Bowl Games 2012-13: Overlooked Matchups You Do Not Want to Miss

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 20:  Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans holds the sword  and conducts the band after the game against the Colorado Buffaloes at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 20,2012  in Los Angeles, California.  USC won 50-6.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Believe it or not, there are more quality bowl games on College Football's postseason schedule than the five BCS bowls that people have their gaze firmly fixed on.

Excluding the BCS games, there are 30 other bowl games on tap for our viewing pleasure over the next few weeks, and more than a few are guaranteed to be as exciting and entertaining—if not more so—than their BCS counterparts.

Let's take a look at some of these overlooked matchups that you simply do not want to miss, whether you have a rooting interest involved or not.


New Era Pinstripe BowlDecember 29, 3:15 p.m. ET, ESPN

Syracuse (7-5) vs. West Virginia (7-5)

Former Big East foes meet once again, this time at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx when the co-champions of the Big East, the Syracuse Orange, take on the West Virginia Mountaineers, who are finishing their first season as members of the Big 12.

When last these two teams met, back in 2011 when both called the Big East home, the Orange thumped the No. 15 Mountaineers at the Carrier Dome by a score of 49-23.

Revenge will be on the minds of dynamic QB Geno Smith and his teammates, who have rebounded from a five-game losing streak that crushed their BCS hopes and won their last two games of the season by a combined score of 90-34.

Syracuse, on the other hand, finished the season with a three-game winning streak and has hit its stride, winning five of its last six games,

Neither team leaves much margin for error: West Virginia is scoring fewer than three points more (41.6) than it allows (38.1), and while Syracuse's offense pales in comparison, scoring only 29.3 points per game, their defense is superior, allowing only 25.7 points per contest to the opposition.

The Pinstripe Bowl is going to be a high-scoring affair with both Smith and Syracuse's grossly underrated signal-caller Ryan Nassib having big days.


Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl: December 27, 9:45 p.m. ET, ESPN

Baylor (7-5) vs. UCLA (9-4)

Baylor's high-powered passing game is not only one of the most exciting things to bear witness to in college football, but it's the very thing that dashed Kansas State's hopes of playing in the BCS National Championship Game—and the Bears very likely cost Collin Klein the Heisman Trophy.

The Bears lead the nation in total offense at 578.75 yards per game, are third with 353.25 yards passing per game and are fifth in scoring at 44.08 points per game

Nick Florence and Terrance Williams are one of the most dynamic QB/WR combinations in the nation, hooking up 95 times for 1,764 yards and 12 touchdowns on the season.

UCLA's 96th-ranked pass defense, which allows more than 255 yards per game and has surrendered 25 passing touchdowns on the season, will be hard pressed to contain them, much less stop them.

Defensively, Baylor is atrocious, giving up more than 38 points per game and unable to stop any aspect of an opponent's offense, ranking 91st against the run and 122nd against the pass.

UCLA's balanced offensive attack, with Brett Hundley under center and Jonathan Franklin lined up behind him in the backfield will have their way with an overmatched Bears defense.

There's a lesson to be learned in this game (two of them actually): high-scoring games are fun to watch, and whoever winds up with the ball in their hands last will emerge victorious.


Hyundai Sun Bowl: December 31, 2:00 p.m. ET, CBS

USC (7-5) vs. Georgia Tech (6-7)

Things didn't exactly go as planned for USC, a team that started the season as the No. 1 ranked team in the country but lost four of its final five games and finds itself outside of the Top-25 picture heading into postseason play for the first time in quite awhile.

Georgia Tech backed into the ACC Championship Game thanks to postseason bans for North Carolina and Miami (FL), falling to the Florida State Seminoles by a score of 21-15.

It will be fascinating to see if USC's defense, which allows nearly 400 yards per game, can handle—much less contain—Georgia Tech's explosive triple-option attack led by QB Tevin Washington.

Equally as intriguing will be the battle between Georgia Tech's secondary and the deadly combination of USC QB Matt Barkley and WR Marquise Lee, who won the 2012 Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top wide receiver.