With the new year on the horizon, there is no better time to reflect on the greatness football provides. Yes, that means that we need to forget about how meaningless the bowl games are, but rather focus on the match-ups that are provided.
All of us want a playoff scenario, but in desperate times, let us look at every bowl game coming our way.
In the battle of two teams on the rise, the real question will be the condition of Qualcomm field.
After a heavy rain (in San Diego terms), the field is a mess. The parking lot is still flooded and there is less then two hours until scheduled kickoff.
You want to keep your eyes on quarterbacks Ryan Lindley on the Aztecs, and Ricky Dobbs for Navy. Both guys possess the ability to break the game wide open, but you'd have to think Lindley gets the nod over Dobbs because of the poor field condition. Dobbs is a option runner, and with a confusing offense routinely turning defenses inside-out, it might be a little easier to contain should it rain.
Both Navy and SDSU will have plenty of fans. It's home turn for the Aztecs, and home of the biggest Naval base on the west coast.
In a shoot-out, the Aztecs take their first bowl victory since 1969.
Hawaii features a high powered offense that can put up points like few teams in the nation.
The Warriors average a nation best 390 yards through the air, and post up 40 points a game.
Tulsa doesn't stand a chance until the end in this one, losing a big one.
I don't know where to start with this one. Toledo is a legitimate 8-4, but Florida Intl. is a blistering 6-6. These are the match-ups that make us question why Little Caesars even hosts a bowl.
Florida International has played well against several decent teams, most notably losing to Texas A&M by a touchdown early in the season.
Toledo has taken five or their last six, and I see now reason why they shouldn't continue their winning ways against Florida Intl.
Florida Intl. 10
Again, we see a team that was 6-6 (GA Tech) making it to the "post-season". But this one is different. It's like they intentionally picked this one.
GA Tech features the no.1 running attack in the country. Air Force has the second best. Without further delay, let's depict how this one might go.
Both teams will run the option, rarely passing.
QB's Nesbitt (GA Tech) and Jefferson (Air Force) can really handle the option. It's the passing that becomes an issue. Nesbitt sits around 30%, and has only thrown for seven touchdowns. Jefferson has thrown for 10.
But that's not the issue: It's who will run the rock. Look out for big runs, misdirection plays, and predictable first down play calls.
GA Tech 41
Air Force 30
The Champs sports bowl features a match-up similar to many we've seen this year. West Virginia features a 2nd ranked defense in points allowed, and NC State has Russell Wilson headlining the 19th ranked Wolfpack passing offense. Wilson is a Baseball wonder, and not to mention a fine quarterback.
Wilson has led the Wolfpack to wins over Florida State and North Carolina, posting an impressive 26 TD's, and over 3200 passing yards.
The Mountaineers have won four straight behind the speed of Noel Devine. Top corner-back Brandon Hogan will be out which may allow for mismatches. Starting center Joe Madsen will also be out for this contest.
Even with a handicap, the Mountaineers prevail.
West Virginia 23
NC State 17
Iowa has had a series of tough breaks so far this year which has led them to the insight bowl. Missouri had a key loss to Oklahoma which all but sealed their fate. Thanks to the football gods, we are blessed with the Insight bowl! (right...).
However un-inspiring a relative loser bracket bowl is, at least we can expect some defense with Iowa bringing in the 7th ranked defense, and Missouri the 6th ranked defense in points allowed.
The real question is if Ricky Stanzi can match the big play potential that is Blaine Gabbert. I want to say yes, but Iowa has sputtered in many contests this year.
Thanks to the presence of Adrian Clayborne, the Hawkeyes are able to clog the holes.
Maryland is coming off a game where they prevented NC State from taking the league title. That's enough to pick them in a win over 6-6 ECU right?
Maryland is a good team, and ECU has played well on occasion. The Terps will roll the Pirates.
With Mikel Leshoure leading the 13th ranked Illinois rushing offense with over 1500 yards, the Illinois offense is prepared to move the ball and score points.
In the video pictured along with this slide, Illinois was part of a contest where they racked up over 60 points and still lost. They have also had games where they've literally shut down teams like Michigan State in the entire first half, only to be mutilated in the second half.
The question is if they can deal with a Baylor offense that methodically moves the ball down the field.
I like Illinois in this one.
The Cowboys crushed Baylor earlier this year, and I see no reason why a repeat won't happen. Oklahoma State features the 3rd best scoring offense, and has rarely been challenged as far as scoring.
Arizona has the 9th ranked passing offense behind Nick Foles, but Oklahoma State will force him into known passing downs with all the points they can put up.
Oklahoma State 37
The 10th ranked rushing offense of Army will come to play SMU on this bowl of epic implications. Sarcasm intended.
The Mustangs are solid, and I see no reason why they can't dispose of a weak Army team.
Syracuse and K-State enter this bowl math-up at equal 7-5 records. Syracuse had a win early in the year against the highly clouted Jake Locker, and with that under their belt, I see no reason why they can't knock off K-State.
Kansas State 21
The Tar Heels have had a tought stretch with their players remaing eligible. With several bumps in the road, it's a wonder they even made it to a bowl game. The same could be said about 6-6 Tennessee.
