From the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl to the Rose Bowl and the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl to the Allstate BCS National Championship, the college football bowl season is upon us. I know there is constant talk about having a playoff in college football, but I personally enjoy bowl season. There are some intriguing matchups between teams that wouldn’t normally face one another. On the other hand, there are also some games that lack the excitement factor, unless of course you have a connection to one of the schools. But if nothing else, bowl games provides us sports fans with our football fix for just over three weeks.
The BCS bowl games are where it’s at, though. They provide us with matchups between the premier teams in college football, which make for some exciting football. All of the games have their own storylines and intriguing factors, but here is how I ranked this year’s five BCS bowl matchups.
5. Discover Orange Bowl
No. 15 Clemson vs. No. 23 West Virginia
Jan. 4, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
This game may not be as close as some people expect. First of all, West Virginia’s schedule was relatively easy and they still managed to lose three games and eek out wins in their last three games of the regular season. Clemson struggled over the last month of the regular season as well, but finished the season strong after crushing Virginia Tech 38-10 in the ACC championship game. Both quarterbacks, Geno Smith and Tajh Boyd, had tremendous seasons, combining for 7,556 yards and 56 touchdowns. So if you’re looking for offense, look no further than the Orange Bowl. I give Clemson the edge in this one, though, judging from who they’ve beaten this season, most notably Virginia Tech by 20 points or more twice.
4. Allstate Sugar Bowl
No. 11 Virginia Tech vs. No. 13 Michigan
Jan. 3, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
The Hokies didn’t finish the season the way they would’ve liked after getting spanked by Clemson, but that doesn’t mean this can’t be one of the top games of the bowl season. Michigan’s Denard Robinson is one the most exciting players to watch in college football and should provide us with plenty of entertainment. Virginia Tech doesn’t lack much in the exciting player department either, especially with their dual-threat quarterback, Logan Thomas, who combined for over 3.200 total yards and 29 touchdowns as well as running back, David Wilson, who rushed for 1,627 yards and nine touchdowns. If the Hokies can contain Robinson, they should run away with this one.
3. The Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO
No. 5 Oregon vs. No. 10 Wisconsin
Jan. 2, 5 p.m. ET (ESPN)
This game features the last two Rose Bowl losers, each of which are trying to avenge those defeats and put themselves into the win column. Wisconsin lost 21-19 to TCU in last year’s contest and Oregon fell to Ohio State, 26-17 in 2010. This matchup also features two of the nation’s top running backs in LaMichael James and Montee Ball. This game should be played at an excellent pace and will certainly not lack in the scoring department. But I think Oregon will dictate the pace of this one, which will be too much for Wisconsin to handle.
2. Allstate BCS National Championship Game
No. 1 LSU vs. No. 2 Alabama
Jan. 9, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
I know this is supposed to be the No. 1 game on the list with it being the national championship and all, but I always have a problem seeing a rematch in the same season. Let’s face it, this game was a bit boring last time around. There were zero touchdowns, five field goals, four missed field goals and a goal-line interception. I enjoy defensive battles from time to time, but not in the national championship game. Needless to say, I don’t think it will be another 9-6 game, but I don’t see there being many points scored either. Both defenses are formidable, so the keys to this game will be the same as the last time they met – which offense will make more mistakes and which special teams unit will come up with the big play. I’ll take LSU.
1. Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
No. 3 Oklahoma State vs. No. 4 Stanford
Jan. 2, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
This game features two of the nation’s best quarterbacks – Oklahoma States’ Brandon Weeden and Stanford’s Andrew Luck. It also features two high-flying offenses – Oklahoma State at 49.3 points per game (2nd in nation) and Stanford at 43.9 (6th in nation). The Cowboys were a 37-31 double overtime loss to Iowa State away from reaching the national championship, so you know they will be ready to go in this one. Stanford’s lone defeat was a 53-30 beatdown at the hands of Oregon. There will be no shortage of big scoring plays in this one, which should make for the most exciting game of the bowl season. That being said, I see Oklahoma State being too much for Luck and his boys.