‘Tis the season to be jolly. But if you are a Gator fan, you probably will be shouting “Bah Humbug” this bowl season due to Florida’s absence from it and “that school out west” being in the BCS National Championship. But even for the most ardent Florida fan such as myself, I still will watch nearly every College Football Bowl game of this Holiday Season.
We will explore the best Non-BCS Bowl games. So grab a cold one, get your remote, or set your DVR’s because we have some good ones lined up.
1. Las Vegas Bowl (December 21, 3:30 ABC)
Fresno State vs. USC
This is one of the more intriguing bowl games as Fresno State’s David Carr will take on a legit defense. Considering Carr’s status as an NFL prospect and Fresno State’s near-perfect season, this is a game worth paying for. According NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, “No QB is rising faster then Fresno St.’s Derek Carr”. This game could be Carr’s big selling point to the NFL. USC’s defense is probably the best it has been in years. But with Clay Helton stepping in for former interim coach Ed Orgeron, you have to wonder if the Trojans will be prepared for a bowl game played 10 days before the New Year.
2. Russell Athletic Bowl (December 28, 6:45 ESPN)
Miami vs. Louisville
It’s show time for Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater is viewed as one of the top quarterback prospects in college. Miami took a considerable nosedive after starting 6-0, dropping three in a row in November. Nothing would be better for the Charlie Strong’s Cardinals to knock off one of college football’s traditional power programs. Miami’s senior quarterback, Stephen Morris, had an up-and-down season. He’ll want to make a statement in his final collegiate game against a ranked opponent.
3. Chick-Fil-A Bowl (December 31, 8:00 ESPN)
Texas A&M vs. Duke
This could be Johnny Manziel’s final exam for NFL Scouts. And there’s no doubt he will want to go out with a bang. If Duke plays with a deflated attitude after being dismantled by Florida State in the ACC Championship, Manziel could have a career day. Duke has a pretty stout defense and Texas A&M’s defense is one of the worst in the nation. This game could get interesting late.
4. Capital One Bowl (January 1, 1:00 ABC)
Wisconsin vs. South Carolina
This could be the best of the non-BCS bowls. It could also be one of the lowest scoring non-BCS games. Both teams feature big time running attacks. Wisconsin has James White and Mel Gordon, while South Carolina features Mike Davis. This thing could come down to quarterback play, and South Carolina has a big edge with Connor Shaw, who has 21 touchdown passes and just one pick. Shaw also is South Carolina’s second-leading rusher. Wisconsin QB Joel Stave is good, but inconsistency continues to plague him.
5. Alamo Bowl (December 30, 6:45 ESPN)
Texas vs. Oregon
Mack. Brown’s. Last. Game. That is enough of a headline in itself to make this a must-watch. The Oregon Ducks will take the field in hopes to avenge their dreadful finish to the season by beating down a tough opponent. Although the Ducks might not have much motivation because they were expecting a national title, they still have too much talent to fall flat once again. After losing to Baylor and losing the chance to play in a BCS Bowl game, this years Texas Longhorns are amidst talks of the most disappointing team in the nation based on their preseason expectations. What will Mack dial up for his going away party? Must-see-TV folks.