The Top Ten Most Intriguing Matchups of the Bowl Season
- by Zach Barnett 7 months ago
1. BCS National Championship: Florida State vs. Auburn (Jan. 6) - This one's obvious. The final BCS National Championship, played at the grand old house in Pasadena. The SEC looking for eight straight crystal balls at the expense of a team built like the very best SEC squads, coached by a guy who made his name in the SEC, who sits inside SEC country. It's Auburn's avalanche offense against a Florida State team that hasn't trailed since September.
2. Rose Bowl: Stanford vs. Michigan State (Jan. 1) - This may be the most #GrownManFootball game of the entire season, college or pro. It's a Granddaddy of Them All that your granddaddy can appreciate - a meeting of Big Ten and Pac-12 champions, No. 4 vs. No. 5 and, most importantly, a meeting of the first and third-ranked rush defenses in college football. Every single yard gained in this game will have to be earned.
3. Orange Bowl: Ohio State vs. Clemson (Jan. 3) - Twenty-two combined wins for these teams, and exactly two of them came against a team that finished in the top 25. Each team was beaten soundly the last time we saw them, Ohio State in a 34-24 stunner to Michigan State in the Big Ten title game and Clemson in a 31-17 setback to South Carolina. This game is about validating the 2013 season for each of these teams.
4. Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Oklahoma (Jan. 2) - Truth be told, this could easily turn into a blowout. But it's a rare meeting of programs that claim a combined 21 national championships, 70 conference championships, 1,679 wins, 61 bowl wins and 172 weeks at No. 1 in the AP poll. When these two shades of crimson get on the same field, you need to watch.
5. Advocare V100 Bowl: Arizona vs. Boston College (Dec. 31) - The powers that be finagled the bowl system and give us a meeting of the two leading rushers in college football. BC's Andre Williams and Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey have combined to rush 651 times for 3,818 yards and 34 touchdowns this season.
6. Russell Athletic Bowl: Louisville vs. Miami (Dec. 28) - Real world consequences ride on this game. Louisville recruits the heck out of Florida - franchise quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is from Miami and validated Charlie Strong's program when he committed to the Cardinals over the hometown Hurricanes. This is also Louisville's unofficial first game as an ACC member, the conference they join next season. Miami should review tape of last year's Sugar Bowl to see the type of game Strong can produce against a Sunshine State power.
7. Las Vegas Bowl: Fresno State vs. USC (Dec. 21) - USC's long, strange saga of a season comes to a close on the opening day of bowl season. Fresno State blew its chance at the Fiesta Bowl, but a win over a cornerstone program in college football history and the alpha dog of California programs would be a neat consolation prize.
8. Cotton Bowl: Missouri vs. Oklahoma State (Jan. 3) - A funny thing happened when the Cotton Bowl got left out of the BCS - it became a BCS bowl anyway. A primetime, network television broadcast spot, sellout crowds and top 10 match-ups are more a regular occurrence these days in Dallas than Miami or New Orleans. This year is no different. Former Big 12 foes that can play with anyone in the country when they're firing on all cylinders.
9. Alamo Bowl: Oregon vs. Texas (Dec. 30) - This has all the makings of turning into another green and gold track meet, with the Ducks taking a month to heel and re-tool, playing indoors against a defense that hasn't exactly solved the spread option running game. And there's a greater than zero chance this is the last game Mack Brown will ever coach at Texas.
10. Fiesta Bowl: Baylor vs. Central Florida (Jan. 1) - The only game with a better combined record (22-2) is the national championship. Baylor's offense slowed down over the season's final month, but still finished the regular season with the national lead in scoring offense and total offense. UCF offers the stiffest test yet for Baylor and if it's close, watch out. UCF is 7-1 this season in games decided by a touchdown or less.