Bowl Games 2012-13: Top Matchups to Watch This Weekend

Austin GreenCorrespondent IDecember 29, 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

The 2012-13 bowl season is starting to hit its stride, with five quality football games crammed into one glorious Saturday.

Rice and Air Force begin the action today (11:45 a.m. ET), while TCU and Michigan State will provide the night cap (10:15 p.m. ET). Sandwiched in between are three other games that should delight college football fans everywhere.

Although every game is worth checking out, make sure you catch the following three games on Saturday.


Rice vs. Air Force - Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl

It will be a defense-be-damned kind of day in Fort Worth, Texas as both Rice and Air Force possess high-powered offenses and lackluster defenses.

Led by quarterback Taylor McHargue, Rice has won four consecutive games. During that span, they've averaged 40.5 points and 432 total yards per game. McHargue is completing 65.3 percent of his passes during the winning streak.

Unfortunately for the Owls, their defense will likely be shredded by Air Force's rushing attack. The Falcons are second in the nation with 328.8 rushing yards per game. Senior Cody Getz is their main weapon, as he leads the team with 1,213 yards and nine touchdowns this season.

Both teams also allow over 28 points per game, so this should be a shootout.


West Virginia vs. Syracuse - New Era Pinstripe Bowl

In a showdown of NFL draft prospects, quarterbacks Geno Smith and Ryan Nassib will lead their teams on Saturday. 

Smith could potentially be the No.1 overall pick in April, as he is the top-rated quarterback in the class. He's shown why he earned that distinction this season, throwing for 4,004 yards and 40 touchdowns. He has also taken care of the ball, tossing just six interceptions this season.

On the other end is Nassib, who is 10th in the nation with 3,619 passing yards. He has thrown 24 touchdowns this season, compared to just 11 interceptions. Nassib is currently projected as a second- or third-round pick, but he could improve his stock with a strong showing today.


No. 23 Texas Longhorns vs. No. 13 Oregon State Beavers - Valero Alamo Bowl

Oregon State will look to cap off its excellent season Saturday against the Longhorns. The 9-3 Beavers have won six more games than last season, including two victories over top-20 opponents.

It will be interesting to see who the Beavers primarily play at quarterback, as Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz have both been successful this season. Mannion has thrown for 2,446 yards and 15 touchdowns, while Vaz has totaled 1,286 yards and one interception.

The Longhorns also used two quarterbacks throughout the season, but there's not much of a debate about who to start after yesterday's developments. David Ash will start and likely play the entire game, as backup Case McCoy was sent home after breaking team rules (h/t ESPN).

Ash has thrown for 2,458 yards and 17 touchdowns in 11 games this season. He will have to be on point tonight, as the Beavers rank 22nd in the nation with just 19.8 points allowed per game.