North Carolina will be ready to play, and quite frankly, this game could go both ways.
North Carolina 31
The Big-12 Nebraska Cornhuskers have already destroyed the Huskies once this season, and that one was by 35. Taylor Martinez and company won't be quite as impressive, but unless Jake Locker can pull a draft stock miracle out of himself, this one won't even be close.
This game will a fun one to watch. Both teams are ranked under 20 in the country in points allowed. Andre Ellington, who has been sidelines recently, will hope to get back to action against a team that basically shut down the Florida Gators.
However good the defenses play, I still believe that Clemson barely gets the edge.
South Florida 17
It's especially clear that this game doesn't matter for the Hurricanes after they fired their head coach. That doesn't mean Jacory Harris won't show up to play.
He's been battling injury, and the Hurricanes have been battling for each win. The same goes for Notre Dame. Dayne Crist will be out, and Rees will look for his opportunity to hit the national stage.
Still, this game only will matter because it's a match-up between two storied franchises.
The Hurricanes bring the ruckus.
Notre Dame 17
Look, I know UCF is ranked.
Georgia is still in the SEC last time I checked.
Both the Seminoles and the Gamecocks possess the big play ability to sink an opponent. South Carolina shocked the nation by beating No.1 ranked Alabama. Florida State made a surprise run by beating Clemson, Florida, and Maryland only to lose to VA Tech for the division title.
Both teams bolster the ability to run up the score, and have the speedy personnel to make up any large deficit.
Expect a barn burner, but the SEC prevails again.
South Carolina 31
Florida State 30
Look, I don't know what you expect from a bowl as such with two sub-par teams at best. Northwestern has prepared by getting a dunk tank, and allowing the players to have some fun. No one really cares about this one, trust me.
Oh wait, your from Texas and like Tech?
Texas Tech 45
I love to watch the Spartans, but the Crimson Tide are just too much to handle. I'm hoping for a good game, but my realistic nature tends to favor the Tide.
Crimson Tide 31
Michigan State 13
In yet another battle of the 7-5 teams, the Gators take on the Volunteers. Both teams have had tough games, and have looked like different teams from week to week.
I think the Gators revert back to bowl form and take out Tennessee. Why?
Well, because I just think they can pull it off. Let's face it, this game really doesn't matter.
Bragging rights for Florida.
Denard Robinson captured the countries eye earlier this season, but after facing some tough opponents, his stock dropped off as quickly as his un-tied shoes.
Mississippi State has a legit offense and defense, and their No.21 ranking is no fluke. Dropping games to Alabama and Arkansas (Arkansas in 2OT) has made the Bulldogs rabid for payback. Even though Michigan isn't the perpetrator, they will be treated as such by Relf and company.
Mississippi State 34
The Rose Bowl will feature two great teams. Wisconsin upset the No.1 Buckeyes earlier in the season, while TCU stomped through all their opponents.
I see John Clay making a huge impact, and Andy Dalton will be left playing catch-up.
OK, seriously. Connecticut is a great story. But they don't have Kellen Moore, and it's not Boise State.
I've never been so sure about calling a game in my life. Gamblers, take this one to the bank.
This may be one of the best match-ups of the Bowl Series.
The Cardinal has one of the best defenses, and the Hokies have won 11 straight. Tyrod Taylor has led his team on a resurgence since losing heart-breakers against Boise State and James Madison.
Expect a nail-biter.
VA Tech 34
With Pryor in a world of confusion after the five-game suspension handed down recently, this may be his last chance to impress the scouts in years to come.
Ohio State has a dominant team, and the same can be said about Ryan Mallet and the Razorbacks. Unfortunately, with everything to lose (which in Ohio States' case is inevitable) I like the Buckeyes chances.
Ohio State 30
Honestly though, does this really need to be the only game played in the midst of actually fun-to-watch games?
Miami (OH) 34
Mid Tenn State 20
As of late, Texas A&M has not impressed me as much as Jerod Johnson is capable of. LSU has also been a team that is capable of losing on a big play.
Still, LSU boasts the No.9 ranked defense in the land. I think that might be too much to handle for the Aggies.
Texas A&M 13
Pittsburgh is coming off a nice end to their season, but in the few games I've seen Kentucky play, it would seem as if Hartline is a player that can bring home the bowl win.
Nevada impressed the entire country with their win over Boise, albeit it was not exactly by their own will. Boise shanked a few kicks, and for his sake, that's all I'll mention.
Next comes the task of settling the odds against a viable ACC opponent.
Kaepernick in his last hooray will now try to bring home a major bowl win. He already came through on one promise, so let's see where he goes with this.
Boston College 17
Not that I am demanding applause for calling this a month ago, but I knew this would happen. Auburn and Cam Newton against Oregon and LaMichael James. Oh how sweet it is. It's the debate settling event for all the SEC fans who demand that the PAC-10 is not worthy. For the west coasters, it's a chance to knock down the cocky SEC fans down a peg. Both sides of the argument only fuel what will be a great game, and perhaps a future rivalry of some sorts should they ever meet again.
Without further adieu, my predictions:
Here is a look at my article titled "Why the BCS Title game will be Oregon vs. Auburn"