Bowl Games 2012-13: Breaking Down College Football's Best Non-BCS Bowls

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistDecember 25, 2012

Everyone knows that the only bowl game that matters is the National Championship game between Alabama and Notre Dame. In terms of watchability, this year's most potentially explosive matchup is the Fiesta Bowl, pitting Oregon against Kansas State.

After that, the BCS matchups are largely uninteresting. With that in mind, I've decided to pick the three non-BCS games I'm most excited to watch.

From a clash of old Big 12 foes to a game that will basically feature no defense and make fans of old-school, smash-mouth football have several heart attacks, these games will be a whole lot of fun without all the extra BCS cash.



Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma

Any game with Johnny Football is a good one. Seeing how Johnny Manziel responds to winning the Heisman Trophy against a tough Oklahoma team, though, makes this the most compelling of the non-BCS games.

But this isn't just another showcase for the freshman gunslinger. This is a clash of former Big 12 rivals between two of the top offenses in the country. Texas A&M puts up 44.8 points per game, while Oklahoma averages 40.3 on the scoreboard. 

This game is going to feature a ton of touchdowns and will be played at an extremely high level.

Get excited, folks.


Chick-fil-A Bowl: Clemson vs. LSU

Do you like contrast in your football matchups? Would you like to see if the ACC's top offense can take down one of the best defenses in the country?

If you answered yes to those two questions, Clemson versus LSU is for you.

Behind Tajh Boyd, Andre Ellington, DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins, the Tigers are scoring 42.3 points per game—good for sixth in the nation in terms of offensive output. 

The Bayou Bengals aren't going to roll over on defense, though. Add in the fact that Clemson has struggled against top competition, losing to Florida State and South Carolina, and LSU should be the favorite heading into this game.

One way or another, it's an intriguing clash of styles and a must-watch game this bowl season.


Holiday Bowl: Baylor vs. UCLA

Some people might rather see Georgia destroy Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl, or South Carolina square off with Michigan in the Underachiever—er, Outback Bowl. Some of you may even prefer Texas versus Oregon State, or Mississippi State against Northwestern.

I get it. All of those are mildly appealing games. However, from a purely entertainment standpoint, none of them will top Baylor taking on UCLA.

The Bears can really move the ball through the air and put points on the board, throwing for 353.3 yards per game (third in the country) and scoring 44.1 points per game (fifth in the nation). Heck, they even run for 225.5 yards per game (18th in the country). 

Oh, but the Bears couldn't stop a mild breeze with a windbreaker on defense—Baylor gives up 38.2 points per game, 117th in the nation—and that's why this game will be fun. 

UCLA has a solid offense as well, and a balanced one at that. The Bruins rush for 202.9 yards (27th), throw for 271.6 yards (36th) and score 35.1 yards per game (29th).

Can you say shootout? I can, and I can't wait for this game.


Follow TRappaRT on Twitter