Non-BCS Bowl Preview

Better known as "Early bowl games I think are worth watching". By on loan from our friends at

If you think a 2-1 pitcher's duel is exciting, skip this preview. If you like the fact that every NFL team runs basically the same offense, move along. If you consider a QB sneak on 4th and 1 on the opponent's 38 yard line to be "bold", you don't like bowl football. But, if you like the fact that college football teams run halfback option plays, that overtime means both teams touch the ball, and that if a college team still has a trick play left in their bag, by golly they are going to use it between now and January first ... READ ON!

First of all, no, I didn't look at every game. Sorry, but North Texas versus Cincinnati isn't compelling, particularly to our East coast readership. I also skipped the Christmas Day games. If you live that far from your family, or if you really, really don't like your family, send me an email and let me know how they were. For those of us with a life but a passion for college football, here is the viewer's guide you need.

How are these games rated? This isn't terribly scientific, but factors include a few key items. Ranks go up if there is a chance to see either lots of points, likely NFL draft picks, figure out who is overrated, or who would have been great with a better O-Line. You have to like a chance to hear Bill Curry analyze a game, especially if you get to hear a head coach say "Dadgum" at least 3 times in his halftime jog off the field interview. We all wonder what Lee Corso is going to put on his head at the end of each College Gameday session!

More importantly - Do I like one of the teams? MOST importantly - do I hate one of them?

A quick moment of silence for the passing of the greatest bowl name of all time: The Poulan Weedeater Bowl.


Watch? 5+
Marshall (10-2) National Passing Rank: #3 Pass Defense: #6 Louisville (7-5) Seven players averaging over 10 yards per catch Wednesday, Dec. 18 @ 8 p.m.(ESPN2) NFL scouts want to see QBs in Byron Leftwich and Dave Ragone. Leftwich has thrown for 4,019 yards, 26 TD's for a 159.8 rating - Ragone 2,687 yards 23 TD's and 125.6 rating.
Tangerine Bowl

Watch? 4
National Rank Interceptions: 10th Texas Tech
National Scoring Rank: 7th Monday, Dec. 23 @ 5:30 p.m. (ESPN) The ALL OFFENSE bowl. Tech's Kliff Kingsbury threw for 4,642 yards and 42 TDs. Clemson has Bowden, and that means offense and trickery.

Watch? 5 of course
BOSTON COLLEGE(8-4) National Passing Defense Rank: #7 Toledo
National Scoring Offense rank: #10 Thursday, Dec 26 5:00 p.m. (ESPN) Toledo QB Brian Jones completed over 70% of his passes, Derrick Knight is the Eagles 5th 1,000 yard rusher in a row.
Insight Bowl

Watch? 1 or 5 if BC wins
Pittsburgh (8-4) National Rank Total Defense: #11 Oregon State
National Rank Total Defense: #10 Thursday, Dec 26 @ 8:30 pm (ESPN) Panther Freshman WR Larry Fitzgerald has 917 yards and 11 TDs, Beaver RB Steven Jackson ran for 1,656 yards for a 5.5 per carry avg and 15 TDs.
Houston Bowl

Watch? 3, but 5 if you have the day off anyway and don't ski
Southern Mississippi (7-5) National Rank Total Defense: #25 (7-5) Oklahoma State
National Rank Scoring Offense: #16 Friday, Dec. 27 @ 1 p.m. (ESPN) The only bowl team the Golden Eagles beat were the Cincinnati Bearcats. The Cowboys hung 38 points on Oklahoma-This could get ugly.
Independence Bowl

Watch? 3
Nebraska (7-6) National Rank in teams I hate most: #2 Ole Miss (6-6) National Rank in Best Looking cheerleaders: #1 Friday, Dec. 27 @ 4:30 p.m. (ESPN) Watch to hope Manning runs it up the way Nebraska has on so man many teams over the years. This is the college football equivalent of rooting against the Yankees. Go Rebels!
Holiday Bowl

Watch? 2
Kansas State
Only home game against USC keeps me from making fun of their non-conference schedule. Arizona State
National Rank in Passing Offense: #9, Rank in Scoring Offense: #21 Friday, Dec. 27 @ 8 p.m. (ESPN) Kansas State has the advantage in scoring, but ASU averages almost twice as many passing yards, and the way to beat K-State is through the air.
Continental Tire Bowl

Watch? 4
West Virginia
Avon Cobourne is ranked #8 in rushing at 132 ypg. Virginia
National Rank in Rushing Defense: #105 Saturday, Dec. 28 @ 11 a.m.(ESPN2) This backyard brawl is for bragging rights and recruiting in a game close to home. The Mountaineers have the 2nd ranked rushing offense in the country, could be a long day for the Cavaliers.
Alamo Bowl

