Bowl Predictions 2012: Underrated Players Who Will Become Household Names
Bowl season isn't just about the teams—it's also about individual players.
This year's bowl games feature a handful of underrated players. One game is all that some of these players get to impress a national audience, so they'll bring their A-game to college football's version of the postseason.
Just because you don't know a player's name doesn't mean that he isn't an excellent player. Several players fly under the radar all year, only to burst onto the scene at their first opportunity.
Let's take a look at three players who will be household names by the time this year's bowl games are over.
Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
Carey is only a sophomore, so you'll have plenty of time to get familiar with his dynamite running ability.
With over 1,700 yards and 20 rushing touchdowns this season, Carey has excelled in Rich Rodriguez's spread offense. Assuming that Nevada's below-average doesn't slow him down, viewers will get plenty of chances to watch Carey work on December 15.
Averaging over six yards per carry is nothing but a good thing. It shows how hard Carey works, but it also shows how shifty he can be in the open field.
Matt Scott throws the ball quite a bit for the Wildcats, but Carey is the main attraction. If Arizona had won more games, he would be in the Heisman Trophy conversation. He's only had three sub-100 yard games, and he's racked up 742 yards in his last three games.
Nevada and Arizona may not sound appetizing to you, but Carey is reason enough to tune in. He's got it all, and he's only going to get better as he gains experience.
Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU
I'm not the Heisman Trophy, so I better give attention to a defensive player. Brigham Young's defense is the fifth-ranked scoring unit in the nation, and Van Noy leads the way along with Ezekiel Ansah.
But Van Noy is the prize here. He's a junior, so you should have one more year to enjoy him, but make sure you take advantage of it.
Van Noy is a physical specimen. He uses his size/speed combination to overwhelm offensive linemen consistently, and his 11.5 sacks go a long way toward proving that.
He's primarily a threat in the box, but he does have an interception this season. That shows how versatile he can be when needed, making him a more dangerous player in the process.
The Cougars will be tested by San Diego State's offense, but Van Noy will ensure that his team stays strong at the point of attack. He may not have your attention yet, but his energy and nonstop motor will grab it soon enough.
Dri Archer, RB, Kent State
Blink, and you will miss him. That's not just because Archer is exceptionally quick, but he's only 5'8''.
Players like this are slowly finding a valuable place into many offenses. Archer is difficult to see for everyone, including the defenders who are attempting to bring him down. He hides behind blockers, popping out at the opportune time.
Archer only has 150 carries this season, but he has nearly 1,400 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also has over 500 yards receiving and four touchdowns.
This kid is just a weapon. Fellow Kent State running back Trayion Durham is also extremely productive, but he's more of a traditional ball-carrier. Archer is anything but, using his skills to terrorize defenses from every possible direction.
Archer's name doesn't turn heads like Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas or Kenjon Barner or the NFL's Darren Sproles, but he's similar. He's extremely fun to watch, and he will have a field day versus Arkansas State's porous defense.
Note: All times are ET and p.m. unless noted otherwise. All games (except for the Sun Bowl and Cotton Bowl) can be streamed live at WatchESPN.
