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GatorUnvrsty

2012-13 Best Bowl Matchups... ESPN & Rivals Rank The Bowls

10 posts in this topic

ESPN

We break down the 2012 bowl games from best to worst (SEC Games Highlighted):

1. Discover BCS National Championship Game

Notre Dame vs. Alabama

Jan. 7: ESPN, 8:30 p.m. ET, Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Fla.

Undefeated Notre Dame tries to end No. 2 Alabama's attempt at winning back-to-back BCS national championships and the SEC's streak of six BCS titles in a row. The Crimson Tide is 1-5 against the Fighting Irish, including four losses by legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant.

2. Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

Oregon vs. Kansas State

Jan. 3: ESPN, 8:30 p.m. ET, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.

The No. 4 Ducks and No. 5 Wildcats came within one loss of playing for a BCS national championship. Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, 73, will try to slow down Oregon's high-octane offense, which is averaging 50.8 points per game.

3. AT&T Cotton Bowl

Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma

Jan. 4: Fox, 8 p.m. ET, Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas

Most Texas A&M fans probably would have preferred a bowl game against longtime rival Texas, but they'll settle for playing former Big 12 foe Oklahoma. Aggies quarterback Johnny "Football" Manziel is expected to win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday.

4. Chick-fil-A Bowl

LSU vs. Clemson

Dec. 31: ESPN, 7:30 p.m. ET, Georgia Dome, Atlanta

No. 14 Clemson will try to put last season's Orange Bowl debacle -- a 70-33 loss to West Virginia -- in its rearview mirror for good. No. 8 LSU is 5-0 in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, including a 38-3 rout of Georgia Tech in 2008.

5. Outback Bowl

South Carolina vs. Michigan

Jan. 1: ESPN, 1 p.m. ET, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.

Who can't wait to watch Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney chasing Wolverines quarterback/running back Denard Robinson all over the field? The No. 10 Gamecocks will be making their fourth appearance in the Outback Bowl since 2001.

6. Rose Bowl Game Presented by Vizio

Wisconsin vs. Stanford

Jan. 1: ESPN, 5 p.m. ET, Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.

Pac-12 champion Stanford has the country's third-best run defense, allowing only 87.6 yards per game. Badgers tailback Montee Ball ran for 725 yards with eight touchdowns in his last four games. The Badgers lost five games this season, but are playing in their third Rose Bowl game in a row.

7. Allstate Sugar Bowl

Louisville vs. Florida

Jan. 2: ESPN, 8:30 p.m. ET, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans

The No. 3 Gators' only defeat was a 17-9 loss to Georgia on Oct. 27. Cardinals coach Charlie Strong is a former Florida defensive coordinator, who helped the Gators win BCS national championships in 2006 and '08.

8. Discover Orange Bowl

Northern Illinois vs. Florida State

Jan. 1: ESPN, 8:30 p.m. ET, Sun Life Stadium, Miami

Remember when everyone assumed Alabama would destroy Utah in the 2009 Sugar Bowl? The Utes stunned the Tide, 31-17. The No. 15 Huskies might be good enough to give the inconsistent Seminoles a good fight.

9. Capital One Bowl

Georgia vs. Nebraska

Jan. 1: ABC, 1 p.m. ET, Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Fla.

Which is going to put up more resistance on New Year's Day? Nebraska's defense, which allowed 539 rushing yards in a 70-31 loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game? Or the Bulldogs, who had their hearts ripped out in a 32-28 loss to Alabama in the SEC championship game?

10. Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl

Baylor vs. UCLA

Dec. 27: ESPN, 9:45 p.m. ET, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

The Bears and No. 17 Bruins have never played each other, and there could be plenty of fireworks in their first meeting. Baylor ranks No. 1 in the country in total offense (587.7 yards per game) and No. 119 in total defense (513.9 yards).

11. Valero Alamo Bowl

Texas vs. Oregon State

Dec. 29: ESPN, 6:45 p.m. ET, Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas

Bevo vs. the Beavers. No. 23 Texas has won six of its last seven bowl games, including last season's Holiday Bowl. No. 13 Oregon State is playing in its first bowl game in three seasons.

12. TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl

Mississippi State vs. Northwestern

Jan. 1, ESPN2, 12 p.m. ET, EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Fla.

The No. 20 Wildcats are still looking for their first bowl victory since winning the 1949 Rose Bowl. The Bulldogs have lost four of their last five games, but blasted Michigan 52-14 in the 2011 Gator Bowl.

13. New Era Pinstripe Bowl

West Virginia vs. Syracuse

Dec. 29: ESPN, 3:15 p.m. ET, Yankee Stadium, Bronx, N.Y.

It might not get any better than Dana Holgerson performing on Broadway. Unless, of course, you're playing West Virginia's defense, which allowed 38.1 points per game. The former Big East rivals have never met in the postseason.

14. Hyundai Sun Bowl

USC vs. Georgia Tech

Dec. 31: CBS, 2 p.m. ET, Sun Bowl, El Paso, Texas

USC quarterback Matt Barkley is expected to be ready for his final college game after missing the Notre Dame game with a shoulder injury. Georgia Tech has already fired defensive coordinator Al Groh; USC defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin resigned last week.

15. MAACO Bowl Las Vegas

Washington vs. Boise State

Dec. 22: ESPN, 3:30 p.m. ET, Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas

The No. 19 Broncos will play the Huskies for only the second time, and then they'll play again in the 2013 opener at renovated Husky Stadium in Seattle. Boise State is playing in its third straight MAACO Bowl, previously beating Arizona State and Utah.

16. San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

BYU vs. San Diego State

Dec. 20: ESPN, 8 p.m. ET, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

The Aztecs won their last seven games to win a share of a Mountain West Conference title. Four of the Cougars' five losses were decided by six points or fewer, including a 17-14 loss to Notre Dame.

17. Russell Athletic Bowl

Rutgers vs. Virginia Tech

Dec. 28: ESPN, 5:30 p.m. ET, Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Fla.

Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas looks to rebound from a disappointing regular season against one of the country's most underrated defenses. It could be a springboard to 2013 for Thomas, who looks to resurrect his NFL draft stock.

18. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl

TCU vs. Michigan State

Dec. 29: ESPN, 10:15 p.m. ET, Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Ariz.

Two of the game's best defensive minds -- TCU's Gary Patterson and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio -- will match wits on late-night TV. The Spartans lost five Big Ten games by 13 points combined; the Horned Frogs lost to three ranked Big 12 foes by 23 points combined.

19. GoDaddy.com Bowl

Kent State vs. Arkansas State

Jan. 6: ESPN, 9 p.m. ET, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Ala.

The No. 25 Golden Flashes will make their first bowl appearance in 40 years when they play the Red Wolves on the eve of the BCS National Championship Game. The contest features two of the game's up-and-coming coaches: Kent State's Darrell Hazell and Arkansas State's Gus Malzahn.

20. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Toledo vs. Utah State

Dec. 15: ESPN, 4:30 p.m. ET, Bronco Stadium, Boise, Idaho

The Aggies and Rockets played in two of last season's most exciting bowl games. Utah State lost to Ohio 24-23 in the Potato Bowl after Bobcats quarterback Tyler Tettleton ran for a 1-yard touchdown with 13 seconds left. The Rockets beat Air Force 42-41 in the Military Bowl, stopping the Falcons on a fake extra-point kick with 52 seconds to go.

21. Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl

NC State vs. Vanderbilt

Dec. 31: ESPN, noon ET, LP Field, Nashville, Tenn.

The Wolfpack are excited to have a new coach; the Commodores are happy they're keeping theirs. Vanderbilt's James Franklin signed a contract extension Sunday after leading the Commodores to back-to-back bowl games for the first time in school history. They won't have to travel far to play the Wolfpack, who will be led by interim coach Dana Bible. Former Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren was hired as Tom O'Brien's replacement on Saturday.

22. Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl

Navy vs. Arizona State

Dec. 29, ESPN2, 4 p.m. ET, AT&T Park, San Francisco

Sun Devils coach Todd Graham's first season in the desert has to be considered a success; Arizona State finished with a winning record for the first time since 2007 and beat rival Arizona, 41-34. Now he'll try to lead the Sun Devils to their first bowl victory since the 2005 Insight Bowl.

23. AutoZone Liberty Bowl

Iowa State vs. Tulsa

Dec. 31: ESPN, 3:30 p.m. ET, Liberty Bowl, Memphis, Tenn.

The Cyclones defeated the Golden Hurricane 38-23 in the Sept. 1 opener in Ames, Iowa. Tulsa finished 10-3; Iowa State finished 6-6 after losing five of their last seven games.

24. BBVA Compass Bowl

Pittsburgh vs. Ole Miss

Jan. 5: ESPN, 1 p.m. ET, Legion Field, Birmingham, Ala.

Despite finishing 6-6, the Panthers and Rebels were pretty competitive under their first-year coaches. Paul Chryst nearly guided the Panthers to an upset of Notre Dame before falling 29-26 in three overtimes. Hugh Freeze nearly pulled off two upsets at Ole Miss, losing to Texas A&M 30-27 and LSU 41-35.

25. Belk Bowl

Cincinnati vs. Duke

Dec. 27: ESPN, 6:30 p.m. ET, Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C.

The Blue Devils, who are playing in their first bowl game since 1994, will get to play the Bearcats close to home. Duke lost five of its last six games; Cincinnati won four of its last five. The Bearcats' only Big East losses were 34-31 in overtime at Louisville and 10-3 against Rutgers at home.

26. Gildan New Mexico Bowl

Nevada vs. Arizona

Dec. 15: ESPN, 1 p.m. ET, University Stadium, Albuquerque, N.M.

It might be a wild shootout in the Southwest, as Arizona's high-powered spread attack takes on Nevada's Pistol offense. The Wildcats scored 37.3 points in coach Rich Rodriguez's first season, while allowing 34.3 points on defense. The Wolf Pack averaged 37 points, while surrendering 32.5 points per game.

27. Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl

Fresno State vs. SMU

Dec. 24: ESPN, 8 p.m. ET, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

June Jones returns to the islands, where he coached Hawaii for nine seasons before leaving to coach at SMU. It won't be a vacation against Fresno State, which finished 9-3 in coach Tim DeRuyter's first season. The Bulldogs rank in the top 20 nationally in total offense (488.5 yards per game) and total defense (335.3 yards).

28. AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl

Louisiana-Monroe vs. Ohio

Dec. 28: ESPN, 2 p.m. ET, Independence Stadium, Shreveport, La.

The WarHawks and Bobcats opened the season with red-hot starts before coming back to reality during conference play. Louisiana-Monroe opened the season by stunning then-No. 8 Arkansas 34-31 in overtime and nearly upset Auburn and Baylor. Ohio started 7-0 before losing four of its last five games.

29. Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas

Minnesota vs. Texas Tech

Dec. 28: ESPN, 9 p.m. ET, Reliant Stadium, Houston

The Gophers will look to make amends for the greatest collapse in college football postseason history. Minnesota blew a 31-point lead in a 44-41 overtime loss to the Red Raiders in the 2006 Insight Bowl. The Gophers fired coach Glen Mason two days later. Minnesota is playing in its first bowl game since 2009.

30. Heart of Dallas Bowl

Purdue vs. Oklahoma State

Jan. 1: ESPNU, 12 p.m. ET, Cotton Bowl, Dallas

The Boilermakers are searching for a new coach after Danny Hope was fired after compiling a 22-27 record in four seasons. The Cowboys hope they can keep coach Mike Gundy, who is a target of Arkansas and Tennessee.

31. R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

East Carolina vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

Dec. 22: ESPN, 12 p.m. ET, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans

The Ragin' Cajuns won one of the most exciting bowl games last season, as Brett Baer kicked a 50-yard field goal as time expired in a 32-30 victory over San Diego State in the New Orleans Bowl. It was Louisiana-Lafayette's first bowl victory as a Division I program. The Pirates have won five of their last six games.

32. Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl

Rice vs. Air Force

Dec. 29: ESPN, 11:45 a.m., Amon G. Carter Stadium, Ft. Worth, Texas

Call it the Ken Hatfield Invitational. Hatfield coached at the Air Force Academy and Rice, which won five of its last six games to become bowl eligible. The game will be played on the TCU campus for the first time since 2009 after stadium renovations were completed.

33. Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg

Central Florida vs. Ball State

Dec. 21: ESPN, 7:30 p.m. ET, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Knights will be playing close to home, but they'll face a red-hot Ball State team, which won its last six games. The Cardinals, who have never won a bowl game, scored 30 points or more in 10 of 12 games.

34. Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman

San Jose State vs. Bowling Green

Dec. 27: ESPN, 3 p.m., RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.

San Jose State coach Mike MacIntyre has quietly produced one of the best rebuilding jobs in the country, guiding the Spartans to a 10-2 record. They were rewarded with a bowl trip to the nation's capital -- more than 2,800 miles from home -- to play Bowling Green.

35. Little Caesar's Bowl

Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan

Dec. 26: ESPN, 7:30 p.m., Ford Field, Detroit

After the Hilltoppers were snubbed from the postseason after a 7-5 finish, they'll play in their first bowl game against the 6-6 Chippewas. Both teams pulled off upsets of teams from BCS conferences: WKU won 32-31 in overtime at Kentucky on Sept. 15, and CMU won at Iowa 32-31 on Sept. 22.

http://espn.go.com/c...ollege-football

Rivals

Here are all 35 bowls, ranked from absolute must-see TV to must-see-a-psychiatrist if it's on your TV:

1. BCS Championship Game (Jan. 7, Miami): Notre Dame (12-0) vs. Alabama (12-1)

We're not going to lie: There's a good chance this isn't a shootout. But this should be a great game between two hard-nosed teams with great defenses, and there's a heck of a lot of history among the two programs, too.

2. Fiesta Bowl (Jan. 3, Glendale, Ariz.): Oregon (11-1) vs. Kansas State (11-1)

This is a game of old-school football vs. new-school football. Kansas State will try to pound the ball with quarterback Collin Klein while Oregon will use a bunch of different weapons to keep the Wildcats on their toes.

3. Cotton Bowl (Jan. 4, Arlington, Texas): Texas A&M (10-2) vs. Oklahoma (10-2)

It's not A&M and Texas, but it's a matchup of former Big 12 rivals. In terms of quarterbacks, one team had a potential Heisman candidate and the other has this year's probable winner.

4. Chick-fil-A (Dec. 31, Atlanta): LSU (10-2) vs. Clemson (10-2)

These are two teams that could have been in BCS bowls were it not for ill-timed losses. Even though it's not a BCS bowl, it's still one of the best games on the docket. Clemson brings the offense while LSU brings the defense. This one should be fun.

5. Sugar Bowl (Jan. 2, New Orleans): Florida (11-1) vs. Louisville (10-2)

This could be a great matchup of agile quarterbacks, but if Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater isn't healthy, this game could be a blowout.

6. Rose Bowl (Jan. 1, Pasadena, Calif.): Stanford (11-2) vs. Wisconsin (8-5)

If you're a traditionalist, this game between the Big Ten and Pac-12 champions is gold. Wisconsin comes in after thrashing Nebraska in the Big Ten championship game, while Stanford has been consistently strong all season.

7. Holiday (Dec. 27, San Diego): UCLA (9-4) vs. Baylor (7-5)

Pac-12 runner-up UCLA should have nice crowd support for this bowl, and it may be a wild game against a Baylor team that ranks first in FBS in total offense and 119th in total defense.

8. Alamo (Dec. 29, San Antonio): Texas (8-4) vs. Oregon State (9-3)

Oregon State had one of the best turnarounds in the country going from 3-9 to 9-3 and has been one of the most entertaining teams to watch this season. As for Texas, you never know what you're going to get or who's going to be quarterbacking it. Still, this could end up being a great, tightly contested game.

