The BCS is obviously the center of the 2013 college football postseason, but there are intriguing matchups outside of the five big bowl games. Quite honestly, aside from the BCS title game and Rose Bowl, the non-BCS matchups figure to be a lot more competitive.
If you're looking for exciting and close games to whet your appetite for the BCS season, I've got three solid suggestions for you.
Here's a look at the most interesting non-BCS matchups this bowl season.
Cotton Bowl—Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Missouri Tigers
An old Big 12 clash, turned bowl game may wind up being the best non-BCS matchup of the year. By advancing to the SEC title game, Missouri proved it belonged among the conference's elite. However, it was trashed by Auburn and the latter's treacherous run game for 545 yards and 59 points.
To put a positive stamp on the season, the Tigers need to win this game. A 12-2 season and a win in the Cotton Bowl is nothing to be ashamed of in the grand scheme of things.
Oklahoma State was one win away from a BCS bowl game—though it would have most likely been destroyed by Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Still, I'm quite sure Mike Gundy's team would have liked to have the opportunity.
Instead, the Cowboys will take on the Tigers in a battle of high-powered offenses. Missouri's attack is ranked 16th in the nation while Oklahoma State is 41st. This one could come down to which team has the ball last.
AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl Arizona vs. Boston College
Normally, the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl wouldn't draw much of a crowd—aside from the respective school fanbases—but because two solid NFL prospects may be playing their final college games, there is more interest.
How often do you get an opportunity to see the nation's top-two rushers battle head-to-head. Boston College's Andre Williams led the nation in rushing with 2,102 yards, and Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey was a distant second with 1,516.
From a team standpoint, both are 7-5 and have defenses that allow over 400 yards of offense per game. This should be a high-scoring and fun game with two exciting stars.
Russell Athletic Bowl—Louisville Cardinals vs. Miami (FL) Hurricanes
Believe it or not, both of these teams were in the national championship picture at one point. Louisville lost 38-35 to UCF on Oct. 18 before the latter was ranked. With no ranked opponents on its schedule, there was no time or opportunity to rebuild its reputation.
Miami was in the mix much longer. It lost its first game to then No. 2-ranked Florida State Seminoles. It may have been possible to rebound from the defeat and play in a BCS bowl, but the Canes lost their next two games as well.
The three-game losing streak left them out of the top 25 and the team never made it back in.
The matchup features two relatively highly-regarded quarterbacks. Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater had Heisman buzz to start the season. That talk faded—perhaps unfairly after the loss to UCF. Still, he remains one of the top prospects in the 2014 NFL draft—should he declare.
Aside from a rough game against North Carolina and struggles against Florida State, Miami's senior quarterback, Stephen Morris, had a solid season. He'll want to make a statement in his final collegiate game against a ranked opponent.
Stat references per CFBStats.com