Bowl Games 2013: Highlighting Thrilling Matchups with Top Stars

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Bowl Games 2013: Highlighting Thrilling Matchups with Top Stars
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

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 Games
Bowl Date Time Matchup
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
Non-BCS Games
Bowl Date Time Matchup 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

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

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:

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:

Carr leads the nation's top-ranked passing offense and No. 5-ranked scoring offense. He'll be tough to stop.

Harry How/Getty Images

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'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

Stacy Revere/Getty Images

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:

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. 


Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78 

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