Bowl Schedule 2012-13: Overlooked Games Guaranteed to Entertain

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistDecember 21, 2012

MORGANTOWN, WV - NOVEMBER 03:  Geno Smith #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers drops back to pass against the TCU Horned Frogs during the game on November 3, 2012 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Contrary to popular opinion, a bowl game does not have to be contested between two teams ranked in the Top 25 for it to be worthy of our time and attention.

Plenty of non-BCS bowl games between unranked foes are going to be highly competitive—and highly entertaining—matchups.

Let's take a look at three games you don't want to miss.


R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Dec. 22, 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN

East Carolina (8-4) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4)

For fans of high-scoring affairs filled with big passes all over the field, this is the game for you.

A pair of sophomore quarterbacks lead the way in this one.

East Carolina's Shane Carden has completed nearly 67 percent of his passes for 2,838 yards, 21 touchdowns and only nine interceptions.

His counterpart across the field, Lousiaina-Lafayette's Terrance Broadway has competed just over 65 percent of his throws for 2,526 yards, 18 touchdowns and only eight interceptions.

With both teams having awful pass defenses—East Carolina ranks 108th while Louisiana-Lafayette ranks 114th, according to—both quarterbacks are destined to put up big numbers.



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

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

The last time Syracuse and West Virginia played each other, West Virginia was still a member of the Big East and Syracuse had not yet declared its decision to join the ACC.

While the Orange thumped the No. 15 Mountaineers at the Carrier Dome by a score of 49-23, this game features two teams that ended the season on completely different terms

Once considered contenders for the BCS National Championship Game, West Virginia went through a five-game losing streak in the middle of the season that crushed their BCS hopes.

While QB Geno Smith and the Mountaineers won their last two games of the season by a combined score of 90-34, it came against subpar competition.

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 largely due to the play of QB Ryan Nassib.

Both squads are pretty evenly matched and this one figures to be won by whichever team winds up with the ball in its hands last.



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

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

The Sun Bowl is truly a game of matchups, and whichever team has more success winning those matchups will be the one that emerges victorious.

USC's defense, which allows nearly 400 yards per game, will have its hands full trying to handle—much less contain—Georgia Tech's explosive triple-option attack. Led by QB Tevin Washington. the Yellow Jackets offense averages nearly 450 yards and 35 points per game.

Equally as important a matchup 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.

When faced with a dynamic QB-WR tandem earlier this season in the form of Clemson's Tajh Boyd and DeAndre Hopkins, things didn't end well for the Yellow Jackets.

Georgia Tech allowed the pair to combine for 173 yards and two touchdowns, while Boyd threw for nearly 400 yards against a porous Georgia Tech defense—though the Jackets did pick him off twice in the losing effort.



Rick Weiner is a member of B/R's Breaking News Team