Watch? 2.5, if you like tailbacks 4
National Rank Rushing Offense #7 Wisconsin
National Rank Rushing Offense #35 Rushing D #51 Saturday, Dec. 28 @ 8 p.m. (ESPN) 3 yards and a cloud of astroturf. These two smashmouth teams will run the ball and run some more. Great game for the hogs. Statistically very close in all aspects except for one: wins. Good game for scouts, dull for TV.
Music City Bowl

Watch? Boycott! 1
Minnesota (7-5) National Rank rushing D: 51 Arkansas (9-4) National Rank rushing D: 18 Monday, Dec 30 @ 2 p.m. (ESPN) Some claim the Big East is under powered. The Big East team beat the SEC squad every year in this bowl, so they ran to the Big 10. Boycott!
Seattle Bowl

Watch? 3
Wake Forest
National Rank Rushing offense: #8 Oregon
National Rank Rushing Defense: #15 Monday, Dec 30 @ 5 p.m. (ESPN) Running versus throwing. The Demon Deacons avg 240 yards per game on the ground, the Ducks throw it for over 14 yards per catch average. This game will have plenty of points.
Humanitarian Bowl

Watch? 4
Iowa State
National Rank Pass Defense: #26 Boise State
National Rank Scoring offense: #1!! Tuesday, Dec. 31 @ Noon (ESPN)
This one is on the blue turf at home in Boise, Idaho
Seneca Wallace may have fallen off the Heisman watch, but he is still exciting, putting up 3,138 passing to go with his 8 rushing TD's. Boise is all about the O, their QB's Dinwiddie and Rhode combined for 3,567 yards passing and 30 TD's with 9 players averaging over 10 yards per catch.
Sun Bowl

Watch? 5
National Rank Passing Offense: #4 Purdue
National Rank Passing Defense: #35 Total Defense: #21 Tuesday, Dec. 31 @ 2 p.m. (CBS) This could be the shootout of the season. Joe Tiller is known for throwing the ball, but this years squad ran 127 more times than pass plays. Washington likes to air it out, 567 attempts with a 61% completion rate.
Liberty Bowl

Watch? 3
Colorado State
National Rank Rushing Offense: #17 Scoring offense: #24 TCU
National Rank Rushing Defense: #1 Tuesday, Dec. 31 @ 3:30 p.m. (ESPN) Big East fans may recognize the name Van Pelt, but this is Bradlee Van Pelt, the Pitt QB's brother throwing for 2,049 yards, but he's also run for 11 TD's. The Horned Frogs get a nod for best mascot in the West, and are led by QB Sean Stilley's 112.4 QB rating.
Silicon Valley "Classic"

Watch? 3
Georgia Tech
National Rank Total Defense #50 Scoring offense: #24 Fresno State
National Rank Total Defense: #94 Tuesday, Dec. 31 @ 3:30 p.m. (ESPN2) This one could go down as the "No defense" bowl. A good quality in a game you might not care about personally, but like to see some points. Fresno State is playing in Cali, big advantage combined with the injuries on the other side of the ball. At the end of the season, GT was really the Ramblin' Wreck driving into the trainers room.
Peach Bowl

Watch? 5
National Rank Total Offense: #36 Tennessee
National Rank Total Defense: #7 Tuesday, Dec. 31 @ 7:30 p.m. (ESPN) Boasts what are arguably the best teams not playing on New Year's Day. The Terps are angry that they didn't win the ACC and are looking to take it out on the Vols. Tennessee had too many injuries this year, but the time off should give Casey Clausen and crew a chance to get healthy. Clausen threw for 2,055 yards along with 4 tailbacks who average over 4 yards per carry.
San Francisco Bowl

Watch? Wonder if you'll remember. 4
Air Force
National Rank Rushing Offense: #1 Rushing D: #62 Virginia Tech
National Rank Rushing Offense: #14 Rushing D: #20 Tuesday, Dec. 31 @ 10:30 p.m. (ESPN2) Both squads love to run the ball, but the Hokies have a far superior defense to Air Force. The discipline of an academy will keep Air Force focused and in this game, but Lee Suggs will continue his rushing ways. Air Force will need to put heat on VT QB Bryan Randall if they want the W.

NOTES: If you have to be told that 5 is higher than 1, your team is in the Independence Bowl.

Games excluded in rankings: New Orleans Bowl, Hawaii Bowl, Las Vegas Bowl, & the Tidy Bowl

Information from, and were used in this report.