9. Capital One (Jan. 1, Orlando): Georgia (11-2) vs. Nebraska (10-3)

This game had the potential to be one of the best of the bowl season, but Nebraska's lackluster performance against Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship might have ruined it. Georgia expended a lot of energy in the SEC title game against Alabama and despite a fantastic season, has no BCS bowl to show for it. This is a poor substitute.

10. Outback (Jan. 1, Tampa): South Carolina (10-2) vs. Michigan (8-4)

Both teams had preseason Heisman Trophy candidates and neither worked out, but both programs remained solid despite adversity. Michigan's Denard Robinson is one of the more exciting players on the field this bowl season.

11. Orange Bowl (Jan. 1, Miami): Florida State (11-2) vs. Northern Illinois (12-1)

Many don't think NIU deserved a BCS bowl berth and they're probably right, but the Huskies might be more motivated to play the game than Florida State. Both teams will be missing a coach in this game -- NIU head coach Dave Doeren took the N.C. State job while FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops took the head-coaching job at Kentucky.

12. Gator (Jan. 1, Jacksonville, Fla.): Northwestern (9-3) vs. Mississippi State (8-4)

Northwestern is having an exceptional season while Mississippi State is trying to end on a high note. The Wildcats exceeded expectations and have a chance to win 10 games for the first time since 1995. Mississippi State started 7-0, but won just one game down the stretch.

13. Las Vegas (Dec. 22, Las Vegas): Boise State (10-2) vs. Washington (7-5)

Boise State, having narrowly missed out on a BCS bid, is going for a Las Vegas Bowl win for the third straight season against a Washington team that has wins against Stanford and Oregon State.

14. Idaho Potato (Dec. 15, Boise, Idaho): Utah State (10-2) vs. Toledo (9-3)

Utah State is a balanced, solid team that does just about everything well. Its only two losses came at Wisconsin and at BYU by five combined points. USU will face a Toledo team that lost two of its last three but is still potent.

15. Military (Dec. 27, Washington, D.C.): San Jose State (10-2) vs. Bowling Green (8-4)

San Jose State took Stanford to the wire in a three-point loss, a sign of things to come for the Spartans, and they get a tough test against Bowling Green, which ranks in the top 10 nationally in yards allowed and points allowed.

16. GoDaddy.com (Jan. 6. Mobile, Ala.): Kent State (11-2) vs. Arkansas State (9-3)

This is actually a good game if you like offense. Both of these teams can put points on the board early and often, and if you like running backs, Kent State's Dri Archer is one of the best.

17. Buffalo Wild Wings (Dec. 29, Tempe, Ariz.): TCU (7-5) vs. Michigan State (6-6)

TCU fared well for its first season in the Big 12 while Michigan State was a disappointment. Both of these teams had their worst seasons since 2007 and '09 respectively.

18. New Mexico (Dec. 15, Albuquerque, N.M.): Nevada (7-5) vs. Arizona (7-5)

The first matchup of the bowl season should be entertaining. Nevada is 105th in total defense in FBS, but that's still better than Arizona, which is 116th. Points will be plentiful.

19. Poinsettia (Dec. 20, San Diego): BYU (7-5) vs. San Diego State (9-3)

The meeting between a pair of old Mountain West rivals pits a BYU team that rode its strong defense to seven wins against an Aztecs team that won its last seven games.

20. Music City (Dec. 31, Nashville): N.C. State (7-5) vs. Vanderbilt (8-4)

Vanderbilt overachieved while N.C. State underachieved and ultimately fired its coach. A win would give Vandy nine wins for the first time since 1982.

21. Pinstripe (Dec. 29, Bronx, N.Y.): Syracuse (7-5) vs. West Virginia (7-5)

Both of these teams are among the best passing programs in the country and both play little defense. That should make for a high-scoring and highly entertaining game.

