Now that the 2012 BCS bowl games have been announced, opinions on which games are worth watching and which ones are better off leaving alone are starting to form.
While some BCS games will be highly anticipated, some seem less interesting than many of the lower-tier bowl games to be played a week or more earlier.
Here is a list of the BCS bowl matchups and a rating on a scale of 10 based on potential excitement, teams involved and representation of the most deserving teams in the nation.
Oregon Ducks vs. Wisconsin Badgers
The annual Rose Bowl game featuring the Big Ten champion Wisconsin Badgers and Pac-12 champion Oregon Ducks may be the most interesting of the BCS bowls.
The biggest question will be whether the big, physical Badgers will be able to slow down the up-tempo attack of Oregon, which has the capability of tiring out teams with a size advantage.
However, LSU proved at the beginning of this season that being physical with the Ducks is the key to stopping Chip Kelly’s offense.
In addition to these teams being relatively evenly matched, this game gets a high rating because it is one of two BCS bowls that features two conference champions.
Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Stanford Cardinal
Assuming people tune into this game to see how Oklahoma State does—the one team that had an outside shot to jump Alabama in the final BCS rankings—should result in good TV ratings.
It doesn’t hurt that both teams also have stellar offenses capable of putting up tons of points.
Andrew Luck is the big name in this game, but Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon may be the most athletic.
Stanford’s defensive secondary has been questionable at times this season, so Blackmon may be able to put on a show for fans and NFL scouts alike.
Hopefully, Oklahoma State will not suffer a letdown after being left out of the national title game. If Alabama loses to LSU again, a good showing in this game would be further evidence that the BCS made a mistake.
Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Michigan Wolverines
Virginia Tech was beaten soundly by the ACC conference champions not once, but twice.
Michigan didn’t even face the Big Ten conference champions during the regular season.
This matchup proves the BCS is more interested in filling the stands and making money than rewarding the most deserving teams.
Instead of giving a team like Boise State the chance to expose a power conference team, this bowl game accomplishes very little in that department.
The talk will be about Michigan and their astounding return to the upper echelons of college football and Virginia Tech's third trip to a BCS bowl in four years.
These will be the lead stories, because no one will be able to find anything else to talk about.
Maybe the BCS wants to be sure the focus in New Orleans is solely on the national title game.
West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Clemson Tigers
This game also features two conference champions—the ACC’s Clemson and the Big East’s West Virginia.
But this game suffers from the fact that both teams are well outside the top 10 in the rankings.
The Fiesta Bowl will not be without star power, as Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd and receiver Sammy Watkins have the ability to make highlight reel plays every time they touch the ball.
Also, West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith can be a treat to watch thanks to Dana Holgorsen’s explosive offensive scheme.
In the end, this bowl will be largely ignored because of the reputations of the conferences these schools represent. This is somewhat disappointing, as this game could turn out to be very entertaining.
LSU Tigers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
Maybe Alabama and LSU are truly the two best teams in the nation. No one has definitively argued against that.
What people have argued, though, is that this supposed “Game of the Century, Part II” begs the question, “What if LSU had to play Oklahoma State?”
I argued after the first game between these two teams that the 9-6 final score was more a result of poor offensive play than great defensive play.
While I was blasted for that view, Georgia showed the nation in the first half of the SEC championship game that a good quarterback can make LSU’s defense look vulnerable.
Alabama’s problem is they don’t have Aaron Murray.
This game might be close. It might even be a classic. But it leaves many fans begging for more, and that alone may result in some fans boycotting the game altogether.