Bowl Games 2012-2013: Players Poised to Have Big Performances This Postseason

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2012

PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 13: Running back Johnathan Franklin #23 of the UCLA Bruins carriies the ball against the Utah Utes at the Rose Bowl on October 13, 2012 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

In the bowl season, unknown players become famous, and good players become great with big performances.

This year, a few combinations of talented stars facing poor defenses could lead to some huge days.

While there will be a bunch of noteworthy games, the men in this group are the most likely to explode offensively in their bowl games.

Stefphon Jefferson, RB, Nevada

The very first bowl game of the year will feature two of the best running backs in the country who no one knows about.

Stefphon Jefferson of Nevada and Ka'Deem Carey of Arizona will face off in the Gildon New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 15.

Both running backs topped 1,700 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns this season, and they are the major reason their team reached this stage.

However, Arizona has one of the worst defenses in the nation, allowing 486 total yards per game. 

Jefferson could end up rushing for over 200 yards in a winning effort for Nevada.

Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse

If you are a quarterback in college football, nothing could make you happier than seeing West Virginia on the schedule.

Ryan Nassib and Syracuse get a chance to take on the Mountaineers in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. 

The West Virginia defense has been torched by quarterbacks all season long. Overall, the team is ranked 116th in the nation with 38.1 points allowed. This was greatly improved in the last game against the offensively challenged Kansas.

Nassib is in the top 10 in the country in passing yards and topped 300 yards in six games. He should make it seven in the bowl game.

Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA

When Stanford shut down Johnathan Franklin on the last day of the regular season, the running back came back with one of his best showings in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

He rushed for 194 yards and two touchdowns in a losing effort against one of the top defenses in the country.

In the next game, Franklin will get a chance to face one of the worst defenses. Baylor is one of two teams that allow over 500 total yards per game.

This combination could lead to an MVP performance in the Holiday Bowl.

Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

Kansas State had a solid defense throughout the year, but the last few games have shown that there are a few holes on that side of the ball.

Baylor rushed for 342 yards and five touchdown against the Wildcats, while Case McCoy tossed 314 passing yards for Texas.

Marcus Mariota can take advantage of both of these things. He was one of the more underrated players in the country as a freshman for one of the best scoring offenses in the nation.

The Hawaiian threw for 2,511 yards and rushed for 690 this year. If things go well, he might be able to overshadow teammate Kenjon Barner and opposing quarterback Collin Klein in the Fiesta Bowl

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 Lousiana-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 NC 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 Oklahoma State Purdue Cotton Bowl: Dallas, TX 1/1: Noon ESPNU
Outback Michigan South Carolina Raymond James Stadium: Tampa, FL 1/1: 1:00 ESPN

Capital One

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


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