The crown jewel of the 2012-2013 College Football bowl season will be Notre Dame playing against Alabama in the BCS national championship game, but the Fiesta Bowl, pitting Oregon and Kansas State against each other should be just as good. The Cotton Bowl (Oklahoma vs Texas A&M) and the Chick Fil-A Bowl (LSU vs Clemson) seem like better than the other BCS Bowls this season.
Gildan New Mexico Bowl – Nevada (7-5) vs Arizona (7-5), December 15, 1:00 PM
Two teams mostly known for their offenses and especially their running backs. Arizona feature Ka’Deem Carey with 1757 yards and 20 touchdowns this season; Nevada have Stephon Jefferson, with 1703 yards and 22 touchdowns. Arizona haven’t won a bowl game since 2008, Nevada have lost five of their last six bowl appearances.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl – Toledo (9-3) vs Utah State (10-2), December 15, 4:30 PM
Utah State went 6-0 in the WAC. Their two losses this season, to Wisconsin and BYU, came by a combined 5 points, making their second consecutive bowl appearance in Boise. Toledo feature running back David Fluellen, who went for 1460 yards and 13 touchdowns this season.
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg – UCF (9-4) vs Ball State (9-3), December 21, 7:30 PM
Ball State is riding a six-game winning streak into this game and takes an at-large spot created when the Big East could not fill its guaranteed spot. UCF lost in the C-USA title game to Tulsa. It’s the first bowl appearance for the Cardinals, featuring Jahwan Edwards at running back, with 1321 yards and 14 touchdowns.
S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl – BYU (7-5) vs San Diego State (9-3), December 20, 8:00 PM
Former rivals in the Mountain West Conference, which will be mostly about BYU and their defense, which actually scored 14.7 points per game this season, facing the Aztecs rushing attack, ranked 16th in the nation, featuring Adam Muema, who ran for 1355 yards and 16 touchdowns this season.
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl – East Carolina (8-4) vs Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4), December 22, 12:00 PM
The Ragin Cajuns reach this bowl for the second consecutive time, carrying their win in the Big Easy from last year. Both teams rank among the worst in the nation when it comes to defense, and boast offenses that move over 400 yards per game. Shane Carden of EC has thrown for 2838 yards, with Justin Hardy his favorite target, 1046 yards and 10 touchdowns to his name this season.
MAACO Las Vegas Bowl – Washington (7-5) vs Boise State (10-2), December 22, 3:30 PM
Boise State and Washington have played just once: a 24-10 Huskies victory in 2007; but they figure to get familiar with each other over the next few months. They not only will play in the Las Vegas Bowl, they also will open the 2013 season against each other on Aug. 31. Boise State won this bowl last season. The Huskies reach their third consecutive bowl under Steve Sarkisian.
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl – Fresno State (9-3) vs SMU (6-6), December 24, 8:00 PM
The Bulldogs are 12th in the nation when it comes to their passing game; Quarterback Derek Carr has thrown for over 3700 yards this season, Davante Adams being his favorite target. SMU make the Hawai’i bowl for the second time over the last four years, winning there in 2009.
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl – Western Kentucky (7-5) vs Central Michigan (6-6), December 26, 7:30 PM
This will be the first ever bowl game for the Hilltoppers, who finished 7-5 last season but were left outside bowl season. Central Michigan make their first bowl game since 2009 with a win over Iowa on their resume. Antonio Andrews (WKU) ran for 1609 yards this season, scoring 11 touchdowns.
Military Bowl Presented By Northrop Grumman – San Jose State (10-2) vs Bowling Green (8-4), December 27, 3:00 PM
San Jose State won 10 games for the first time since 1987; they’re 11th in the nation when it comes to passing yards, quarterback David Fales throwing for 3798 yards. Noel Grigsby is his favorite target with 1173 yards and 9 touchdowns this season.
Belk Bowl – Cincinnati (9-3) vs Duke (6-6), December 27, 6:30 PM
The Bearcats had a share in the Big East title, their fourth in the last five years, making Butch Jones one of the hottest names in the coaching stable as we approach the end of the season. Duke reach their first bowl game since 1994, snapping the nation’s longest bowl-less streak.
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl – Baylor (7-5) vs UCLA (9-4), December 27, 9:45 PM
Baylor finished first in the nation with 578.8 yards per game. Nick Florence threw for 4121 yards and 31 touchdowns; Terrance Williams caught 95 passes for 1764 yards and 12 TDs. UCLA feature one of the best backs in the country, Johnathan Franklin, who ran for 1700 yards and 13 touchdowns this season.
AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl – Ohio (8-4) vs Louisiana Monroe (8-4), December 28, 2:00 PM
This is the first bowl game in program history for Louisiana Monroe, who began the season with their famous win vs Arkansas. Ohio began the season with a 7-0 run but have lost four of their last five. The Bobcats’ Beau Blankenship ran for 1500 yards this season, scoring 11 touchdowns.
Russell Athletic Bowl – Rutgers (9-3) vs Virginia Tech (6-6), December 28, 5:30 PM
This was the worst season for the Hokies under Frank Beamer since 1992, following 8 consecutive seasons of double digit wins. Rutgers messed up with the Big East title for the taking, losing their last two games. Both teams are in the bottom half of the pool when it comes to their offenses, so expect quite a defensive battle.
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas – Minnesota (6-6) vs Texas Tech (7-5), December 28, 9:00 PM
This is the first Bowl game for the Golden Gophers since 2009; The Red Raiders beat two ranked teams this season (TCU and West Virginia) but lost four of their final five games. They’re second in the nation in passing yards. Quarterback Seth Doege threw for nearly 4000 yards. Minnesota, 114th in total offense, rely mostly on their defense to pull them through.
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl – Rice (6-6) vs Air Force (6-6), December 29, 11:45 AM
Rice won their last four games of the season to earn a place in one of the bowl games; quarterback Taylor McHargue, who threw only 11 touchdown passes this season, ran for 11 more. Air Force is playing its sixth straight bowl game and is led by senior running back Cody Getz, who has rushed for 1,213 yards and nine touchdowns this season.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl – West Virginia (7-5) vs Syracuse (7-5), December 29, 3:15 PM
West Virginia rose to No. 5 after a 5-0 start, but fell to the Big 12′s No. 7 bowl tie-in after a five-game losing streak. Syracuse beat the Mountaineers last season in a Friday night game, and will probably enjoy facing one of the worst defenses in the nation with their 21st ranked passing offense, guided by Ryan Nassib.
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl – Navy (7-4) vs Arizona State (7-5), December 29, 4:00 PM
Navy are sixth in the nation in rushing, averaging 285.5 yards per game with their triple option offense. Arizona State are a bit more balanced but use a three-headed rushing attack with a lot of screens, and their defense features Pac-12 Defensive player of the year, Will Sutton.
Valero Alamo Bowl – Texas (8-4) vs Oregon State (9-3), December 29, 6:45 PM
It’s been a season of streaks for Texas, but ended the season with two consecutive losses, not to mention losing by 42 points to Oklahoma earlier on. Oregon State won its first six games, but hasn’t won two consecutive games since.
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl – TCU (7-5) vs Michigan State (6-6), December 29, 10:15 PM
Michigan State finished No. 4 in total defense, TCU 18th. Both teams were ranked in the top 20 to start the season yet somehow failed to win a single conference home game between them. Both teams rank in the bottom half of the nation when it comes to offense, with the Spartans’ 370 yards per game puts them at 91st.
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl – North Carolina State (7-5) vs Vanderbilt (8-4), December 31, 12:00 PM
The Commodores were one of the more pleasant surprises this season in the SEC, allowing only 18.3 points per game. The Wolfpack arrive at this game with interim head coach Dana Bible leading the way, after Tom O’Brien was fired at the end of the season. Mike Glennon, State’s quarterback, has thrown for 3648 yards and 30 touchdowns this season.
Hyundai Sun Bowl – USC (7-5) vs Georgia Tech (6-7), December 31, 2:00 PM
USC expected to be playing for the national championship when the season began, but lost every meaningful game along the way. The Yellow Jackets had a bad season and still weren’t too far from winning the ACC, landing a bowl game despite a sub .500 record. They needed a waiver from the NCAA to become bowl eligible.
AutoZone Liberty Bowl – Iowa State (6-6) vs Tulsa (10-3), December 31, 3:30 PM
Tulsa are the Conference USA champions, their offense ranked 25th in the nation. Iowa State got the nod over 9-3 Louisiana Tech, and will face the Hurricanes rushing attack, averaging 240.2 yards per game.
Chick-fil-A Bowl – LSU (10-2) vs Clemson (10-2), December 31, 7:30 PM
One of the better bowl games to look forward to this month, both teams differ in styles. LSU have one of the best defenses in the nation, allowing only 16.9 points per game and rely on a rushing attack that averaged 180 yards per game. Clemson are 9th in the nation in total yards with Tajh Boyd throwing for 3550 yards and 34 touchdowns, DeAndre Hopkins catching 16 touchdown passes.
