Bowl Preview: Top Five Non-BCS Bowl Games
While the BCS bowls are garnering most of the national attention, let's run down the five most intriguing games on the non-BCS schedule:
Las Vegas Bowl
5. #20 Fresno State (11-1) vs. #25 USC (9-4) - 12/21/13, 3:30 PM ET ABC
There are a lot of rumblings about how the USC players will respond following the exit of Ed Orgeron and the entrance of Steve Sarkisian. I don't think this will be a huge issue. There's still nearly two weeks before this game is played, so once it arrives, the players will have a couple of weeks of practice under their belt without Orgeron at the helm. Derek Carr will present some challenges for the Trojans' secondary, but from top to bottom, USC is the superior team.
4. #21 Texas A&M (8-4) vs. 24 Duke (10-3) - 12/31/13, 8 PM ET ESPN
So, Duke is rewarded for the first 10-win season in school history by facing Jameis Winston and Johnny Manziel in back-to-back games. That seems fun. While Duke's story is one of the best of the season in college football, picking against this Aggie team in what will likely be Manziel's final game as a college player isn't a smart move. A&M's defense is awful, which is positive news for the Blue Devils in the scoring department, but I can't see Duke getting enough stops to keep up with Manziel and company.
Russell Athletic Bowl
3. #18 Louisville (11-1) vs. Miami FL (9-3) - 12/28/13, 6:45 PM ET ESPN
Two season-altering losses set the path for these two to meet up. For Louisville, the loss to Central Florida back in mid-October crushed any hope they had of playing for a national championship or appearing in a BCS bowl game. Meanwhile, Miami's hopes at a conference and national title were dashed after a trouncing by Florida State, which eventually sent the Hurricanes on a three-game losing streak. Miami will be fired up since their playing their first bowl game in several years due to self-imposed bowl sanctions by the school in 2011 and 2012.
Capital One Bowl
2. #9 South Carolina (10-2) vs. #19 Wisconsin (9-3) - 1/1/14, 1 PM ET ABC
Jadeveon Clowney's 110 mile per hour speeding ticket was not a good start to bowl season for the Gamecocks. The good news though is that Steve Spurrier's team has been unstoppable on the field over the past couple of months. The biggest question entering this game will be Wisconsin's state of mind after they limped to the finish with a bad home loss to Penn State. It will be intriguing to watch the Badger rushing attack go up against the intimidating Clowney-led defensive line for South Carolina.
1. #8 Missouri (10-2) vs. #13 Oklahoma State (11-2) - 1/3/14, 7:30 PM ET FOX
How do both teams respond after losses that impacted their conference championship (and national in Mizzou's case) hopes? If they respond by playing some of their best football of the season, this game should be tremendous. Both squads have averaged around 39 points per game this season, so there's no reason to believe that there won't be plenty of offense on display. Recent Cotton Bowl games have been blowout city, but this one will be different. As long as both teams care, it should be a wild one in Arlington.
Which non-BCS bowl game are you most looking forward to? Let us know by commenting below! For more college football talk, follow @FanIQ or myself on Twitter!