5 Bowl Games Every Pac-12 Fan Should Watch
An eye-popping nine Pac-12 teams will participate this year in postseason play.
A vast majority of the nine bowl games should provide the college football audience with a great show. However, a couple of the contests do stand out above the rest. The various placements will pit the Pac-12 up against conferences such as the ACC, the Big Ten and the Big 12, among others.
This list will speak about the five most intriguing games in which Pac-12 teams are participating. The placement of the slides will rank the contests from the least intriguing to the most intriguing.
Here are five Pac-12 bowl games every Pac-12 fan should watch.
*Here is a list of the entire bowl schedule.
Fresno State vs. Southern Cal, Dec. 21
The Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl between the Southern Cal Trojans and the Fresno State Bulldogs should be an interesting ballgame.
Fresno State thinks it should be playing in a BCS Bowl game. If it were not for the 62-52 slip-up to San Jose State, the Bulldogs would have snagged an at-large bid. Tim DeRuyter's team figures to come out in this contest with a bit of an edge.
From Southern Cal's point of view, who knows what team will show up. Without Coach "O" patrolling the sidelines, will the team get up for this contest? It probably doesn't help matters that Fresno State doesn't come from a big conference.
The vast majority of Fresno State's roster was never seriously recruited by USC. A roster chock full of California natives would love nothing more than to take down the vaunted Trojans.
From a strategic standpoint, it will be fascinating to see a staunch Trojans defense go up against an offense averaging over 45 points per game.
*The game can be seen on Saturday, Dec. 21, at 3:30 p.m. ET. It will be televised on ABC.
Virginia Tech vs. UCLA, Dec. 31
The Hyundai Sun Bowl pits the UCLA Bruins up against the Virginia Tech Hokies. This New Year's Eve clash will be a nice tuneup before the festivities begin later that night.
This could be the last chance to see Brett Hundley compete on the collegiate level. He still hasn't declared publicly whether or not he'll return for his redshirt junior season.
It's also a game featuring vastly different styles. Frank Beamer's bunch has allowed only 17.4 points per game on the season. However, it's only scoring 23.4 points per game. That's a considerably anemic offensive output in the current climate of college football.
UCLA employs an uptempo offense relying on rhythm and pace. Virginia Tech will want to slow the game down and grind it out.
This game could have big implications for the Bruins. A victory against the Hokies would give UCLA its first 10-win season since 2005. A victory could propel UCLA to a very strong finish in recruiting for 2014.
*The game can be seen on Tuesday, Dec. 31, at 2 p.m. ET. It will be televised on CBS.
Texas vs. Oregon, Dec. 30
Anytime that Oregon plays, the offensive fireworks will be on full display.
The Ducks will take on the Texas Longhorns in the Valero Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. Oregon will likely want to make a statement in this game, considering that the Ducks failed to make a BCS bowl appearance for the first time since 2008.
As for Texas, no one knows how the team will react after head coach Mack Brown recently announced his resignation. This will be Brown's last game on the sidelines as head coach of the program.
It would not be a shock to see Texas come out firing on all cylinders, desperately wanting to get one last victory for its coach. The fact that the game will likely be played in front of a pro-Texas crowd doesn't hurt matters much, either.
However, Oregon is easily one of, if not, the best teams Texas has faced all season. It will be tough to slow down an extremely potent Ducks offense led by Marcus Mariota, Bralon Addison and De'Anthony Thomas.
*The game can be seen on Monday, Dec. 30, at 6:45 p.m. ET. It will be televised on ESPN.
Texas Tech vs. Arizona State, Dec. 30
The National University Holiday Bowl will pit two teams with contrasting strengths against one another.
Texas Tech and its explosive offense is second nationally with 392 passing yards per contest. Arizona State is first in the Pac-12 in passing defense, allowing less than 179 yards through the air per game.
In theory, this should be a very exciting game. Texas Tech will undoubtedly put up points. It will also likely throw the ball more than 50 times.
Arizona State will be angry after its poor performance in the Pac-12 Championship Game loss to Stanford. A large amount of ASU alumni reside in the San Diego area. Expect it to be a very pro-Sun Devil crowd.
Also to note, Texas Tech has lost its last five games. Look for Kliff Kingsbury to pull out all the stops in hopes of getting back on a victorious note.
*The game can be seen on Monday, Dec. 30, at 10:15 p.m. ET. It will be televised on ESPN.
Michigan State vs. Stanford, Jan. 1
The Rose Bowl clash between No. 4 Michigan State and No. 5 Stanford is a throwback game for all of the football purists out there.
If you're a fan of tough, hard-nosed, smash-mouth football, this is the game for you. It's not likely to be a game with a ton of scoring. Realistically, it'd be a shock to see the winning side score over 21 points.
With that said, it will be a physical football game with great defense on both sides. The pageantry between two proud programs will be on display in this classic contest. A sea made up of red and green should offer an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere.
After all, this is "Granddaddy of Them All."
*The game can be seen on Wednesday, Jan. 1, at 5 p.m. ET. It will be televised on ESPN.