The 2012-2013 bowl season will finally heat up this weekend with some of the most exciting non-BCS games that’ll be played.
Eight contests will take place this Friday and Saturday. But here are the four that’ll be must-watch showdowns.
4. Russell Athletic Bowl: Rutgers vs. Virginia Tech
The Scarlet Knights and their No. 5-ranked defense just missed out on winning the Big East so they’ll take on VT rather than No. 3 Florida, which is a blessing in disguise. But despite the fact that Rutgers boasts three more wins than the Hokies this season, Frank Beamer and company are favored, according to ESPN.
It’s still only a two-point spread, though, so this one is bound to go down to the wire.
3. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: TCU vs. Michigan State
Both the Horned Frogs and Spartans finished their regular-season campaigns by losing four of their last six games. While neither team met expectations this season, they’re still flooded with talent and are one of the most evenly-matched pairings of the bowl season. According to ESPN, TCU is favored by just 2.5 points.
2. New Era Pinstripe Bowl: West Virginia vs. Syracuse
Almost every time WVU takes the field it makes for an entertaining show. Last year, the Mountaineers embarrassed Clemson 70-33 and Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey will look to match that offensive outing against the Orange.
Syracuse won’t be a pushover, though. It closed out the regular season with a three-game winning streak including a 45-26 victory over the Big East Champions, No. 9 Louisville.
1. Valero Alamo Bowl: No. 23 Texas vs. No. 13 Oregon State
The Longhorns and Beavers are the two most talented teams that’ll face off this weekend. The only opponents that either of these squads lost to by more than one score this season were Oregon, Kansas State and Oklahoma.
While Oregon State has the superior resume going in, Texas is practically playing at home so this game, like the others on this list, will be a nail-biter.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.