If you want to see electrifying offenses and tons of scoring, you'll get your fair share of both this bowl season.
With 35 bowl games in 2013-14, it's inevitable that some will be defensive struggles. Two teams will take the field, both eyeing postseason glory, and proceed to pound the ball right into the teeth of the opposing defense for 60 minutes until the cloud of dust clears and the game mercifully ends.
But that's not what the spread offense revolution is all about. If you're a fan of fast-paced offense with as many big plays as huddles, you have to know where to look, lest you tune in looking for passing and find a field position battle.
Curate your viewing experience around dynamic quarterbacks, laissez-faire defenses or, better yet, both. The athletes will get into space, the points will pile up, and you'll just sit back and enjoy.
|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||Noon||Gator||Nebraska vs. Georgia||ESPN2|
|Jan. 1||Noon||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||Noon||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|
Miami (FL) vs. Louisville (Russell Athletic Bowl)
The Hurricanes offense topped 40 points in five of its 12 games this season, and the team allowed at least 40 points in all three of its losses.
That's important because Louisville is better than Miami. And the Cardinals are better because they have Teddy Bridgewater and Miami doesn't.
Bottom line: If Teddy Bridgewater is in the 2014 NFL draft class, he will be my No. 1 overall player.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) December 21, 2013
Bridgewater, who originally committed to the Canes before reneging and opting to go to Louisville, has emerged as an elite quarterback. He has the arm strength, accuracy and knowledge of the Cards' pro-style offense to make any throw they ask him to, and in the unlikely event Miami can bottle up all of Bridgewater's targets, he can beat them with his legs, too.
That talent, versatility and poise allowed the junior QB to throw for 3,523 yards this season with 28 touchdowns and four interceptions. Miami has no answer on defense for that kind of player; the only alternative is to try to match his output.
Stephen Morris will have his hands full there, facing a Cardinals defense allowing only 12.4 points per game, third fewest in the nation. That's not what you want to hear, but consider this: Louisville's D is also in the top 20 in turnovers with 26, and every possession Miami loses is one Bridgewater gains.
Texas vs. Oregon (Alamo Bowl)
Oregon's blur offense has looked more vulnerable in the past four games than it has in years. The Ducks scored 20 or fewer points twice in that stretch, losing both times, while Marcus Mariota has thrown multiple interceptions in each of his last two games after throwing none prior.
That said, don't take that as any indication that Oregon will be any less dynamic and pose any less of a threat to Texas. Rather, the Longhorns might have a better chance of keeping up with the Ducks than you might expect.
Case McCoy doesn't seem up to the task of matching Mariota, which is fine. Mariota is a fantastic dual threat under center who has thrown for 30 touchdowns and run for nine more. But keep in mind McCoy tossed three TDs as he outdueled West Virginia in a 47-40 overtime win, and Texas has scored more than 30 points in all but four games this season.
Marcus Mariota’s career stats: 6,089 passing yds, 77 TDs. The Ducks must be quack-static to have him back next year: http://t.co/sH2vJW0iE1— ESPN (@espn) December 4, 2013
Unsurprisingly, the Longhorns lost those four, but don't expect them to settle for punting and praying against Oregon.
It will be head coach Mack Brown's final game at the helm, and his players will come out passionate and aggressive against the Ducks. If that translates into more points for Texas, fans will get the thrill of seeing Oregon try to execute under more pressure.
Otherwise, they'll just watch the third-best scoring offense in college football keep working.
Duke vs. Texas A&M (Cotton Bowl)
Don't even worry about Duke. Any bowl game featuring Texas A&M was going to be a shootout.
It starts with Johnny Manziel, of course. The 2012 Heisman winner was every bit as great this season, throwing for 3,732 yards, running for 686 more and scoring 41 total touchdowns. While he has an All-American receiver in Mike Evans, Manziel makes the passing game incredible with his ability to make plays with his feet and throw on the run.
This is going to sound really odd. But Johnny Manziel passes and 2013 Peyton Manning passes have the same fast-floating velocity— Ian Kenyon (@IanKenyonNFL) December 19, 2013
But any fan of offense has to appreciate the Aggies' commitment to scoring; not only are they fifth in scoring offense, but they're also 89th in scoring defense. It's a win-lose for A&M, but it's a win-win for everyone watching.
How the Blue Devils respond to that porousness will be fascinating. They surely can't stop Manziel, but how well will they be able to keep pace with him? Will Duke's quarterback tandem of Anthony Boone and Brandon Connette find success through the air?
Anything is possible against A&M's defense, and that makes the other team's offense just as exciting as Manziel's.
Baylor vs. UCF (Fiesta Bowl)
No team in college football has averaged more points than the Baylor Bears, who have put up a whopping 53.3 per game. Bryce Petty has a 30:2 touchdown-interception ratio and has run for 11 more TDs. In fact, Baylor has scored 43 times on the ground in total.
Between Petty and his receivers, Petty and his legs and Lache Seastrunk in the backfield, Baylor can pick up bunches of yards and points any number of ways. But unlike their intrastate rivals in the Cotton Bowl, Baylor is also in the top 20 in scoring defense.
Fortunately, the UCF Knights have a great quarterback of their own leading the offense.
How did Blake Bortles keep that play alive? Wow! Broke out of 2 sacks, found Worton for 31 yards. 1st and 10 at the Rutgers 36. #RUTGvsUCF— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) November 22, 2013
Blake Bortles' 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions are nothing too impressive in the college ranks, but he's 6'4", 230 pounds with a cannon arm and the ability to stand strong while the play develops downfield.
UCF will need him to do so early and often against Baylor because there's no chance the Knights will dictate the pace. They can only hope to let their QB air it out and match the Bears score for score.
Florida State vs. Auburn (BCS National Championship)
What, you thought we wouldn't want to watch an offense that averages 50 points per game and touts this year's Heisman winner? And it's facing the most magical college football team in recent memory?
Amazing things happen when Jameis Winston plays quarterback. Things like throwing for 38 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman, leading an undefeated Florida State team that never scored fewer than 37 points and going just one game without throwing multiple touchdowns.
Winston was the most exciting player in college football this season. Perhaps that's because Bridgewater, Manziel, Mariota and Petty all lost games, so give some credit to Florida State's staunch defense, which led the nation with 10.7 points allowed per game, for the assist.
Just don't expect the Tigers to be intimidated when they face the Seminoles. Auburn can score even when both defenders get to the ball.
Florida State hasn't faced a team on Auburn's level; Clemson and Miami don't cut it. Nick Marshall is effective using the run to set up the pass, which is a lot easier to do when Tre Mason is behind you with his 1,621 yards and 22 touchdowns.
It isn't Auburn's style to make it easy on its opponents. Against Winston and Florida State, that means scoring with them, so expect this to be an exhilarating sendoff for the BCS era.