Bowl Schedule 2013-14: Breaking Down Most Intriguing Non-BCS Matchups

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Bowl Schedule 2013-14: Breaking Down Most Intriguing Non-BCS Matchups
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Bowl season is among the most exciting times during football season, as the 70 best teams in the nation will have an opportunity to show their stuff on the national stage. Most viewers will be focused on the BCS bowls, but the other bowls can be just as interesting and perhaps even more so.

There may not be as much on the line but there are storylines galore for each and every bowl on the slate. Also, since only a handful of teams are lucky enough to play in BCS games, quite a few excellent programs have been relegated to what some might call lesser bowls.

The bowls may not be huge in terms of name recognition, but they will be when it comes to entertainment value. Here is some further analysis of three non-BCS bowls that will get fans talking.

2013-14 BCS Bowl Schedule

2013-14 Bowl Schedule
Date Time (ET) Bowl Matchup Watch
Jan. 6 8:30 p.m. BCS Title Florida State vs. Auburn ESPN
Jan. 5 9 p.m. GoDaddy Ball State vs. Arkansas State ESPN
Jan. 4 1 p.m. BBVA Compass Houston vs. Vanderbilt ESPN
Jan. 3 8 p.m. Cotton Oklahoma State vs. Missouri FOX
Jan. 3 8:30 p.m. Orange Clemson vs. Ohio State ESPN
Jan. 2 8:30 p.m. Sugar Alabama vs. Oklahoma ESPN
Jan. 1 12 p.m. Gator Nebraska vs. Georgia ESPN2
Jan. 1 12 p.m. Heart of Dallas UNLV vs. North Texas ESPNU
Jan. 1 1 p.m. Capital One Wisconsin vs. South Carolina ABC
Jan. 1 1 p.m. Outback Iowa vs. LSU ESPN
Jan. 1 5 p.m. Rose Michigan State vs. Stanford ESPN
Jan. 1 8:30 p.m. Fiesta Baylor vs. UCF ESPN
Dec. 31 12:30 p.m. AdvoCare V100 Boston College vs. Arizona ESPN
Dec. 31 2 p.m. Sun Virginia Tech vs. UCLA CBS
Dec. 31 4 p.m. Liberty Rice vs. Mississippi State ESPN
Dec. 31 8 p.m. Chick-fil-A Duke vs. Texas A&M ESPN
Dec. 30 11:45 a.m. Armed Forces Middle Tennessee vs. Navy ESPN
Dec. 30 3:15 p.m. Music City Georgia Tech vs. Ole Miss ESPN
Dec. 30 6:45 p.m. Alamo Texas vs. Oregon ESPN
Dec. 30 10:15 p.m. Holiday Texas Tech vs. Arizona State ESPN
Dec. 28 12 p.m. Pinstripe Notre Dame vs. Rutgers ESPN
Dec. 28 3:20 p.m. Belk North Carolina vs. Cincinnati ESPN
Dec. 28 6:45 p.m. Russell Athletic Miami (FL) vs. Louisville ESPN
Dec. 28 10:15 p.m. Buffalo Wild Wings Kansas State vs. Michigan ESPN
Dec. 27 2:30 p.m. Military Maryland vs. Marshall ESPN
Dec. 27 6 p.m. Texas Syracuse vs. Minnesota ESPN
Dec. 27 9:30 p.m. Fight Hunger Washington vs. BYU ESPN
Dec. 26 6 p.m. Little Caesars Pizza Pittsburgh vs. Bowling Green ESPN
Dec. 26 9:30 p.m. Poinsettia Utah State vs. Northern Illinois ESPN
Dec. 24 8 p.m. Hawaii Boise State vs. Oregon State ESPN
Dec. 23 2 p.m. Beef O'Brady's East Carolina vs. Ohio ESPN
Dec. 21 2 p.m. New Mexico Colorado State vs. Washington State ESPN
Dec. 21 3:30 p.m. Las Vegas Fresno State vs. USC ABC
Dec. 21 5:30 p.m. Famous Idaho Potato San Diego State vs. Buffalo ESPN
Dec. 21 9 p.m. New Orleans Tulane vs. La-Lafayette ESPN

