Football is a team sport, and it's fun to watch a great team in action, as we'll be privileged to do during the college football bowl season in 2013. However, there's no doubt it's more fun watching games that feature exciting playmakers who can turn the tide on any given play.
Obviously, the BCS National Championship Game and the other four BCS bowl games will be among those contests that showcase elite-level players on both sides of the ball. Similarly, there are plenty of top stars among the other 30 bowl games, too.
Here's a look at the entire slate of games. Afterward, keep reading for a closer examination of a few thrilling games that'll feature top stars—only one of which features a BCS game.
|BCS Title Game||Jan. 6||8:30 p.m.||Florida State vs. Auburn|
|Orange||Jan. 3||8:30 p.m.||Clemson vs. Ohio State|
|Sugar||Jan. 2||8:30 p.m.||Alabama vs. Oklahoma|
|Fiesta||Jan. 1||8:30 p.m.||Baylor vs. UCF|
|Rose||Jan. 1||5 p.m.||Michigan State vs. Stanford|
|GoDaddy.com||Jan. 5||9 p.m.||Ball State vs. Ark. State|
|BBVA Compass||Jan. 4||1 p.m.||Vanderbilt vs. Houston|
|Cotton||Jan. 3||7:30 p.m.||Oklahoma State vs. Missouri|
|Outback||Jan. 1||1 p.m.||Iowa vs. LSU|
|Capital One||Jan. 1||1 p.m.||Wisconsin vs. South Carolina|
|Heart of Dallas||Jan. 1||Noon||UNLV vs. North Texas|
|Gator||Jan. 1||Noon||Nebraska vs. Georgia|
|Chick-fil-A||Dec. 31||8 p.m.||Duke vs. Texas A&M|
|Liberty||Dec. 31||4 p.m.||Rice vs. Miss. State|
|Sun||Dec. 31||2 p.m.||Virginia Tech vs. UCLA|
|AdvoCare V100 Independence||Dec. 31||12:30 p.m.||Arizona vs. Boston College|
|Holiday||Dec. 30||10:15 p.m.||Arizona State vs. Texas Tech|
|Alamo||Dec. 30||6:45 p.m.||Texas vs. Oregon|
|Music City||Dec. 30||3:15 p.m.||Georgia Tech vs. Ole Miss|
|Armed Forces||Dec. 30||11:45 p.m.||Middle Tennessee St. vs. Navy|
|Buffalo Wild Wings||Dec. 28||10:15 p.m.||Kansas State vs. Michigan|
|Russell Athletic||Dec. 28||6:45 p.m.||Louisville vs. Miami (FL)|
|Belk||Dec. 28||3:20 p.m.||Cincinnati vs. North Carolina|
|Pinstripe||Dec. 28||Noon||Notre Dame vs. Rutgers|
|Fight Hunger||Dec. 27||9:30 p.m.||Washington vs. BYU|
|Texas||Dec. 27||6 p.m.||Syracuse vs. Minnesota|
|Military||Dec. 27||2:30 p.m.||Maryland vs. Marshall|
|Poinsettia||Dec. 26||9:30 p.m.||Utah State vs. Northern Illinois|
|Little Caesars||Dec. 26||6 p.m.||Bowling Green vs. Pittsburgh|
|Hawaii||Dec. 24||8 p.m.||Oregon State vs. Boise State|
|Beef O'Brady's||Dec. 23||2 p.m.||Ohio vs. East Carolina|
|New Orleans||Dec. 21||9 p.m.||La.-Lafayette vs. Tulane|
|Famous Idaho Potato||Dec. 21||5:30 p.m.||Buffalo vs. San Diego State|
|Las Vegas||Dec. 21||3:30 p.m.||Fresno State vs. USC|
|New Mexico||Dec. 21||2 p.m.||Colorado State vs. Washington State|
Las Vegas Bowl: Fresno State vs. USC
Fresno State and Southern California are helping to kick the bowl season off in style before the Christmas holiday.
Bulldogs quarterback Derek Carr will be heavily scrutinized in this upcoming contest. He's being touted by many NFL draft experts as a top-10 selection in the 2014 NFL draft—if not the potential No. 1 overall pick.
On a side note, it'll be interesting to see if Houston would take Carr after striking out with his older brother, David Carr, back in the team's inaugural draft in 2002. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller doesn't see it happening:
As for Derek Carr, he could be the best player in this class and I still don't see any way the Houston Texans can draft him.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) December 16, 2013
Regardless of where he ends up, Carr is likely going to succeed. He's been the best pure passer in college football this season, as his stats clearly illustrate, via College GameDay:
Derek Carr Leading the FBS This Season: Pass Yards (4,866) Completions (424) Touchdowns (48) 20 yard comp (73) #LasVegasBowl— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) December 18, 2013
Carr leads the nation's top-ranked passing offense and No. 5-ranked scoring offense. He'll be tough to stop.
USC's Devon Kennard, who leads the Trojans with nine sacks on the season, will be another player to keep your eye on in this contest. He's a disruptive, albeit extremely raw, force off the edge, and SI.com's Chris Burke recently called him "an intriguing prospect," at the next level.
Capital One Bowl: Wisconsin vs. South Carolina
There are some phenomenal players lining up for this game.
Wisconsin, to nobody's surprise, features one of the nation's top running offenses. Melvin Gordon and James White have been a tremendous duo this season, combining for 2,803 rushing yards and 25 rushing touchdowns.
Wisconsin running backs coach Thomas Hammock had nothing but glowing praise to offer regarding his two stars, as noted by Jim Hoehn of the Associated Press (via the Charlotte Observer):
"I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better duo in the country. Week in and week out, they do it consistently. I'm looking forward to having one more game with those guys."
The reason Hammock says, "one more game," is that there's a chance both running backs will declare for the 2014 NFL draft after the game.
It'll take a disciplined effort by South Carolina's defensive front seven to shut down Wisconsin's power-running attack. Of course, a legendary performance by Jadeveon Clowney would help the Gamecocks slow down Gordon and White.
The talented and much-hyped defensive end is also likely playing in his last college game, and he surely will want to put some solid film together for pro scouts. Both teams feature talented players all around, but Clowney is a physical freak of nature who stands above the rest.
Fiesta Bowl: Baylor vs. UCF
Offensive fireworks galore is what you should expect from this contest.
Bryce Petty and Lache Seastrunk lead the nation's top-ranked scoring offense, averaging 53.3 points per game. Unlike most of the high-powered offenses around the nation, the Bears are equally deadly running and passing, featuring the No. 5-ranked passing offense and No. 12-ranked rushing offense.
Baylor fans will be happy to know Petty will be back in action for his senior campaign in 2014. He announced his decision to return on a recent radio appearance with KWTX-TV in Waco, as noted by Tom Fornelli of CBSSports.com.
On the other sideline is UCF's Blake Bortles, the quarterback everyone's been taking about in NFL draft circles. Bleacher Report's Tyson Langland noticed recently that ESPN's Todd McShay mocked Bortles to the Oakland Raiders with the No. 3 overall pick:
Todd McShay has Blake Bortles going No. 3 overall to the Oakland Raiders in his first mock draft. That’s interesting. 2nd QB off the board.— Tyson Langland (@TysonNFL) December 18, 2013
Bortles' Knights haven't been known to score at the same pace of Petty and the Bears. The junior quarterback will likely need to step up and play the game of his life to lead UCF to victory on the big national stage.
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