS history to pass for more than 400 yards and rush for more than 150 in a game.

Lynch holds the NCAA record for most consecutive 100-yard rushing games by a QB with 10 straight. He needs 92 yards to break the NCAA record for rushing yards by a QB in a season; an achievement he is expected to pass against Kent State on Friday.

This game gives fans a chance to see this exceptional talent and to watch an offensive show by an underrated Huskies squad.