Oklahoma State vs. Missouri (Cotton Bowl)

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Most would probably agree that Oklahoma State and Missouri both deserved BCS berths, but neither program was ultimately invited. The Cowboys lost to rival Oklahoma in their final game of the season, and the Sooners ultimately seized a BCS spot that could have gone to them, while Baylor won the Big 12 title. The Tigers were also a victim of the numbers game. Only two teams from each major conference can make a BCS bowl, and since both Auburn and Alabama ranked higher out of the SEC, Mizzou was left out in the cold.

Even so, both of these teams have reason to get up for this game. The Cotton Bowl has arguably lost some prestige over the years, but it will soon be a part of the College Football Playoff rotation, so it is on the verge of relevancy. OK State and Missouri have a chance to give it one more push. This season's Cotton Bowl will take place at the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium as well, so the surroundings will be extravagant. According to the bowl's official Twitter account, a fantastic crowd is expected.

Since AT&T Stadium is clearly in Big 12 country, the atmosphere ought to be something special. Missouri may be an SEC team now, but it was in the Big 12 for quite some time and already has an established rivalry with Oklahoma State. The main thing to watch in this game is Oklahoma State's strong defense against Missouri's explosive offense. Mizzou has the edge in quarterback play with James Franklin as well as a great running game due to the presence of Henry Josey, so the Tigers should prevail in a hard-fought battle.

Oregon vs. Texas (Alamo Bowl)

The Alamo matchup between No. 10 Oregon and Texas may seem a bit lopsided on paper, but this game could be much closer than most are anticipating. The Ducks have to be disappointed to be in this position after being in position to play for the national title just a couple months ago. The Longhorns, on the other hand, will be motivated to play well. This will be Texas' final game under head coach Mack Brown as he will step down afterwards, according to ESPN College Football.

Brown's final couple seasons at Texas weren't as successful as many hoped, but he was still beloved by his players. Per Christian Corona of the Associated Press, the players want to send Brown out with a victory.

"It would be great to have him ride off in the sunset (with a win)," junior center Dominic Espinosa said. "More than anything it excites us to make sure we send Mack out with a win. That's another incentive to go out and practice harder this week."

It remains to be seen if motivation alone is enough to slow down Oregon, though. The Ducks hit some rough patches late in the season with a loss to Arizona and narrow victory over Oregon State, but they still have the No. 3 offense in the nation. Quarterback Marcus Mariota and running back De'Anthony Thomas form a dynamic duo that Texas will have to account for throughout. Ultimately, Texas simply won't have enough offensive punch to keep up.

Miami (FL) vs. Louisville (Russell Athletic Bowl)

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The Miami Hurricanes opened the season as one of the biggest surprises in college football. They started 7-0, and although they ultimately lost three games, it looks as though "The U" is finally back on track. The Louisville Cardinals entered the season with decidedly more hype, but they fell off the map after losing to Central Florida in October. That was Louisville's only loss, though, and the attention is suddenly back on them because of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Bridgewater enjoyed an excellent season that saw him throw for over 3,500 yards and 28 touchdowns. He wasn't in the Heisman Trophy discussion, but he is very much in the discussion when it comes to the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft. Bridgewater does have another year of eligibility should he decide to exercise it, however. Most seem to believe that he will enter the draft, but Bridgewater hasn't yet decided, according to ESPN's Brett McMurphy.

Perhaps his performance in the Russell Athletic Bowl will influence his decision. Bridgewater is also a Miami native, so playing against the Hurricanes will probably mean a little extra to him. Fans will unfortunately be robbed of a truly great offensive encounter since Miami running back Duke Johnson is out, but the Bridgewater factor will be plenty in terms of attracting interest.

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