Bowl Schedule 2013-14: Breaking Down December's Must-See Matchups

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Bowl Schedule 2013-14: Breaking Down December's Must-See Matchups
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

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.

BCS 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

ESPN

 

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).

Tom Pennington/Getty Images

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.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

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:

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:

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

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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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.

 

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