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2013 NCAA Bowls and Why You Should Watch Part 4: The New Year Nons

Bowl season is upon us and all 35 bowls deserve to be respected, watched, and enjoyed.  Here is why you should watch. Gator Bowl Gator Bowl: Jacksonville, Florida. Jan 1, 12pm, ESPN2

Nebraska(Big Ten) vs Georgia(SEC)

Two teams that have had to deal with a lot of injuries face off as Nebraska and Georiga meet in the Gator Bowl.  There has been no team that has taken a beating like Georgia has except unlike most teams that lose so much key talent, Georgia has risen to the occasion and played up to the Gator Bowl.  Georgia’s passing leader is Aaron Murray, who threw for 3000 yards and 26 touchdowns, but he went down with a season ending injury, so the task falls to Hutson Mason, who won his first start against Georgia Tech to finish the regular season.  Toddy Gurley added 900 yards with 10 touchdowns on the ground.  Nebraska has had to jump to a few quarterbacks, but the leader is Ron Kellogg III, who passed for 900 yards and 6 touchdowns, including a hail mary pass to win during the season.  The star for the Cornhuskers is Ameer Abdullah, who has run for 1500 yards and 8 touchdowns.  This Georgia team is incredibly scrappy and worth watching.


Heart of Dallas Bowl Presented by Plains Capital Bank

Heart of Dallas Bowl Presented by Plains Capital Bank: Dallas, Texas. Jan 1, 12pm, ESPNU

UNLV(MWC) vs North Texas(CUSA)

The Heart of Dallas Bowl is proof that any team can get to a New Years Day bowl.  However, this is also a game about redemption as UNLV has made their first bowl game since 2000 and their last bowl game away from Las Vegas since 1984.  UNLV got lucky as the Mountain West had more teams than bowl slots.  The spot in the Heart of Dallas Bowl was the Big Ten’s that got vacated when a second team was selected in to the BCS.  North Texas has been out of a bowl game for nine straight seasons and their return also coincides with their 100th year of playing football.  Both UNLV and North Texas have pretty balanced, but more run heavy offenses.  UNLV is led by quarterback Caleb Herring, who has passed for 2500 yards with 22 touchdowns.  On the ground, the Rebels have Tim Cornett, who has run for 1200 yards and 15 touchdowns.  The Mean Green are led by Derek Thompson, who has passed for 2600 yards and 14 touchdowns while the ground game is paced by Brandin Byrd, who has run for 1000 yards and 11 touchdowns.  This is the only game of the day between non-power conference members.  Those who enjoy watching the little guys will enjoy this game.


Capital One Bowl

Capital One Bowl: Orlando, Florida. Jan 1, 1pm, ABC

Wisconsin(Big Ten) vs South Carolina(SEC)

In what is traditionally the top of the non-BCS bowls, Wisconsin and South Carolina take out their aggression of missing the BCS out on each other in the Capital One Bowl.  Wisconsin was the victim of a bad officiating gaffe that gave them an early loss that put them at a disadvantage in the BCS standings.  Regardless of the Badgers’ last loss; they would have not been in a BCS game due to the conference limitations.  This was the same problem South Carolina had.  With Auburn rising up and upsetting Georgia and Alabama, South Carolina knew they were going to be shuffled out of the BCS.  Both of these teams have very talented running backs.  South Carolina has running back Mike Davis, who has run for 1100 yards and 11 touchdowns along with quarterback Connor Shaw, who has passed for 2100 yards and 21 touchdowns.  Wisconsin has running back Melvin Gordon, who has run for 1400 yards and 12 touchdowns.  They also have quarterback Joel Stave, who has passed for 2400 yards and 20 touchdowns.  This is looking to be an excellent matchup and worthy of occupying the television set.


