The new year is almost upon us. And what better way to ring in 2013 (*knock on wood,* alright, Mayans) than with a full slate of BCS Bowl Games?
Five BCS games populate the first seven days of the New Year, featuring the champion of all six major conferences, and four at-large qualifiers—one of whom qualified from outside the BCS conferences, which is always exciting.
Although each game provides its own, unique intrigue, not all BCS games are created equal. Every year, a couple games register in our long-term collective memory, while others dissipate the moment the final whistle blows.
So in order to make your BCS week more efficient, here's how the five games rank in terms of watchability.
5. Florida vs. Louisville (Allstate Sugar Bowl)
January 2, 8:30 ET – New Orleans, La.
What, exactly, is supposed to draw me to this football game?
If not for the absence of a conspicuous demi-God, the matchup with Louisville would actually bear eerie resemblance to Florida's last BCS Bowl Game.
In 2009, the Gators drilled an overwhelmed Big East champion—that time Cincinnati—by a count of 51-24. Viewers tuned in until the end, in order to pay homage to Tim Tebow—one of the greatest college football players who ever lived.
Call me crazy, but I don't think Jeff Driskel inspires the same fanaticism.
4. Stanford vs. Wisconsin (Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio)
January 1, 5:00 p.m. ET – Pasadena, Calif.
I'm actually excited to watch this, but then again, I'm not most people. I'm an old-school football fan, who likes his pigskin clunky, physical and ugly.
But I'm not delusional.
Most people aren't exactly pumped to watch two backup quarterbacks lead plodding, run-first offenses against big, stout defenses. It won't be pretty, and it won't be high-scoring. But it will be good football.
If you've got a vested rooting interest, you'll enjoy this game as much as I will. If you just want to be entertained? Maybe you should look elsewhere.
3. Florida State vs. Northern Illinois (Discover Orange Bowl)
January 1, 8:30 p.m. ET – Miami, Fla.
This one, I think we should all be excited for.
I love it when a non-BCS school crashes the big bowl party. I love rooting for the plucky underdog, and given their BCS history, it usually goes well for me.
Since the Urban Meyer-led Utes of Utah crashed the party in 2004-05, non-BCS schools have gone 5-1 in BCS games—the lone loss coming when an overmatched Hawaii team was shredded by Georgia.
As always, pundits are counting the little guy—Northern Illinois—out of this one. Which is kind of fair since, unlike the other BCS-crashing teams, they received little-to-no hype throughout the season.
But something tells me this is gonna be a game. And a treat of a game, at that.
You're not gonna want to be the guy who forgot to watch this one.
2. Oregon vs. Kansas State (Tostitos Fiesta Bowl)
January 3, 8:30 p.m. ET – Glendale, Ariz.
I was dangerously tempted to rank this game first. I know, I know, I know about the stakes—that's why it's ranked second. But in terms of pure, visceral goodness, it doesn't get much better than this one.
At one point this season, it appeared this would actually be the National Championship Game. And while upset losses—Oregon to Stanford; Kansas State to Baylor—derailed both hype trains, these teams still remain two of the best in the country. Without question.
More so, they're both a lot of fun to watch. As alluded to earlier, I prefer my football physical and ugly. But even I can't deny the novel pleasure derived from watching two precisely executed spread attacks go at each other.
Buckle your seatbelt for this one—it's gonna be a hell of a ride.
1. Notre Dame vs. Alabama (Discover BCS National Championship)
January 7, 8:30 p.m. ET – Miami, Fla.
In the wake of last year's National Championship Game—where LSU famously couldn't get past midfield—many are disappointed with this year's draw. Specifically, they're disappointed with how...well..."not involving Oregon" it is.
But this is the game we got, and both teams earned the right to play in this game. Notre Dame was the only undefeated team in the country, and undeniably deserving of the No. 1 ranking. Some of the Irish's victories were suspect, but they were the only team that managed to snatch victory from every jaw of defeat.
I personally subscribe to the "cream rises to the top" theory. I think it'll be close for a quarter or a half, and then Alabama will overwhelm the Irish. But I could be wrong, and if I am, it'll be a second-guessing that I remember for a long, long time.
And that's what makes this game so exciting to watch.