Bowl Predictions 2012: Underrated Players Who Will Become Household Names

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistDecember 3, 2012

TUCSON, AZ - NOVEMBER 23:  Running back Ka'Deem Carey #25 of the Arizona Wildcats rushes the football against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the college football game at Arizona Stadium on November 23, 2012 in Tucson, Arizona. The Sun Devils defeated the Wildcats 41-34.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

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.

Bowl Schedule

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

Capital One

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 Kent State
Arkansas State Ladd-Peebles Stadium: Mobile, AL 1/6: 9:00 ESPN
National Championship Notre Dame
Sun Life Stadium: Miami, FL 1/7: 8:30 ESPN


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