BCS championship best of bowl bunch
But there are several other good matchups
As we count the days until the Jan. 7 BCS Championship Game between Notre Dame and Alabama, there are other bowl games to consider. But here’s a warning: Proceed with caution. Not all of the 35 bowl games are alike.
Here’s a condensed preview of the best and worst games, which start Saturday:
Notre Dame-Alabama: Doesn’t get any better than this. America’s team against the latest dynasty in college football. Key matchup to watch: Notre Dame’s stout run defense against an Alabama offensive line that’s bigger than some NFL units. Although this ’Bama team isn’t as good as last year’s, it’s a solid favorite to repeat as national champs.
Oklahoma-Texas A&M: Let’s see how Johnny Heisman does in his first game since claiming college football’s biggest prize. Manziel and friends should score plenty of Cotton Bowl points against a very ordinary Oklahoma defense, but can A&M contain the Sooners and Landry Jones, a pretty fair quarterback in his own right?
Oregon-Kansas State: Wasn’t that long ago that this was a potential BCS title matchup. Then Oregon lost to Stanford and Kansas State to Baylor on the same night. The Fiesta Bowl gladly accepted an Oregon team that seemingly scores a point a minute and a gritty Kansas State team featuring quarterback Collin Klein, who was third in the Heisman voting.
LSU-Clemson: New Year’s Eve in Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A Bowl is a bit of a comedown for LSU, which is used to playing in the BCS title game. Have to wonder if the Tigers’ heads will be into this game. Clemson scored a lot of points against ACC defenses, but there is no defense like LSU’s in the ACC.
Worth a look
Virginia Tech-Rutgers: Another game – the Russell Athletic Bowl – – in which there are questions about both teams’ emotional state. Virginia Tech is 6-6 – far short of its usual high standards – and Rutgers, in losing its last two games, blew its chance to play in its first BCS bowl.
Baylor-UCLA: Think the Bruins are glad they’ve seen the last of Stanford for this year? They lost two games in a row to the Rose Bowl-bound Cardinal. Baylor came alive late with wins over Kansas State and Oklahoma State, and both teams are capable of putting up big numbers. The Holiday Bowl will be a treat for those of you who love high-scoring offenses.
Syracuse-West Virginia: The Pinstripe Bowl’s 73 over/under number might be a little low. Both the Orange and Mountaineers have record-breaking quarterbacks and defenses that leave a lot to be desired. Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith, whose Heisman hopes were dashed by his defense, wants to go out on a big note.
Georgia-Nebraska: The Capital One Bowl on New Year’s Day matches a Georgia offense that was one pass completion away from playing in the national championship game against a Nebraska defense that was four bad quarters away from playing in the Rose Bowl. If the Bulldogs come to play, they could roll up a big score.
Don’t even bother
Almost all of the other games, but particularly these: Central Florida-Ball State in the Beef ’O’ Brady’s Bowl; Louisiana-Lafayette vs. East Carolina in the New Orleans Bowl; Western Kentucky-Central Michigan in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl; San Jose State-Bowling Green in the Military Bowl; Louisiana-Monroe vs. Ohio in the Independence; Oklahoma State-Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl; Florida State-Northern Illinois in the Orange; and Mississippi-Pittsburgh in the Compass Bowl.