22. Liberty (Dec. 31, Memphis): Tulsa (10-3) vs. Iowa State (6-6)

These two teams played in the season opener and Iowa State came away with a 38-23 win. Tulsa should give the Cyclones a better game this time around.

23. Russell Athletic (Dec. 28, Orlando, Fla.): Rutgers (9-3) vs. Virginia Tech (6-6)

The Scarlet Knights are probably disappointed to land here after blowing a chance for a BCS game in the season finale, and Virginia Tech's whole season has been a disappointment with just six wins.

24. Kraft Fight Hunger (Dec. 29, San Francisco): Navy (7-4) vs. Arizona State (7-5)

These programs are moving in two different directions. ASU had a rough second half of the season while Navy thrived after a rough start. Arizona State will need the month to prepare for Navy's option.

25. Independence (Dec. 28, Shreveport, La.): Louisiana-Monroe (8-4) vs. Ohio (8-4)

Lousiana-Monroe, whose upset of Arkansas was a great story early this season, will play in a bowl for the first time in program history. It will face an Ohio team that was ranked for the first time since 1968 at midseason but lost its last three games, all by double digits.

26. Compass (Jan. 5, Birmingham, Ala.): Pittsburgh (6-6) vs. Ole Miss (6-6)

Both of these teams came on late to make a push to get to six wins and both will be eager to finish with a winning season in the first year for both Pittsburgh coach Paul Chryst and Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze.

27. Belk (Dec. 27, Charlotte, N.C.): Duke (6-6) vs. Cincinnati (9-3)

The Blue Devils are back in a bowl for the first time since 1994, but come in on a four-game losing streak and face a Bearcats team that is 12th in the nation in scoring defense.

28. Beef 'O' Brady's (Dec. 21, St. Petersburg, Fla.): Ball State (9-3) vs. UCF (9-4)

Ball State was 3-3 before an overtime win sparked a six-game winning streak, and it will face a UCF team that lost a shot at the C-USA title in a heartbreaking overtime loss to Tulsa on Saturday.

29. Hawaii (Dec. 24, Honolulu): SMU (6-6) vs. Fresno State (9-3)

Coach Tim DeRuyter's first season with the Bulldogs resulted in a share of the Mountain West title, and Fresno State will go against an SMU team that got a win in its season finale against Tulsa to get eligible.

30. Sun (Dec. 31, El Paso, Texas): USC (7-5) vs. Georgia Tech (6-7)

This is not where anyone expected USC to be at the end of the season and playing a team with a losing record is almost insult to injury. USC was supposed to be playing for the national title while Georgia Tech lost in its conference championship game and needed an exemption waiver by the NCAA.

31. Heart of Dallas (Jan. 1, Dallas): Purdue (6-6) vs. Oklahoma State (7-5)

Oklahoma State is unlike any team Purdue has faced this season with its up-tempo style and ability to put points on the board quickly. Purdue will be without its head coach Danny Hope, which might leave the Boilermakers uninspired.

32. Meineke Car Care of Texas (Dec. 28, Houston): Minnesota (6-6) vs. Texas Tech (7-5)

Texas Tech is second in the nation in passing offense, but its defense slipped after a great start to the season. Minnesota fattened up its record before conference play, then got bowl eligible despite going 2-6 in Big Ten play.

33. New Orleans (Dec. 22, New Orleans): East Carolina (8-4) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4)

East Carolina won five of its last six games, and will be going against a Louisiana-Lafayette team that beat San Diego State in last year's New Orleans Bowl on a field goal as time expired.

34. Armed Forces (Dec. 29, Fort Worth, Texas): Rice (6-6) vs. Air Force (6-6)

Air Force knows this bowl well, as it is the Falcons' fourth appearance in the game in six years, while Rice is in just its third bowl game since 1961. It's just hard to get too excited for a game between a pair of .500 teams.

