Bowl Games 2013-14: Breaking Down Most Underrated Non-BCS Battles

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 25, 2013

Oct 5, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies cornerback Kyle Fuller (17) celebrates with safety Kyshoen Jarrett (34) after making an interception in the fourth quarter. The Hokies defeated the Tar Heels 27-17 at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

With so many bowl games at the end of the college football season, it is easy to overlook the good ones. However, there are quite a few interesting matchups that will be better than most anticipate.

Obviously, fans across the country will be looking forward to the BCS National Championship Game between Florida State and Auburn. Other BCS battles like the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl will also be excellent to watch.

Meanwhile, even the non-BCS schedule features some highly anticipated showings like the Capital One Bowl between Wisconsin and South Carolina, as well as the Cotton Bowl between Oklahoma State and Missouri.

Still, there are a few contests that might be skipped at first glance but should be among the best games of the bowl season.


AdvoCare V100 Bowl: Arizona vs. Boston College

CLEMSON, SC - OCTOBER 12: Andre Williams #44 of the Boston College Eagles rushes during the game against the Clemson Tigers at Memorial Stadium on October 12, 2013 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images)
Tyler Smith/Getty Images

When looking at these teams on paper, two players stand out among the rest: Ka'Deem Carey and Andre Williams.

Carey has been one of the best running backs in the nation the past two years for Arizona, leading the FBS with 1,929 rushing yards in 2012 and then following that up with an impressive 1,716 rushing yards in 2013.

The junior topped 100 rushing yards in every single game this season and has totaled 40 rushing touchdowns in the past two years.

Meanwhile, Andre Williams was more of a surprise for Boston College this year with a nation-best 2,102 rushing yards, turning himself into a Heisman finalist out of nowhere. Daniel Berk of the Arizona Daily Star points out that records will be on the line:

In all likelihood, fans will see plenty of rushing yards no matter who is on offense in this game.


Hyundai Sun Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. UCLA

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 30: Quarterback Brett Hundley #17 of the UCLA Bruins throws a pass against the USC Trojans at Los Angeles Coliseum on November 30, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Brett Hundley and Logan Thomas are two quarterbacks with great physical abilities, and they will match up against each other in the Sun Bowl.

UCLA's Hundley had an impressive season while passing for 2,845 yards and rushing for 587 more. While the redshirt sophomore is considering a move to the NFL, Chris Foster of the Los Angeles Times quotes a scout saying he could use another year in school:

He should stay. He needs that extra thousand live snaps he's going to get as a junior, to quicken his eyes and go through his reads in the pocket. He can hone in his accuracy and work on his timing.

He will get a serious test against Virginia Tech and the No. 8 scoring defense in the league. A strong performance could be all he needs to prove that he is ready for the next level.

On the other hand, Thomas will not have that chance to return to school after completing his senior season. The 6'6" quarterback improved his accuracy this year, but he still makes poor decisions, which have continued to hurt the team.

If his mistakes come up against UCLA, it will give the Hokies little chance at a victory.


Russell Athletic Bowl: Miami (Fla.) vs. Louisville

LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 23:  Teddy Bridgewater #5 of the Louisville Cardinals throws the ball during the game against the Memphis Tigers at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Teddy Bridgewater has the potential to be the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, but first he will have to battle his past. According to Matt Murschel of the Orlando Sentinel, the talented quarterback recently discussed the upcoming matchup:

There was a huge 'wow' factor once I heard we would be playing the University of Miami. I'm from Miami and I grew up rooting for the Hurricanes, rooting for Florida State, rooting for the Florida Gators … all the Florida schools.

To be playing against a hometown school, it's very shocking.

In addition to facing Miami, he will also be playing in Orlando, Fla., likely in front of many hometown fans. After an outstanding season where he completed over 70 percent of his passes, he will look to cap his year and possibly his college career on a high note. 

Of course, the Hurricanes will not simply be a pushover. Although they had a three-game stretch where they allowed over 40 points in every game, they got back on track with wins in the last two regular-season games.

The defense also ranked 10th in the country in passes intercepted this season.

Louisville has had a relatively easy schedule to get to 11-1 this year, but it will have a true test in the Russell Athletic Bowl.


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