If some of the results from early bowl games are any indication of what's to come, then college football fans better get ready for the upcoming matchups.
The bowl season started off right on Dec. 21, when Colorado State won a thrilling matchup against Washington State, 48-45, and the excitement has continued through the most recent clash of Utah State and Northern Illinois. Utah was victorious, 21-14, and Jordan Lynch showed that he may not be ready for the big show after all.
The biggest matchups of the bowl season are still to come, and the slate of January affairs will help college football fans to start the new year and finish their season on a high note.
The Remaining Schedule
|Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman||Marshall vs. Maryland||Dec. 27 @ 2:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Texas||Syracuse vs. Minnesota||Dec. 27 @ 6 p.m.||ESPN|
|Fight Hunger||BYU vs. Washington||Dec. 27 @ 9:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|New Era Pinstripe||Rutgers vs. Notre Dame||Dec. 28 @ Noon||ESPN|
|Belk||Cincinnati vs. North Carolina||Dec. 28 @ 3:20 p.m.||ESPN|
|Russell Athletic||Louisville vs. Miami||Dec. 28 @ 6:45 p.m.||ESPN|
|Buffalo Wild Wings||Kansas St. vs. Michigan||Dec. 28 @ 10:15 p.m.||ESPN|
|Bell Helicopter Armed Forces||Middle Tennessee vs. Navy||Dec. 30 @ 11:45 a.m.||ESPN|
|Franklin American Mortgage Music City||Ole Miss vs. Georgia Tech||Dec. 30 @ 3:15 p.m.||ESPN|
|Valero Alamo||Texas vs. Oregon||Dec. 30 @ 6:45 p.m.||ESPN|
|National University Holiday||Texas Tech vs. Arizona St.||Dec. 30 @ 10:15 p.m.||ESPN|
|AdvoCare V100||Boston College vs. Arizona||Dec. 31 @ 12:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Hyundai Sun||Virginia Tech vs. UCLA||Dec. 31 @ 2 p.m.||CBS|
|AutoZone Liberty||Rice vs. Mississippi St.||Dec. 31 @ 4 p.m.||ESPN|
|Chick-fil-A||Duke vs. Texas A&M||Dec. 31 @ 8 p.m.||ESPN|
|TaxSlayer.com Gator||Georgia vs. Nebraska||Jan. 1 @ Noon||ESPN2|
|Heart of Dallas||North Texas vs. UNLV||Jan. 1 @ Noon||ESPNU|
|Capital One||Wisconsin vs. South Carolina||Jan. 1 @ 1 p.m.||ABC|
|Outback||LSU vs. Iowa||Jan. 1 @ 1 p.m.||ESPN|
|Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO||Michigan St. vs. Stanford||Jan. 1 @ 5 p.m.||ESPN|
|Tostitos Fiesta||Baylor vs. UCF||Jan. 1 @ 8:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Allstate Sugar||Alabama vs. Oklahoma||Jan. 2 @ 8:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Discover Orange||Clemson vs. Ohio St.||Jan. 3 @ TBD||ESPN|
|AT&T Cotton||Missouri vs. Oklahoma St.||Jan. 3 @ 7:30 p.m.||FOX|
|BBA Compass||Houston vs. Vanderbilt||Jan. 4 @ 1 p.m.||ESPN|
|GoDaddy||Arkansas St. vs. Ball St.||Jan. 5 @ 9 p.m.||ESPN|
|VIZIO BCS National Championship||Florida St. vs. Auburn||Jan. 6 @ 8:30 p.m.||ESPN|
Capital One Bowl
Wisconsin and South Carolina figure to compete in one of the more competitive games of the bowl season, but the Capital One Bowl should be won by the Badgers.
The New Year's Day matchup features one of the premier rushing teams in the country in Wisconsin and one of the more clutch teams in South Carolina. Sure, a loss to Georgia early in the season wasn't good for the perception of the team, but a double-overtime win against Missouri and a convincing win against Clemson on Nov. 30 have put the Gamecocks in good position entering their Jan. 1 contest.
That being said, Wisconsin has too much firepower in the run game to be taken down by South Carolina's No. 14-ranked defense.
Melvin Gordon and James White headline the attack. Both have run for at least 1,300 yards and combine for 25 touchdowns. Corey Clement and Jared Abbrederis combine for over 600 more yards and nine more touchdowns.
The Gamecocks will try to force Joel Stave to become the offensive leader. If they can do that, then they stand a good chance of winning. If not, then Wisconsin will rack up yards on the ground and win.
Discover Orange Bowl
Braxton Miller can't be a one-dimensional quarterback against Clemson; otherwise Ohio State will come up short in this year's Discover Orange Bowl.
Primarily a threat on the ground, Miller showed off his legs against Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship game. He rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns, but the Spartans held him to just eight completions and 101 yards through the air. He completed just 38.1 percent of his passes and averaged 4.8 yards per completion.
That type of production won't get it done against a top-notch Clemson defense.
Brandon Rink of TheState.com provides interesting statistics in regards to Clemson's defensive pressure:
Clemson makes no bones about its pressure prowess: No. 1 in tackles for loss (113) and No. 22 in sacks (33). But facing this kind of attack throws a wrench into the typical plan.
The attack Rink is referring to is the dual-threat ability of Miller. If Clemson can contain his run game and force him to be a pocket passer, then its chances of success in the Orange Bowl go up—way up. Watching their game plan unfold on the gridiron will be exciting to watch.
VIZIO BCS National Championship Game
No breakdown of compelling January matchups would be complete without the BCS title game, pitting undefeated Florida State against Cinderella-story Auburn.
"We've gotten the matchup everybody wants to see," said Bill Hancock, the BCS executive director. "We felt we'd get the two best teams, and we did."
It took the Tigers two spectacular victories against Alabama and Missouri to make it to the final BCS title game in college football history, and they appear to be the team of destiny. Heisman finalist Tre Mason has carried them over the past several games, and his performance on the ground against an aggressive Seminoles defense will dictate how well the offense performs.
The Seminoles' offensive game plan begins and ends with Heisman winner Jameis Winston. If he can pick apart the Tigers defense, then Florida State should win. He's simply too good and too consistent to pick against.
Then again, teams of destiny often overcome a ton of obstacles on their way to titles. Auburn started that journey with a game-ending miracle against the Crimson Tide in the Iron Bowl, so maybe we'll see more of the same in this one.
This game has too much potential to pass over.