35. Little Caesars Pizza (Dec. 26, Detroit): Western Kentucky (7-5) vs. Central Michigan (6-6)

Central Michigan was like the final at-large team to get into the NCAA tournament, with a 6-6 record after a 3-6 start. Western Kentucky was barely in the field, too, losing three straight before a one-point win against North Texas in the finale.

http://sports.yahoo....365--ncaaf.html

Looks like most of the SEC games are pretty highly regarded. Thoughts or impressions?

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8. Discover Orange Bowl

Northern Illinois vs. Florida State

Jan. 1: ESPN, 8:30 p.m. ET, Sun Life Stadium, Miami

Remember when everyone assumed Alabama would destroy Utah in the 2009 Sugar Bowl? The Utes stunned the Tide, 31-17. The No. 15 Huskies might be good enough to give the inconsistent Seminoles a good fight.

This game will suck, and I do think the Seminoles could lose it. Difference between this game and 2008 is Utah was fighting for a right to prove they maybe should be playing for a BCS title and were a deserving top 10 school prior to the game I believe. Nobody believes NIU should even be in the top 25, and their 1 loss supports that.

There really are some good games 1-6 however, Sugar bowl is only interesting if Florida loses.

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This game will suck, and I do think the Seminoles could lose it. Difference between this game and 2008 is Utah was fighting for a right to prove they maybe should be playing for a BCS title and were a deserving top 10 school prior to the game I believe. Nobody believes NIU should even be in the top 25, and their 1 loss supports that.

There really are some good games 1-6 however, Sugar bowl is only interesting if Florida loses.

I agree about NIU-FSU; it could be a close game. Definitely don't agree with the Sugar Bowl assessment, though, especially with Charlie Strong now sniffing around some SEC jobs.

It's interesting for UF fans for obvious reasons, but fans of SEC teams needing a coach will likely be interested to see how Strong's team can compete with an SEC team like UF as well.

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I agree about NIU-FSU; it could be a close game. Definitely don't agree with the Sugar Bowl assessment, though, especially with Charlie Strong now sniffing around some SEC jobs.

It's interesting for UF fans for obvious reasons, but fans of SEC teams needing a coach will likely be interested to see how Strong's team can compete with an SEC team like UF as well.

They may look at the game, but in all honesty they SHOULDN'T stand a shot here. They're an offensive team this year behind their QB (but their offense isn't really that good on a national level), and Florida's defense is going to be way too much for them. Louisville's defense isn't exactly all that good either...especially vs the Run.

Terrible matchup for them. This is a game where Florida not only should, but probably needs to come out and put on a show vs this opponent to prove they could've been a BCS title team, and go into next year with good vibes.

If Strong wants to leave Louisville, he should do so prior to that game.

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They may look at the game, but in all honesty they SHOULDN'T stand a shot here. They're an offensive team this year behind their QB (but their offense isn't really that good on a national level), and Florida's defense is going to be way too much for them. Louisville's defense isn't exactly all that good either...especially vs the Run.

Terrible matchup for them. This is a game where Florida not only should, but probably needs to come out and put on a show vs this opponent to prove they could've been a BCS title team, and go into next year with good vibes.

If Strong wants to leave Louisville, he should do so prior to that game.

Yeah, they're overmatched; I'm just a Charlie Strong fan... he spent so much time at UF. I was really happy for him when he finally got his HC shot.

I hadn't considered the possibility that a bad showing against UF might hurt his chances of getting an SEC job. Honestly, though, if a school wants him, the outcome of this game probably won't matter to them; especially if it's an SEC team whose head honchos already realize UF is a huge test.

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NIU will also be without their head coach. Umm. Yeah.

But at least it helped aTm, and a few other non-BCS bowls get some good match ups.

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NIU will also be without their head coach. Umm. Yeah.

But at least it helped aTm, and a few other non-BCS bowls get some good match ups.

I won't pretend I don't like the NIU-FSU matchup, because it's basically a no-win situation for FSU.

Win and it's no big deal, they don't get any additional respect; but lose and they're the laughing stock of cfb.

I also agree with the ATM sentiment; the Cotton Bowl turned out to be a great matchup between 2 teams with plenty of Cotton history.

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