It’s bowling season again. With the holidays coming up faster than Usain Bolt running the 100 metres, college football is set for a smorgasbord of bowl games. Most of them are useless, unless you’re an alumnus of the school, or a pro scout looking for that diamond in the rough. However, there are a few bowl games that stand out, and are worth a second look. We all know Notre Dame vs. Alabama matchup is worthy of attention, so that one will stand out on its own. But I did find five bowl games that I’ll be keeping an eye on.
Fiesta Bowl: Oregon vs. Kansas State
At one time, this was the projected BCS title game. However, fate dealt both the Ducks and Wildcats a cruel hand. Oregon lost at home to Stanford, while Kansas State were blown out by Baylor on the same day, to end both teams’ national championship dreams. Both teams have high-powered offences, that can light up scoreboards like Christmas trees. With Marcus Mariota and Kenjon Barner leading the Ducks and Collin Klein in charge of the Wildcats attack, the Fiesta Bowl is the best matchup of the BCS Bowl games, save for the BCS title game.
Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M
A potential shootout between for Big 12 rivals. The Aggies had a very successful first season in the SEC, posting a 10-2 record, including a historic upset victory over Alabama. The Sooners were bitterly disappointed about missing out on a BCS bowl, even though their two losses were over powerhouses Notre Dame and Kansas State. The quarterbacks will be in the spotlight in this one. Johnny Manziel is the most exciting freshman in many years. Landry Jones is the senior with something to prove. This has all the earmarks of a classic.
Capital One Bowl: Nebraska vs. Georgia
The Bulldogs were 4 yards away from reaching the BCS title game. Instead, they make the trek to Orlando on New Year’s Day to face a Nebraska team that was embarrassed by Wisconsin, in the Big Ten championship game. This looks like a mismatch, but let us not forget, Georgia has lost their last two bowl games, including going down to Central Florida in the Liberty Bowl in 2010. This could also shape up to be a battle of quarterbacks. Taylor Martinez is very athletic and mobile for Nebraska. Georgia’s Aaron Murray is a pocket passer who possess a cannon of an arm. If Nebraska plays defence like they did against Wisconsin, then Georgia could put up more points than the Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors combined.
Chick-fil-A Bowl: LSU vs. Clemson
This could also be referred to as the Tiger Bowl. Or the battle of Death Valley. LSU should be in a better bowl game though. Their two losses to Florida and Alabama were by a mere 12 points combined. The Bayou Bengals could make an argument they belong in a BCS Bowl game, considering the fact they do hold victories over South Carolina and Texas A&M. However unconvincing wins over Auburn and Arkansas hurt Les Miles team. Clemson’s season was done in early on, after losing to Florida State thus costing Dabo Swinney’s team the ACC title. When Clemson lost to state rival South Carolina, they were knocked out of the BCS picture. LSU will rely on a strong running game led by freshman Jeremy Hill. Clemson will go with the passing combination of Tajh Boyd to Deandre Hopkins. There is some dislike between the schools as well, which makes this game intriguing as well.
Alamo Bowl: Oregon State vs. Texas
There are many rumours surrounding the Longhorns, concerning the future of coach Mack Brown. Texas were expected to contend for the Big 12 title, but an 8-4 record was considered a disappointment in Austin. Blowout losses to Kansas State and Oklahoma combined with defeats to conference newcomers West Virginia and TCU raised questions about Brown’s future. The Beavers started strongly and looked like they could contend for the Pac 12 title. However, close losses to Washington and Stanford, followed by getting blown out by state rival Oregon squashed those dreams. Mike Riley might be the most underrated coach in college football, and will have his team ready. Meanwhile, if Brown does leave Austin, does the chase for Nick Saban begin? Stay tuned.
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