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Monday, 22 December 2014

Most Intriguing College Football Bowl Games: Ranking Them 38 to 1



We have entered into the most exciting time of year for any college football fan:  College Bowl Season.

This year, the FBS has increased its total number of postseason bowl games to 38.  Many have said that this expansion has diminished the value of the bowl system by having so many games, and that all it takes is a .500 record to get invited to a game.

This point has been argued that there are 128 schools in the FBS, and are all fighting for the right to be given a national audience.  Though there are so many bowls, every team deserves that right of a chance to grow their fan base, and to be given a proper send off after a tough season. 

That being said, there will be several bowl games that may not entice a national audience, and there are several that have the chance at being the brightest spot of the bowl season.

Here are the rankings for the bowl season: 

38.  Raycom Media Camellia Bowl – This game had two relatively underrated programs with Bowling Green and South Alabama battling it out for a national audience.  The score was close at the end, but both teams seemed un-prepared to be shown under the bright lights of a national audience.

37.  Hawaii Bowl – Fresno State and Rice both had sub par seasons, and honestly this is a game that will be a battle of underachieving schools.

36.  Go Daddy Bowl – Toledo and Arkansas State deserve the chance to be in a bowl game after having respectable records, but neither team really stands out above the rest of the bowl games.

35.  Gildan New Mexico Bowl – This was a great game between two schools that have rebounded to have successful seasons.  Utah State played great, and UTEP looks like a program on the rise.

34.  R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl – This game was primed to be an offensive explosion, and turned into a sloppy defensive battle.  The Rajun Cajuns were able to stymie the high-powered Nevada-Reno attack, and show they are solid on both sides of the ball.

33.  San Diego County Credit Union Bowl – Navy and their option-read offense against the Aztecs of San Diego State and their high-powered rush attack should attract any fan enjoys old-school smash mouth football.

32.  Popeyes Bahamas Bowl – The inaugural bowl game in Nassau has two mid major teams that have been off the radar for most of the college football landscape.  Both teams have exciting wins over big teams, and will have a chance to show they belong.

31.  Famous Idaho Potato Bowl – This game was on the “Smurf Turf’ of Boise, and honestly the ghastly color of the field took away from the great game between Air Force and Western Michigan. 

30.  Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl – Louisiana Tech and Illinois have offensive firepower galore, but neither team realizes they have to play defense to win. 

29.  Quick Lane Bowl – This will be a battle of two vastly underachieving Rutgers and North Carolina programs; both trying to salvage something from their season.

28.  Las Vegas Bowl – Colorado State had a great turnaround this season, but everyone knew that they had no chance against the Utes of Utah.  Utah deserved the chance to play on a bigger stage.

27.  Lockheed Armed Forces Bowl – This game makes little sense, as the participants are not members of the armed forces; but should make for an interesting game.

26.  Birmingham Bowl – Here is a lose-lose game for the Florida Gators.  If they lose, then their disastrous season is amplified; if they win, they beat a small East Carolina school that does little to boost the program.

25.  Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl – This is another contest of two programs of “what could’ve been”.  Both NC State and Central Florida programs lost close battles, and did not live up to expectations.

24.  Military Bowl – Virginia Tech and Cincinnati had roller coaster seasons with tremendous highs and severe lows.  Both are looking to go out on a high mark.

23.  Miami Beach Bowl – BYU had a run in the beginning of the season where many were considering them to be Playoff challengers, only to be derailed when the Cougars were hit with the injury bug.  Memphis played well against a few top teams, but the Tigers were never able to reach that next level. 

22.  Foster Farms Bowl – Stanford came into the season riding the high of four consecutive BCS appearances only to barely make it to bowl eligibility, while Maryland had a rough go in their inaugural Big 10 season.   

21.  New Era Pinstripe Bowl – Penn State deserves their bowl eligibility and will be tested on the hallowed grounds of Yankee stadium against the Golden Eagles of Boston College.

