The full bowl schedule has been finalized. Here is a run down of the 35 games with a few knee-jerk thoughts.
BCS Championship [Notre Dame vs. Alabama] This game may set a ratings record. There are a number of fascinating cultural angles. The game itself may not live up to that hype. SEC fans are overrating Alabama and underrating the progress Notre Dame has made rebuilding their defense under Brian Kelly. They have an SEC front. They are good enough not to get blown out. Whether their offense can score on an SEC defense is another matter.
Orange [Florida State vs. Northern Illinois] The Huskies earned their place. The rules are the rules. The human element voted them into this game. They ranked higher in the BCS rankings than Louisville and Wisconsin. Their best BCS win (No. 25) Kent State was close to Oklahoma’s best (No. 23) Texas and much better than Clemson’s best (No. 50) Ball State, which was also beaten by Northern Illinois. This game is going to be terrible? Have you watched Florida State play an underdog? Great job shitting all over some kids’ memorable achievement to defend the right of Oklahoma to get rewarded for being Oklahoma.
Sugar [Florida vs. Louisville] Louisville’s hopes rest with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Florida’s defense leads the nation in passer rating against. This game has some interesting story-lines – can Florida finally muster sumer offense? – but this may not be that interesting of a game. Florida is much better than any team Louisville has played in 2012.
Rose [Stanford vs. Wisconsin] Both schools are playing in their third-straight BCS games. Both teams run power offenses. Both teams have solid defenses. Wisconsin’s record will turn people off, but they may be the team best equipped to give Stanford a game. Will the third time be the charm for Bielema after close losses to TCU and Oregon?
Fiesta [Kansas State vs. Oregon] This could have been the BCS title game. One could construct a case, statistically, for these being the two best teams. KSU and Oregon rank (1) and (2) respectively in FEI. Oregon slightly edges Alabama as the No. 1 SRS team, with Kansas State at No. 4.
New Mexico Bowl [Arizona vs. Nevada] Two up-tempo, high-powered offenses. When college football-starved in mid-December, this is definitely watchable.
Potato Bowl [Toledo vs. Utah State] Utah State lost two games by a combined five points at Wisconsin and at BYU. What might have been…
Poinsettia Bowl [BYU vs. San Diego State] BYU has a great defense and a terrible offense. San Diego State does both things decently. Thursday night? Sure.
Beef O’Brady’s Bowl [Ball State vs. UCF] UCF delayed its bowl ban to make a run and ended up here. Ball State, according to the BCS Rankings, was Clemson’s best win.
New Orleans Bowl [East Carolina vs. Louisiana-Lafayette] …
MAACO Bowl Las Vegas [Boise State vs. Washington] Boise State has gone 34-4 the past three seasons, with the four losses coming by a combined 10 points. They are making their third-straight trip to this bowl. Non-AQ Status!
Hawaii Bowl [Fresno State vs. SMU] Fresno State is a sneaky good team. SMU lost by 45 at home to Texas A&M. Future natural rivals in the Big East?
Military Bowl [Bowling Green vs. San Jose State] These teams lost six games combined. Four were to teams that finished inside the BCS Top 25.
Belk Bowl [Cincinnati vs. Duke] Duke finally reaches a bowl game…to get toasted by Charlotte.
Holiday Bowl [Baylor vs. UCLA] Two good offenses. Underrated Baylor team. Worth a watch.
Independence Bowl [Ohio vs. ULM] Two teams that started fast and fell off. Ehhh…
Russell Athletic [Rutgers vs. Virginia Tech] Virginia Tech is bowling at 6-6 with an FCS win and two over-time wins, one of those coming against Boston College. Everyone gets a trophy.
Meineke Car Care Bowl [Minnesota vs. Texas Tech] Jerry Kill has enacted an impressive turnaround, but this has definite #BEATEMDOWN potential.
Armed Forces Bowl [Air Force vs. Rice] Falcons are going up against the nation’s No. 110 ranked run defense.
Pinstripe Bowl [Syracuse vs. West Virginia] The Mountaineers moved on up to the Big 12, only to face Syracuse in a Big East night game. Lovely. Holgorsen may go for triple-digits.
Kraft Fight Hunger [Arizona State vs. Navy] Will Todd Graham still be coaching?
Alamo Bowl [Oregon State vs. Texas] A coach who gets the most from his talent vs. a coach that gets the least from it but has a lot more of it.
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl [Michigan State vs. TCU] Because America needed one more opportunity to watch Michigan State play offense.
Music City Bowl [N.C. State vs. Vanderbilt] One coach got a huge extension for getting here. The other got shit-canned.
Sun Bowl [Georgia Tech vs. USC] How much more intriguing is this game if it is Louisiana Tech instead of Georgia Tech?
Liberty Bowl [Iowa State vs. Tulsa] …
Chick-fil-A Bowl [Clemson vs. LSU] Les vs. Dabo. Chad Morris vs. John Chavis. Avowedly heterosexual fast food. We’re not going to feel bad bagging New Years Eve to watch this (has anyone ever had one that lived up to its billing?).
Heart of Dallas Bowl [Purdue vs. Oklahoma State] The Bloody Mary Bowl. Purdue will get flattened.
Gator Bowl [Mississippi State vs. Northwestern] This may be the Big Ten’s best opportunity to win a bowl game. Mississippi State’s best win was against 4-8 Arkansas.
Capital One Bowl [Georgia vs. Nebraska] So close, yet so far. If Nebraska is as bad against the run as they were against Wisconsin, this will get ugly.
Outback Bowl [Michigan vs. South Carolina] Michigan’s defense has been one of the best in the country at limiting big plays and should keep the game within range. Whether the Wolverines can gain any traction or hang onto the ball against South Carolina’s front seven to win it is another question.
Cotton Bowl [Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M] Bob Stoops against his protege. The Heisman winner against the Heisman candidate that never materialized. It’s not as fun as Texas vs. Texas A&M would have been, but we’ll be watching. Oklahoma has already sold out its allotment.
Compass Bowl [Ole Miss vs. Pittsburgh] Spunky SEC team against a Pittsburgh team that showed flashes of being decent with a month to regroup. Potential to be a sneaky good game, we hope.
GoDaddy.Com Bowl [Arkansas State vs. Kent State] Will Malzahn or Hazell still be there?
[Photos via Presswire]