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Bowl Matchups 2013: Most Intriguing Non-BCS Bowls You Have to Watch

Johnny Football will take center stage for the last time in the collegiate ranks.
Johnny Football will take center stage for the last time in the collegiate ranks.Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Shehan PeirisCorrespondent IIIDecember 13, 2013

The regular season of college football is now over, but we'll end a memorable year with a flurry of bowl games that are certain to provide thrills and highlights in a big way. Understandably, most of the national attention is paid to the five BCS bowl games, but there are plenty of enticing matchups in the non-BCS bowls that should have you reaching for the remote.

For your reading (and future viewing) pleasure, here is a breakdown of four must-watch non-BCS bowl games.

Before we get to the analysis, take a gander at the bowl game schedule complete with all the TV information so you can circle the relevant dates on your calendar and prepare your excuses for missing classes/work.

Bowl Game Schedule
BowlTeamsDateTime (ET)TV
Gildan New MexicoWashington St. vs. Colorado St.Dec. 212 p.m.ESPN
Royal Purple Las VegasFresno State vs. USCDec. 213:30 p.m.ABC
Famous Idaho PotatoBuffalo vs. San Diego St.Dec. 215:30 p.m.ESPN
R+L Carriers New OrleansTulane vs. Louisiana-LafayetteDec. 219 p.m.ESPN
Beef 'O' Brady's St. PetersburgEast Carolina vs. OhioDec. 232 p.m.ESPN
Sheraton HawaiiBoise St. vs. Oregon St.Dec. 248 p.m.ESPN
Little Caesars PizzaPittsburgh vs. Bowling GreenDec. 266 p.m.ESPN
S.D. County Credit Union PoinsettiaUtah St. vs. Northern IllinoisDec. 269:30 p.m.ESPN
Military Bowl Presented By Northrop GrummanMarshall vs. MarylandDec. 272:30 p.m.ESPN
TexasSyracuse vs. MinnesotaDec. 276 p.m.ESPN
Fight HungerBYU vs. WashingtonDec. 279:30 p.m.ESPN
New Era PinstripeRutgers vs. Notre DameDec. 28NoonESPN
BelkCincinnati vs. North CarolinaDec. 283:20 p.m.ESPN
Russell AthleticLouisville vs. MiamiDec. 286:45 p.m.ESPN
Buffalo Wild WingsKansas St. vs. MichiganDec. 2810:15 p.m.ESPN
Bell Helicopter Armed ForcesMiddle Tennessee vs. NavyDec. 3011:45 a.m.ESPN
Franklin American Mortgage Music CityOle Miss vs. Georgia TechDec. 303:15 p.m.ESPN
Valero AlamoTexas vs. OregonDec. 306:45 p.m.ESPN
National University HolidayTexas Tech vs. Arizona St.Dec. 3010:15 p.m.ESPN
AdvoCare V100Boston College vs. ArizonaDec. 3112:30 p.m.ESPN
Hyundai SunVirginia Tech vs. UCLADec. 312 p.m.CBS
AutoZone LibertyRice vs. Mississippi St.Dec. 314 p.m.ESPN
Chick-fil-ADuke vs. Texas A&MDec. 318 p.m.ESPN
TaxSlayer.com GatorGeorgia vs. NebraskaJan. 1NoonESPN2
Heart of DallasNorth Texas vs. UNLVJan. 1NoonESPNU
Capital OneWisconsin vs. South CarolinaJan. 11 p.m.ABC
OutbackLSU vs. IowaJan. 11 p.m.ESPN
Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIOMichigan St. vs. StanfordJan. 15 p.m.ESPN
Tostitos FiestaBaylor vs. UCFJan. 18:30 p.m.ESPN
Allstate SugarAlabama vs. OklahomaJan. 28:30 p.m.ESPN
Discover OrangeClemson vs. Ohio St.Jan. 3TBDESPN
AT&T CottonMissouri vs. Oklahoma St.Jan. 37:30 p.m.FOX
BBVA CompassHouston vs. VanderbiltJan. 41 p.m.ESPN
GoDaddyArkansas St. vs. Ball St.Jan. 59 p.m.ESPN
VIZIO BCS National ChampionshipFlorida St. vs. AuburnJan. 68:30 p.m.ESPN
ESPN.com

Now, to the bowl games!

