Bowl Games 2012-13: Can't-Miss Matchups That Will Light Up Scoreboard

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 15, 2012

COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 24:  Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 works out during warmups prior to the start of the game against the Missouri Tigers at Kyle Field on November 24, 2012 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Defense wins championships, but offense is a lot more fun to watch. Fortunately, this bowl season provides plenty of opportunities for viewers to see high-scoring matchups.

The BCS National Championship between Alabama and Notre Dame features two of the best defenses in the nation, and it will not include a lot of points.

However, there are other games that might resemble last year's Alamo Bowl. Robert Griffin III and Baylor ended up defeating Washington by a score of 67-56.

While it might be tough to top the 123 points scored in that contest, these games could come close.


New Mexico Bowl: Nevada vs. Arizona

The first game of the bowl season might be the most action-packed.

These squads are led by two of the best running backs in the nation. Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey is second in the nation with 1,757 rushing yards, while Stefphon Jefferson of Nevada is No. 4 with 1,703 yards.

Both runners have also totaled over 20 touchdowns on the year.

To make things more interesting, Arizona allows 34.3 points per game, while Nevada is only slightly better at 32.5 per game. 

When two explosive running backs face defenses that cannot stop them, it is a recipe for an exciting game.


Pinstripe Bowl: West Virginia vs. Syracuse

This game is exclusively about West Virginia. All year long, the Mountaineers have shown that they can put up a lot of points, but they can barely defend anyone.

By holding one-win Kansas to 10 points in the final game of the season, West Virginia improved to No. 116 in the country in points allowed.

Of course, Syracuse is not some charity case. Quarterback Ryan Nassib is in the top 10 in the country in passing yards and seemed to improve throughout the year.

Over the second half of the season, the Orange averaged 35.8 points scored per game.

Combine that with the prolific passing attack of Geno Smith and lightning-fast receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, and this should be a high-scoring game.


Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma

Unlike a few other teams on this list, Oklahoma and Texas A&M both have capable defenses. However, the offenses will be the main attraction in this contest.

On one side, the Sooners are led by the experienced Landry Jones, who helped his team score over 50 points on five occasions this season.

The Aggies, however, have to overcome the pressures that come with starting a freshman quarterback. Of course, that quarterback recently became the first freshman ever to win the Heisman Trophy. Johnny Manziel really has little to be afraid of at this point.

These two teams are very comfortable with each other from their days in the Big 12, so this bowl game will take on a different feeling. Overall, this should be the most exciting non-BCS game of the season. 


Fiesta Bowl: Oregon vs. Kansas State

Kansas State allowed Baylor to rush for 342 yards and five touchdowns in the Wildcats' only loss of the season. Against the No. 3 ground attack in the nation, things could get ugly.

Oregon can attack teams from different ways. Running backs Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas can score from anywhere on the field, while Marcus Mariota balances the team out from the quarterback position.

This has helped the Ducks top 40 points in all but one game this year.

Then again, Kansas State also had a top-10 offense, averaging over 40 points per game throughout the season. Although the Wildcats are a little more one-dimensional, they are certainly capable of running up the score on Oregon.

Both of these teams had a chance to play for the national championship, but lost their opportunity on the same night. With each team looking to end the year on a high note, it should make this contest exciting from beginning to end. 


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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