Some Very Intriguing Non-BCS Bowl Games Dot the College Football Landscape

Chad VarndellContributor IDecember 19, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 14:  Head Coach Pete Carroll of the USC Trojans questions a non-fumble call in the game against the Stanford Cardinal during the second half at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 14, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  Stanford won 55-21.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Meineke Car Care Bowl

Pittsburgh and North Carolina both limp into the game after suffering narrow defeats to close out the season. Pitt was just seconds from a trip to a BCS game, but just could not stop Cinncinatti's great offense. North Carolina suffered a tough one-point loss to its in-state rival Wolf Pack of NC State. 

UNC has had a consistent defensive effort all year, but stopping Pitt freshman running back Dion Lewis will be a chore.  He was just named Big East offensive player of the year as well as Big East rookie of the year.

Prediction:  Pitt 27, UNC 17

AT&T Cotton Bowl

The game features two teams that were both ranked in the top 10 earlier this season.  Oklahoma State comes into the game after being throttled in Bedlam by the Sooners, 27-0.

Ole Miss also lost its final game of the year.  Last year, Ole Miss was able to subdue another highly ranked Big XII foe in Texas Tech.  Both teams have exceptional offenses, but the difference maker will be the do everything Dexter McCluster for the Rebels.

Prediction:  Ole Miss 34, Oklahoma State 24

Capitol One Bowl

This may be one of the lowest scoring games of the entire bowl season.  Both teams feature great defenses. That said, however, both teams have struggled against the higher quality opponents this season.

I think the difference will be the rushing from Evan Royster. In a close game, I give a slight edge to Penn State.

Prediction:  Penn State 20, LSU 13

Pacific Life Holiday Bowl

Both Arizona and Nebraska have looked impressive at times this year.  The game features the balanced offensive attack of the Wildcats and the unyielding defense of Ndomukong Suh and the Cornhusker Black Shirts. If this game lives up to what I expect, it should be one of the must see dogfights of the year.

Prediction:  Arizona 23, Nebraska  17

Emerald Bowl

USC looks to avoid a let down, appearing in its first pre-January bowl game since 2001.  The Trojans freshman quarterback Matt Barkley has had an up and down season.  Boston College's solid defense could prove tricky for Barkley and I expect this game to go down to the wire, judging from BC's recent overall successes in bowl games.

Prediction:  USC 24, Boston College 20