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl – Mississippi State (8-4) vs Northwestern (9-3), January 1, 12:00 PM
Two teams that looked like they were going to give voters and the BCS a lot of trouble earlier in the season, before their undefeated streaks ended. Northwestern aims for its first bowl win since the 1949 Rose after nine straight postseason defeats.
Heart of Dallas Bowl – Purdue (6-6) vs Oklahoma State (7-5), January 1, 12:00 PM
Purdue fired Danny Hope the day after the Boilers clinched bowl eligibility, while the Cowboys lost their last two games of the regular season to Oklahoma and Baylor. State are 5th in the nation when it comes to passing yards, averaging 548.9 passing yards per game.
Outback Bowl – South Carolina (10-2) vs Michigan (8-4), January 1, 1:00 PM
This will be Denard Robinson’s final game in College, facing a Gamecocks defense that is ranked 12th in the nation. Both teams are ranked below 80th in total yards.
Capital One Bowl – Georgia (11-2) vs Nebraska (10-3), January 1, 1:00 PM
Both teams lost in their respective conference title games by giving up a whole lot of yards on the ground. Nebraska do have the best defense in the nation against the pass (148.2 yards per game), but there’s a very good chance Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall are going to have a field day.
Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio – Stanford (11-2) vs Wisconsin (8-5), January 1, 5:00 PM
Wisconsin were lucky to reach the Big Ten title game but turned it on with an incredible rushing attack led by Montee Ball. Stanford are red hot, winning against five ranked teams in November. They’re also ranked 3rd in the nation against the run.
Discover Orange Bowl – Northern Illinois (12-1) vs Florida State (11-2), January 2, 8:30 PM
The Huskies don’t deserve to be in this one according to some, so they should be feeling plenty amped up with a need to prove something. Jordan Lynch has 2962 passing yards and 1771 yards on the ground, facing the ACC champions and the No. 7 scoring defense in the nation.
Allstate Sugar Bowl – Louisville (10-2) vs Florida (11-1), January 2, 8:30 PM
Will Muschamp guided Florida to four wins over teams in the top 12 of the final BCS standings and has the Gators back in a BCS bowl for the first time since 2009. Louisville clinched a share of the Big East title with a late season win over Rutgers and are ranked 24th in the nation in passing yards, with Teddy Bridgewater throwing for 3452 yards and 25 touchdowns.
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl – Oregon (11-1) vs Kansas State (11-1), January 3, 8:30 PM
Probably the best out of all the BCS Bowls, with two teams that were on the verge of making the national championship game, and both lost on the same week. Oregon averaged 550.1 yards per game this season but it’ll be interesting to see them play a stout defense and the rushing attack of Collin Klein and Todd Gurley.
AT&T Cotton Bowl – Texas A&M (10-2) vs Oklahoma (10-2), January 4, 8:00 PM
Two teams that felt they should be in a BCS Bowl game, and get to play each other once again despite not being in the same conference anymore. Both teams averaged over 40 points per game and 500 total yards this season. It’ll be interesting to see Landry Jones facing off against Johnny Manziel as well.
BBVA Compass Bowl – Pittsburgh (6-6) vs Ole Miss (6-6), January 5, 1:00 PM
The Panthers are headed back to this bowl game for the third straight season, after becoming bowl eligible on the final weekend of the regular season. They also have a 3000 yard passer and a 1000 yard rusher for the first time in school history. Ole Miss will be making its first bowl appearance since the 2009 season.
GoDaddy.com Bowl – Kent State (11-2) vs Arkansas State (9-3), January 6, 9:00 PM
This Kent State’s first bowl in 40 seasons, so the disappointment of losing to Northern Illinois in the conference championship game isn’t that great. Arkansas State were in the same bowl last season, beating the Huskies. They won 7 straight after a 2-3 start, winning the Sun Belt conference.
Discover BCS National Championship Game – Notre Dame (12-0) vs Alabama (12-1), January 7, 8:30 PM
The two best defenses in the nation, allowing 10.7 and 10.3 points per game. Probably the two most successful programs in the history of the sport, with Alabama trying to win their third national title in four years, Notre Dame trying to win their first since 1988. Can the Irish stop the rushing attack? Can they bring any kind of offense to this game? This will be a huge one.