5 “Other” Bowl Games You Won’t Want to Miss

5 “Other” Bowl Games You Won’t Want to Miss
  • Opening Intro -

    From Dec. 21, 2013 through Jan. 6, 2014, there will be 35 bowl games played featuring 70 FBS (Division 1) teams.

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The top draw will, of course, take place on the first Monday of the new year when undefeated Florida State seeks to break the SEC’s hold on the national championship by vanquishing Auburn in the BCS title game. You can also expect eager fans to tune into the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl, but there are five smaller bowls that may be worth tracking too.

1. Chick-Fil-A Bowl. The former Peach Bowl has become a worthy watch with Atlanta the setting for this New Year’s Eve game. This year, Texas A&M (8-4) takes on Duke (10-3) in what promises to be the final college game for last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Johnny Manziel. That alone is enough reason to tune in, but with a very good Duke team as the Aggies opponent, we could see one of the best played games of the bowl season unfold.

2. Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl. Pity any school that has to play a bowl game before Christmas (Dec. 21). With exams barely behind them and the big holiday looming, distractions abound. But, with this game played on a Sat. night and featuring No. 20 Fresno State (11-1) against No. 25 USC (9-4), we should see the fireworks start early and go on often. Besides, after a full day of Christmas shopping, a football game would be a welcome change.

3. San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. No. 23 Northern Illinois (12-1) missed out on a likely BCS bowl appearance by getting clobbered by Bowling Green in the MAC championship game. All eyes will be on the Huskies’ quarterback, Jordan Lynch, who is expected to be picked up in the next NFL draft. He’ll need a stellar showing on Dec. 26 against the Aggies however, who lost to Fresno State in the Mountain West Conference title game and are much better than their 8-5 record.

4. Fight Hunger Bowl. On Dec. 27, the Fight Hunger Bowl will feature BYU and Washington, a pair of 8-4 teams. That BYU is playing ensures a national audience. That Washington is the opponent makes this San Francisco match up a west coast delight. BYU has won the last three times these two teams have played and may have an advantage with interim Huskies coach Marques Tuiasosopo at the helm. The Huskies hired Chris Petersen away from Boise State earlier this month, but he won’t start coaching until next year.

5. Capital One Bowl. On New Year’s Day, South Carolina (10-2) will take on Wisconsin (9-3) in the Capital One Bowl. This Orlando, Fla, bowl is always overshadowed by the top tier bowls, but manages to land some of the more promising teams in the nation. The Gamecocks were a dark horse in the SEC all season long, while Wisconsin found itself in a similar position in the Big Ten. Its the best “early” game for the new year, with the Rose Bowl game following.

Bowl Busters

Of course, if you are an avid Notre Dame or Rutgers fan, the prospect of freezing your buns off at Yankee Stadium while the Irish take on Rutgers on Dec. 28, won’t much matter to you. It isn’t Orlando, New Orelans, or Arizona, but the New Era Pinstripe Bowl gives fans access to the greatest city in the world: New York.

See AlsoShut Out: Smaller Conferences Seek New Bowl Games

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Categories: NCAA Football