 

Las Vegas Bowl: Fresno State vs. USC

Derek Carr has been magnificent for the Bulldogs this year.
Derek Carr has been magnificent for the Bulldogs this year.Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Like one of the games that we'll get to later, this is an odd pairing, but it will be a spectacular game. Fresno State lost only one game all year, and they're led by quarterback Derek Carr, who is shooting up NFL draft boards according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport:

Carr runs a Bulldogs offense that leads the nation in passing yards per game and passing touchdowns, and the senior's numbers are eye-popping.

Derek Carr's 2013 Numbers
Completion PercentagePassing YardsYards per AttemptTDsINTsPasser Rating
70.1%4,8668.0487161.5
ESPN.com

The aerial attack of Fresno State will make this an enjoyable viewing experience, and we haven't even discussed the USC Trojans yet.

Interim head coach Ed Orgeron resigned after not getting the permanent position, so how will the Trojans react when they take the field? The Trojans are stocked with talent, and wide receiver Marqise Lee is one of the most skilled wideouts in the country.

You'll get the chance to watch one of the most storied programs in college football history, an up-and-coming school and one of the best quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL draft.

There's plenty to like about the Las Vegas Bowl.

 

Alamo Bowl: Texas vs. Oregon

Mariota is staying in school, and he'll be one of the best quarterbacks in college football next year.
Mariota is staying in school, and he'll be one of the best quarterbacks in college football next year.Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

There will be plenty of drama surrounding the Alamo Bowl, and the chief storyline will revolve around Texas head coach Mack Brown. Rumors about his future at Texas have been swirling, with many believing that his time in Austin is done:

Will the long-time head coach even be on the sidelines on December 30?

If he isn't, prepare yourself for a long summer of discussion regarding the vacancy, with plenty of high-profile names (like Nick Saban) in the mix. If he is, it will probably be his last game as the Longhorns head coach.

But enough of the drama, what about the action on the field?

For starters, the Oregon Ducks are one of the most enjoyable teams to watch because of their fast-paced offense and the speed and athleticism they have at every position.

On the other sideline, Texas has actually been quite good despite all the media fanfare and the "sky is falling" rhetoric. The Longhorns were just one win away from winning the Big 12 and earning themselves a berth in a BCS bowl.

Texas might not be able to keep up with the Ducks' third-ranked offense for long, but it will still be a fun game to watch with plenty of storylines to discuss.

 

Chick-fil-A Bowl: Duke vs. Texas A&M

Johnny Football will probably be in a shootout for his last college game.
Johnny Football will probably be in a shootout for his last college game.Sean Gardner/Getty Images

It seems strange to be putting these two schools together on a football field in December, but Duke is ready to keep proving their detractors wrong when they take on Texas A&M. This is your chance to watch one of the under-the-radar teams in college football, but the Blue Devils will do much more than just show up.

The 88th-ranked Aggies defense holds less water than a sieve, so Duke will be able to find the end zone and turn this one into a shootout.

And we know that Texas A&M can score.

The aforementioned points are reasons to watch this game, but there is one X-factor that overshadows everything: Johnny Manziel.

Firstly, he is the most entertaining player in college football. He makes ridiculous plays through the air and on the ground, and the former Heisman winner has put up over 4,400 yards of offense and 41 touchdowns in 2013. Every game, he will do something that will leave you gobsmackeda notion that is seconded by NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah:

Secondly, this will be his last game in an Aggies uniform.

You don't want to miss the magic of Johnny Football for the last time on the college football stage, do you?

 

Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Missouri

The Cowboys and the Tigers will revisit their former Big-12 rivalry.
The Cowboys and the Tigers will revisit their former Big-12 rivalry.Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports

This is virtually a BCS bowl game between the former Big 12 rivals. If each team had won their last game, not only would they be in a BCS bowl, but they would have been at the forefront of the national championship game conversation.

Revisiting their previous conference rivalry is a fun storyline, but this is a must-watch game because both of these teams are so good. In addition, both teams are smarting from their recent losses and will come out with all guns blazing.

This matchup features two top-15 offenses and top-30 defenses, so we'll get a very well-played game between two evenly matched teams.

Cowboys vs. Tigers
TeamPoints Scored Per GameRankPoints Allowed Per GameRank
Missouri39.01522.529
Oklahoma State39.81420.014
NCAA.com/Stats

It's going to be an entertaining contest, and you definitely don't want to miss the best non-BCS bowl game of the year.

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