OK, with Weeks 1 and 2 out of the way, the college football bowl season starts to get a little more serious heading up to the BCS Championship Game on January 6.
But we’ll leave that meeting of No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 2 Alabama at Miami’s Sun Life Stadium discussion for a later date.
Right now, let’s look at everything left from New Year’s Eve until then.
Music City Bowl – North Carolina State (7-5) vs. Vanderbilt (8-4): The Commodores are shooting for their first 9-win season since they pulled that feat under the direction of the great Dan McGugin in 1915. That seems to be about the same time Pack QB Mike Glennon started matriculating in Raleigh, N.C.
Sun Bowl – Southern California (7-5) vs. Georgia Tech (6-7): Remember way back when the Trojans were ranked No. 1 and Matt Barkley was the Heisman favorite? Me neither.
Liberty Bowl – Iowa State (6-6) vs. Tulsa (10-3): Kinda funny to think a Conference USA squad should beat one from the Big 12.
Chick-fil-A Bowl – Louisiana State (10-2) vs. Clemson (10-2): Potentially the best matchup of the entire bowl season. With the (purple and gold) Tigers' endless array of athletes going against the (orange and purple) Tigers' dynamic offense headed by Tajh Boyd, we could be witness to something special ... or not.
Gator Bowl – Mississippi State (8-4) vs. Northwestern (9-3): If nothing else, Wildcats do-everything player Kain Colter should entertain.
Heart of Dallas Bowl – Purdue (6-6) vs. Oklahoma State (7-5): Boilermakers are heavy underdogs, yet they’ve won three straight. The Cowboys completed their regular season with back-to-back losses.
Capital One Bowl – Georgia (11-2) vs. Nebraska (10-3): Great names … would be nice if they could present a great game after each lost their conference title tilts.
Outback Bowl – South Carolina (10-2) vs. Michigan (8-4): Has a coach ever changed his stripes more, by design or circumstance, than Steve Spurrier? Well removed from his high-scoring aerial days at the Florida helm, he has a defensive dynasty brewing it seems with the Gamecocks.
Rose Bowl – Wisconsin (8-5) vs. Stanford (11-2): Barry Alvarez returns to the sidelines after a six-year retirement from them to face Cardinal-hot commodity David Shaw, who was the rumored frontrunner for many NFL gigs until he re-upped with Stanford recently. Who wins the coaching battle here?
Orange Bowl – Northern Illinois (12-1) vs. Florida State (11-2): Huskies QB Jordan Lynch is talking tough these days. It would be nice if his teammates back him up once they line up against the BCS-tested Seminoles.
Sugar Bowl – Louisville (10-2) vs. Florida (11-1): Still hard to believe the Gators only lost one game playing that mutated, old-school Penn State-ugly style, but here they are, likely to finish 12-1 and either No. 2 or No. 3 in the country.
Fiesta Bowl – Oregon (11-1) vs. Kansas State (11-1): This should be renamed the Almost Bowl, or the Oh, So Close Bowl as these two were positioned to grab spots in the BCS title before getting upset just hours apart on the same late-November Saturday. Matchup presents an interesting contrast in styles; Ducks are entertaining and the Wildcats … um, not so much.
Cotton Bowl – Texas A&M (10-2) vs. Oklahoma (10-2): Now that the ridiculous debate as to whether Johnny Football deserved the Heisman or not is over, can we get back to playing ball and seeing this kid make unbelievable play after unbelievable play?
Compass Bowl – Pittsburgh (6-6) vs. Mississippi (6-6): Mediocrity runs amok.
GoDaddy.com Bowl – Kent State (11-2) vs. Arkansas State (9-3): Sad thing is, the Golden Flashes were one double-overtime, Mid-American Conference title loss away from playing in a BCS bowl and here they might just end up falling to a team from a less-respected conference (the Sun Belt) than their own.