The BCS bowl games get all the credit.
This is especially the case in the archaic format's final year. But like any other, it easy to forget that there are a total of 35 games throughout the bowl season.
Is that too many? Sure. It is strange to see teams with a .500 record make it to a bowl. But those bowls are skip-worthy affairs.
While much of the attention falls on January, do not be so willing to write off the December slate of games. Sure, these teams did not make it to the promised land, but they will still play in highly entertaining affairs worth the price of admission.
|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|
Valero Alamo Bowl: Texas vs. Oregon
What is better than drama with a head coach going up against an offensive powerhouse?
Hard to say, but that is what the Valero Alamo Bowl brings fans on Dec. 30.
Things did not go exactly as planned for Mack Brown and the Texas Longhorns this year. They finished 8-4, losing two of three to start the year and close the year.
Things got worse from there. The Longhorns now have plenty of distractions to deal with after the school apparently flirted with Alabama head coach Nick Saban, who has signed an extension to stay with the Crimson Tide, they announced Friday. Brown told ESPN's Holly Rowe that he is still in good standing with the school:
ESPN has had the story wrong. Everybody just needs to slow down. I have a good relationship with my bosses, Bill Powers and Steve Patterson, and I look forward to making the best decision (about my future).
Brown's status may worsen after his team's bowl game. The Longhorns are now tasked with stopping No. 10 Oregon and the nation's No. 3 offense that scores an average of 46.8 points per contest.
Led by quarterback Marcus Mariota (3,412 passing yards, 30 touchdowns, four interceptions), the Ducks may find it simple to move the ball on a Longhorns defense that allows an average of 25.5 points.
Regardless of outcome, this will be a fun offensive display with plenty on the line.
National University Holiday Bowl: Texas Tech vs. Arizona St.
Speaking of offensive displays, the National University Holiday Bowl should turn out to be one of the season's highest-scoring affairs.
On paper, this one is a bit lopsided, as Doug Haller of AZCentral.com points out:
Arizona State is a13.5-point favorite over Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl.— Doug Haller (@DougHaller) December 10, 2013
But anything can happen when two explosive offenses collide. Texas Tech ranks just outside of the top 25 with an average of 35.7 points scored per game. Arizona State does even better at No. 10 with an average of 41 points.
The Red Raiders finished a disappointing 7-5 on the year, but they survived a quarterback carousel between freshman Baker Mayfield (2,315 yards, 12 touchdowns) and freshman Davis Webb (2,315, 16) to still tout one of the nation's best offenses.
The No. 14 Sun Devils did much better for themselves at 10-3 behind the arm of junior quarterback Taylor Kelly, who threw for 3,510 yards, 28 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Arizona State also touts one of the country's top running backs in senior Marion Grice (996 yards, 14 scores), who sounds ready to return from injury for his collegiate finale:
ASU coach Todd Graham said RB/WR DJ Foster should be ready for bowl game. Expects Marion Grice to be ready, but didnt sound as confident.— Doug Haller (@DougHaller) December 14, 2013
All in all, the Red Raiders and Sun Devils should put on a show for offensive enthusiasts with little care for defense.
Chick-fil-A Bowl: Duke vs. Texas A&M
No. 24 Duke and No. 21 Texas A&M close out the month's action on Dec. 31 in a battle fans surely will not want to miss.
Fans know all about the Aggies. Heisman contender Johnny Manziel put together another jaw-dropping line in 2013 with 3,732 passing yards, 33 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He added another 686 yards and eight scores on the ground to lead an Aggies offense that ranks in the top 10 with an average of 43.6 points.
Best December game?
But fans might not be as familiar with the Cinderella Blue Devils, a team that went 10-3 on the year to win the ACC Coastal Division. For a school known only for its basketball prowess, it was a program-defining year.
Conversely, the Aggies were a major disappointment at an 8-4 finish and .500 mark in the SEC.
It sounds funny, but this one may be closer than some think. Manziel and the Aggies must find a way to move the ball on a Blue Devils defense that allows an average of 24.7 points. While not known for their offensive firepower, the Blue Devils will surely be able to move the ball on the Aggies defense, which ranks No. 89 at an average of 30.9 points surrendered. They have given up 30 or more points in seven games this year.
Again—not the most prolific matchup outside of one name, but it's a contest sure to be entertaining in the opening month of bowl festivities nonetheless.