Outback Bowl

Outback Bowl: Tampa, Florida. Jan 1, 1pm, ESPN

Iowa(Big Ten) vs LSU(SEC)

In a game that is held in a stadium that features a pirate ship, there are very few stadiums as unique as Raymond James Stadium, home to the Outback Bowl.  LSU, like Missouri and South Carolina, is the victim of the BCS conference limitation and was not able to be considered for a higher bowl.  This is not to say that the Outback is not one of the top non-BCS bowls, but it’s not a BCS bowl.  Handicapping LSU is the loss of quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who will not play due to an injury.  He threw for 3000 yards and 22 touchdowns, but the ball will be going to Anthony Jennings.  Jeremy Hill will be relied on heavily to ease the load.  He ran for 1100 yards and 14 touchdowns.  Iowa quietly comes in with one of the toughest defenses in the country that ranks in the top 20 for both the pass and the run.  Jake Rudock leads the Hawkeyes with 2200 yards passing and 18 touchdowns while Mark Weisman adds 900 yards and 7 touchdowns on the ground.  This game will showcase how Les Miles can coach up a plan with a new quarterback facing against a stout defense.


AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic

AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic: Arlington, Texas. Jan 3, 7:30pm, FOX

Oklahoma State(Big XII) vs Missouri(SEC)

In what is arguably the best matchup outside of the BCS, two BCS quality teams that just missed the cut meet in Jerryworld.  Just two years ago, these two teams were conference mates in the Big XII before Missouri ran off to the SEC.  It was only a matter of time before Missouri would be playing teams from their old conference.  Missouri is led by James Franklin, who passed for over 2200 yards and 19 touchdowns despite missing some time due to injury.  In his absence, Matty Mauck carried the team to victory.  Also, Henry Josey contributed 1000 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground for the Tigers.  While he didn’t start the season Clint Chelf eventually became the starter for the Cowboys and passed for 1700 yards and 15 touchdowns.  This game starts an hour before the Orange Bowl, but looks to be a better matchup.


BBVA Compass Bowl

BBVA Compass Bowl: Birmingham, Alabama. Jan 4, 1pm, ESPN

Houston(American) vs Vanderbilt(SEC)

In the first bowl after the four BCS bowls, Houston and Vanderbilt meet up.  Vanderbilt has recently become a respected football program.  This is their third bowl game in a row after only going to four bowl in the school’s history.  Vandy will have their hands full with Houston as they will do so without their top quarterback.  Austyn Carta-Samuels passed for 2200 yards and 11 touchdowns before tearing his ACL back in October.  Patton Robinette will start in his place.  Houston sends in freshman John O’Korn, who has passed for 2800 yards and 28 touchdowns.  This is the only bowl game on the final Saturday of the season, so tune in to keep the football juices flowing. Bowl

GoDaddy Bowl: Mobile, Alabama. Jan 5, 9pm ESPN

Ball State(MAC) vs Arkansas State(SBC)

In a game between two of the stronger programs not in a power conference, Ball State and Arkansas State meet up in Mobile.  Arkansas State will be without their head coach for the third time in three seasons as their coach, Bryan Harsin, was hired away.  Despite the adversity, the Red Wolves continue to put a good product on the field by landing in the GoDaddy Bowl for the third straight year.  Defensive coordinator John Thompson will be coaching the team in their bowl game for the second straight season.  Ball State has struggled in bowl games as they carry a 0-7-1 record.  Ball State is led by quarterback Keith Wenning, who has passed for over 3900 yards and 33 touchdowns.  Talented wide receiver Willie Snead has over 1400 of those yards with 14 touchdowns.  For Arkansas State, Adam Kennedy has passed for over 2300 yards with 11 touchdowns.  With the NFL playoffs ending earlier in the day, this game provides the avid football lover with a little more medicine before the title game the next day.

Host of the OT with Andrew G for the Sports Chronicles Radio Network

Host of The College Cram, NFL and NCAA writer on the National Gridiron Network

Contributing writer for Pro Player Insiders

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Ralph Garcia


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