|Bowl||Team 1||Team 2||Stadium: Location||Date: Time||TV|
|New Mexico||Nevada||Arizona||University Stadium: Albuquerque, NM||12/15: 1:00||ESPN|
|Famous Idaho Potato||Toledo||Utah State||Bronco Stadium: Boise, ID||12/15: 4:30||ESPN|
|Poinsettia||BYU||San Diego State||Qualcomm Stadium: San Diego, CA||12/20: 8:00||ESPN|
|Beef 'O' Brady's||Ball State ||UCF||Tropicana Field: St. Petersburg, FL||12/21: 7:30||ESPN|
|New Orleans||East Carolina||Louisiana-Lafayette||Superdome: New Orleans, LA||12/22: Noon||ESPN|
|Las Vegas||Boise State||Washington||Sam Boyd Stadium: Las Vegas, NV||12/22: 3:30||ESPN|
|Hawaii||SMU||Fresno State||Aloha Stadium: Honolulu, HI||12/24: 8:00||ESPN|
|Little Caesars||Central Michigan ||Western Kentucky ||Ford Field: Detroit, MI||12/26: 7:30||ESPN|
|Military||Bowling Green ||San Jose State||RFK Stadium: Washington, DC||12/27: 3:00||ESPN|
|Belk||Duke||Cincinnati ||Bank of America Stadium: Charlotte, NC||12/27: 6:30||ESPN|
|Holiday||Baylor||UCLA||Qualcomm Stadium: San Diego, CA||12/27: 9:45||ESPN|
|Independence||Louisiana-Monroe||Ohio||Independence Stadium: Shreveport, LA||12/28: 2:00||ESPN|
|Russell Athletic||Virginia Tech||Rutgers ||Florida Citrus Bowl: Orlando, FL||12/28: 5:30||ESPN|
|Meineke Car Care||Minnesota ||Texas Tech ||Reliant Stadium: Houston, TX||12/28: 9:00||ESPN|
|Armed Forces||Rice||Air Force||Amon G. Carter Stadium: Fort Worth, TX||12/29: 11:45 a.m.||ESPN|
|Pinstripe||Syracuse ||West Virginia ||Yankee Stadium: Bronx, NY||12/29: 3:15||ESPN|
|Kraft||Navy||Arizona State||AT&T Park: San Francisco, CA||12/29: 4:00||ESPN2|
|Alamo||Texas ||Oregon State||Alamodome: San Antonio, TX||12/29: 6:45||ESPN|
|Buffalo Wild Wings||TCU ||Michigan State ||Sun Devil Stadium: Tempe, AZ||12/29: 10:15||ESPN|
|Music City||N.C. State ||Vanderbilt||LP Field: Nashville, TN||12/31: Noon||ESPN|
|Sun||Georgia Tech||USC||Sun Bowl: El Paso, TX||12/31: 2:00||CBS|
|Liberty||Tulsa||Iowa State||Liberty Bowl: Memphis, TN||12/31: 3:30||ESPN|
|Chick-fil-A||Clemson||LSU||Georgia Dome: Atlanta, GA||12/31: 7:30||ESPN|
|Gator||Northwestern ||Mississippi State||Everbank Field: Jacksonville, FL||1/1: Noon||ESPN2|
|Heart of Dallas||Purdue ||Oklahoma State ||Cotton Bowl: Dallas, TX||1/1: Noon||ESPNU|
|Outback||Michigan ||South Carolina||Raymond James Stadium: Tampa, FL||1/1: 1:00||ESPN|
|Nebraska ||Georgia||Florida Citrus Bowl: Orlando, FL||1/1: 1:00||ABC|
|Rose||Stanford||Wisconsin||Rose Bowl: Pasadena, CA||1/1: 5:00||ESPN|
|Orange||Northern Illinois ||Florida State||Sun Life Stadium: Miami, FL||1/1: 8:30||ESPN|
|Sugar||Florida||Louisville||Superdome: New Orleans, LA||1/2: 8:30||ESPN|
|Fiesta||Oregon||Kansas State||U. of Phoenix Stadium: Glendale, AZ||1/3: 8:30||ESPN|
|Cotton||Oklahoma ||Texas A&M||Cowboys Stadium: Arlington, TX||1/4: 8:00||FOX|
|Compass||Pittsburgh ||Ole Miss||Legion Field: Birmingham, AL||1/5: 1:00||ESPN|
|GoDaddy.com||Kent State ||Arkansas State||Ladd-Peebles Stadium: Mobile, AL||1/6: 9:00||ESPN|
|National Championship||Notre Dame ||Alabama ||Sun Life Stadium: Miami, FL||1/7: 8:30||ESPN|
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