College Football Rankings 2012: Underrated Bowl Matchups Between Ranked Teams

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IDecember 4, 2012

MANHATTAN, KS - DECEMBER 01:  Quarterback Case McCoy #6 of the Texas Longhorns relays signals to D.J. Monroe #26 during the game against the Kansas State Wildcats at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium on December 1, 2012 in Manhattan, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Notre Dame and Alabama. Oregon and Kansas State. Whatever.

The BCS National Championship and maybe even more so, the Fiesta Bowl, will rightfully get most of the attention in the coming weeks as we prepare for bowl mania. 

But even during a year when the majority of the population is underwhelmed with about 33 of the 35 bowl games, there are still a slew of underrated matchups that pit top-ranked teams against each other.

So buck up, people. It could be worse. Georgia Tech could be in the Orange Bowl. 

Note: A complete look at the top 25 can be found at the bottom of this page

Cotton Bowl: No. 9 Texas A&M vs. No. 11 Oklahoma

The Aggies just can't get away from the Big 12.

In their first season as a part of the SEC, Texas A&M shocked the world and rolled to a 10-win season and top-10 ranking. Their reward? An unexpected date with old conference rival, Oklahoma.

Moreover, Johnny Manziel vs. Landry Jones is going to be a must-see matchup.

All Manziel did during his freshman season was break total yard marks by Tim Tebow and Cam Newton in a season that will likely end with a Heisman trophy—which would make him the first ever freshman to win the award.


On the other side of the field, Landry Jones is quietly third in the Big 12 in passing yards and leads a balanced passing attack that is ranked fifth in the nation in yards per game.

This one has a good chance at showcasing the best quarterback battle of the year. 

Chick-fil-A Bowl: No. 8 LSU vs. No. 14 Clemson

Considering how each conference has played out this season, most will write this game off as another likely SEC blowout.

But not so fast. 

Clemson is sixth in the nation in scoring (42.3 points per game) and ninth in total offense (518.3 yards per game). Tajh Boyd wasn't named as a Heisman finalist, but with 3,550 passing yards, 492 rushing yards and 43 total touchdowns, he was certainly a darkhorse to make it to New York.

Oh yeah, Andre Ellington, Sammy Watkins and and DeAndre Hopkins aren't lacking in the "electric" category, either. 

LSU will be this offense's toughest test by far, however.

The Tigers are giving up just 16.9 points and 297.8 yards per game and boast one of the most dangerous front sevens in the country, led by Sam Montgomery, Barkevious Mingo and Kevin Minter.

Something has got to give in this one. 

Alamo Bowl: No. 23 Texas vs. No. 13 Oregon State

There's essentially no history here as Texas is used to being in the BCS conversation while Oregon State is used to, well, not that.

Nonetheless, historical aspect aside, this is an intriguing matchup on the field. 

The Longhorns have been inconsistent, but they still manage 36.1 points and 441 yards per game. David Ash is solid under center and the duo of Johnathan Grey and Joe Bergeron has been tough to stop on the ground.

The Beavers, meanwhile, were picked by most to finish near the bottom of the Pac-12 and have severely exceeded expectations. They won't just be happy to be here, though. 

Look for their underrated offense and stout defense to give Texas a battle in what will be an exciting back-and-forth contest. 

Here are the BCS standings after 14 weeks.

 1. Notre Dame
 2. Alabama
 3. Florida
 4. Oregon
 5. Kansas State
 6. Stanford
 7. Georgia
 8. LSU
 9. Texas A&M
 10. South Carolina
 11. Oklahoma
 12. Florida State
 13. Oregon State
 14. Clemson
 15. Northern Illinois
 16. Nebraska
 17. UCLA
 18. Michigan
 19. Boise State
 20. Northwestern
 21. Louisville
 22. Utah State
 23. Texas
 24. San Jose State
 25. Kent State


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