20.  Duck Commander Independence Bowl – This game would have been seen as a top-flight game a few years ago, but South Carolina and Miami are not the same programs from a few years ago.

19.  Ticket City Cactus Bowl – Oklahoma State and Washington are a case of contrasting styles and should serve for an exciting contest in the desert.

18.  Boca Raton Bowl – This game is higher ranked due to the fact that Marshall was only a few moments away from a perfect season, and Northern Illinois is one of the most underrated programs in the country. 

17.  Tax Slayer Bowl – Iowa and Tennessee were both programs that underachieved, but are stacked with talent that will be seen on the next level.

16.  Advocare V100 Texas Bowl – Texas rebounded to have a decent season, and Arkansas is looking to just survive with a winning record. 

15.  Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl – Notre Dame came into the season with a ton of promise, but faded late.  The LSU Tigers will be heavily favored in this game, and will look to take out their frustrations from their season on the Fighting Irish.

14.  Belk Bowl – Georgia had a roller coaster season, and is looking to go out on a high mark against a young Louisville Cardinals squad that is not intimidated. 

13.  Hyundai Sun Bowl – Duke is a vastly improved program under David Cutcliffe and will give the Sun Devils of Arizona State a run for their money in El Paso.

12.  AutoZone Liberty Bowl – Texas A&M looked primed to be a top candidate for the inaugural College Playoffs, but they fizzled down the stretch.  West Virginia had one of the toughest schedules in all of college football, and will be a worthy opponent for the Aggies.

11.  National University Holiday Bowl – USC proved that they will be a force under coach Steve Sarkisian, and Nebraska has one of the best rushing attacks in all of college football.  This game could steal the show, and be one of the best games in the bowl season.

10.  Russell Athletic Bowl – Clemson developed their defense to be one of the most feared squads in the ACC, while Oklahoma looks to show that the Sooners are still a top program in the country with their vaunted offensive attack.

9.  Valero Alamo Bowl – UCLA and Kansas State were both programs that were close to a New Year’s Day bowl berth, but faltered in their last games.  This game will be an offensive fireworks display and will not disappoint.

8.  Outback Bowl – Wisconsin and Auburn have similar smash mouth styles, and it may boil down to which team could stop the rush attack of the other.

7.  Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl – Minnesota had a fantastic season, but will be tested by the battle hardened Missouri Tigers in which should be a close contest.

6.  Chick Fil-A Peach Bowl – Ole Miss caught the eye of the national media with their fast start with wins over Alabama and Texas A&M, but faltered late.  The Rebels are looking to show their early success was not a fluke as they are facing a TCU squad that is looking to make a statement in this game.

5.  Vizio Fiesta Bowl – Will the magic of Boise State return, or will Arizona and Head Coach Rich Rodriguez prove that the Wildcats are a force for the future?  This game has excitement written all over it.

4.  Capital One Orange Bowl – Mississippi State looked primed to grab the top spot in the College Playoff until they ran out of gas at the end of the season.  Georgia Tech surprised the football landscape with their late season heroics, and was minutes away from knocking off the defending champion Florida State Seminoles.  Both teams are looking to add a New Year’s Bowl victory as the cherry on top of their successful seasons.

3.  Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic – Michigan State brings in their top-flight defense to do battle with Bryce Petty and the Baylor Bears high-flying offense.  This will be a battle of contrasting styles, and should prove to be one of the best games of the season.

2.  Allstate Sugar Bowl – Alabama comes in as one of the most dominating forces ever to be witnessed in college football.  The Crimson Tide are well rounded, and do not have many weaknesses with several athletes that will be featured at the next level.  Urban Meyer has turned his Ohio State Buckeyes into a well-rounded unit, as they have been able to survive several triumphs and tragedies this season.

1.  Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual – This is the must see, can’t miss game of the bowl season.  Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota leads his Oregon Ducks into Pasadena against the defending champion Florida State Seminoles.  This a game of the irresistible force of the Oregon Ducks “Quack Attack” against the immovable object of the undefeated, never say die Seminoles that just refuse to lose.



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