Most college football fans are aware of the matchups in the five BCS games. These games get the majority of the hype and press leading into bowl season. That doesn't mean, however, that they will be the best games.
There are going to be some epic and memorable battles waged in some of the other bowls. With 30 non-BCS bowls featuring quality teams, there is no way around that fact. Of course, some of them will be clunkers, as well.
In an effort to help you avoid the clunkers and maximize your precious viewing time this college bowl season, I've picked the three matchups that promise to produce fantastic games.
|2013-14 Bowl Schedule|
|Bowl||Teams||Date||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream|
|Gildan New Mexico||Washington St. vs. Colorado St.||Dec. 21||2 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Royal Purple Las Vegas||Fresno State vs. USC||Dec. 21||3:30 p.m.||ABC||TBD|
|Famous Idaho Potato||Buffalo vs. San Diego St.||Dec. 21||5:30 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|R+L Carriers New Orleans||Tulane vs. Louisiana-Lafayette||Dec. 21||9 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg||East Carolina vs. Ohio||Dec. 23||2 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Sheraton Hawaii||Boise St. vs. Oregon St.||Dec. 24||8 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Little Caesars Pizza||Pittsburgh vs. Bowling Green||Dec. 26||6 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia||Utah St. vs. Northern Illinois||Dec. 26||9:30 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Military Bowl Presented By Northrop Grumman||Marshall vs. Maryland||Dec. 27||2:30 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Texas||Syracuse vs. Minnesota||Dec. 27||6 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Fight Hunger||BYU vs. Washington||Dec. 27||9:30 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|New Era Pinstripe||Rutgers vs. Notre Dame||Dec. 28||Noon||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Belk||Cincinnati vs. North Carolina||Dec. 28||3:20 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Russell Athletic||Louisville vs. Miami||Dec. 28||6:45 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Buffalo Wild Wings||Kansas St. vs. Michigan||Dec. 28||10:15 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Bell Helicopter Armed Forces||Middle Tennessee vs. Navy||Dec. 30||11:45 a.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Franklin American Mortgage Music City||Ole Miss vs. Georgia Tech||Dec. 30||3:15 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Valero Alamo||Texas vs. Oregon||Dec. 30||6:45 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|National University Holiday||Texas Tech vs. Arizona St.||Dec. 30||10:15 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|AdvoCare V100||Boston College vs. Arizona||Dec. 31||12:30 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Hyundai Sun||Virginia Tech vs. UCLA||Dec. 31||2 p.m.||CBS||TBD|
|AutoZone Liberty||Rice vs. Mississippi St.||Dec. 31||4 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Chick-fil-A||Duke vs. Texas A&M||Dec. 31||8 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|TaxSlayer.com Gator||Georgia vs. Nebraska||Jan. 1||Noon||ESPN2||WatchESPN|
|Heart of Dallas||North Texas vs. UNLV||Jan. 1||Noon||ESPNU||WatchESPN|
|Capital One||Wisconsin vs. South Carolina||Jan. 1||1 p.m.||ABC||TBD|
|Outback||LSU vs. Iowa||Jan. 1||1 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO||Michigan St. vs. Stanford||Jan. 1||5 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Tostitos Fiesta||Baylor vs. UCF||Jan. 1||8:30 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Allstate Sugar||Alabama vs. Oklahoma||Jan. 2||8:30 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|Discover Orange||Clemson vs. Ohio St.||Jan. 3||TBD||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|AT&T Cotton||Missouri vs. Oklahoma St.||Jan. 3||7:30 p.m.||FOX||TBD|
|BBVA Compass||Houston vs. Vanderbilt||Jan. 4||1 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|GoDaddy||Arkansas St. vs. Ball St.||Jan. 5||9 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
|VIZIO BCS National Championship||Florida St. vs. Auburn||Jan. 6||8:30 p.m.||ESPN||WatchESPN|
Matchup: No. 8 Missouri (11-2) vs. No. 13 Oklahoma State (10-2)
When: Jan. 3 on Fox at 7:30 p.m. ET
This may as well be a BCS game. Shoot, had the Missouri Tigers not fallen 59-42 to Auburn in the SEC Championship Game, they would have likely been playing for the national title.
Oklahoma State was also in line for a bigger bowl game until it fell 33-24 to Oklahoma in its final regular season game.
Now both teams must try to put the regrets of those losses behind them and rekindle this former Big 12 rivalry. Missouri had a wonderful year and was even able to weather an injury to starting quarterback James Franklin, who is back and playing well. Chances are he will play well in this game, too.
He will be going against a defense that is 14th in the nation in points allowed, but that defense certainly didn't look like the 14th-best in the nation while giving up 33 points to Oklahoma in its last game of the regular season.
Of course, it's not like Missouri's defense will roll in on a high note. It allowed 59 points to Auburn in the SEC Championship Game.
This sets up for what will be a back-and-forth, high-scoring affair.
Capital One Bowl
Matchup: No. 9 South Carolina (10-2) vs. No. 19 Wisconsin (9-3)
When: Jan. 1 on ABC at 1 p.m. ET
Like the two teams I just featured, Wisconsin will enter this game off of a heartbreaking loss. The Badgers fell 31-24 to Penn State. As it turned out, with Michigan State beating Ohio State, that loss didn't cost the Badgers much in terms of their bowl positioning. They wouldn't have been in a BCS game, and this is a solid consolation prize against a tough Gamecocks team.
South Carolina will enter this game having won five straight, and were it not for a 23-21 loss to a bad Tennessee team, the Gamecocks would be looking at a BCS game.
Wisconsin likes to run the ball and dominate the line of scrimmage on offense and defense. That will be no easy task against Jadeveon Clowney and a Gamecocks' defense that allowed the 14th-fewest points in the nation while playing in the tough SEC.
This sets up for what should be a relatively low-scoring team. The Gamecocks do not have a prolific offense. They are 49th in passing and 30th in the rushing.
Wisconsin is tough to run against, however, as it allowed just 1,216 yards at 3.2 yards per carry.
This sets up for a hard-hitting and entertaining game.
Matchup: No. 21 Texas A&M (8-4) vs. No. 24 Duke (10-3)
When: Dec. 31 on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET
Love him or hate him, you'd be hard pressed to say Johnny Manziel is not fun to watch on the college football field. Although Manziel said he's undecided as to what he will do next season, there is a solid chance this will be his last college game.
It's been an entertaining two years of football authored by Manziel. That two-year run, however, is currently on a bit of a down note. Manziel and the Aggies lost their last two games of the season to finish well below the preseason expectations.
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner also had what were easily his worst two outings of the season during his last two times on the field. If this is indeed his last game, I have to believe Manziel is going to do everything possible to leave a more positive last impression.
He shouldn't find too much difficulty playing against a Duke defense that allowed the 47th most points in the nation while playing in the not particularly offensively stout ACC.
Duke is also just 50th in the nation in points scored, so this game could very well be a blowout. Of course, the Aggies' defense—at 89th in the nation in points scored—is terrible.
What a blast it would be to see Manziel go out in a shootout.
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