College Sports

These are the ten best bowl games you won’t want to miss

Northwestern fans enjoy the weather and festive atmosphere as they cheer on the Wildcasts against Texas Tech in the TicketCity Bowl at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas on Jan. 1, 2011.
Northwestern fans enjoy the weather and festive atmosphere as they cheer on the Wildcasts against Texas Tech in the TicketCity Bowl at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas on Jan. 1, 2011. The Dallas Morning News

Bowl season begins in less than two weeks with six games on Dec. 16, beginning with Grambling vs. North Carolina A&T in the Celebration Bowl at 11 a.m. in Atlanta.

Not all of the 40 bowl games (not including the national championship) are worth your time, at least on paper. Some are downright snooze fests — Iowa vs. Boston College in the Pinstripe Bowl anyone?

Here, however, we offer the 10 most intriguing bowl games you’ll want to catch or set the DVR.

10. Birmingham Bowl, Texas Tech vs. South Florida, 11 a.m. Dec. 23 (ESPN)

The Red Raiders have their hands full trying to slow down the Bulls, whose two losses to Houston and UCF were by a combined 11 points. USF is ninth nationally with 508.6 yards per game. Tech is 17th at 468.4 yards a game. Both teams average more than 34 points a game.

9. Citrus Bowl, LSU vs. Notre Dame, noon Jan. 1 (ABC)

Until the Irish was pasted by Miami on Nov. 11, they were poised to earn a playoff spot. They lost 20-19 at home to Georgia on Sept. 9 and get another shot at the SEC against the Tigers, who remain a tough nut to crack.

8. Fiesta Bowl, Penn State vs. Washington, 3 p.m. Dec. 30 (ESPN)

The Nittany Lions had the playoff in their sights until they lost consecutive road games to Ohio State and Michigan State by a combined three points. The Huskies’ two losses were also close and on the road.

7. Holiday Bowl, Washington State vs. Michigan State, 8 p.m. Dec. 28 (Fox)

Mike Leach returns to San Diego for the second consecutive year. His Cougars lost to Minnesota in 2016. The Spartans are just two years removed from playing in the CFB Playoff semifinals.

6. Alamo Bowl, TCU vs. Stanford, 8 p.m. Dec. 28 (ESPN)

TCU’s vaunted defense couldn’t slow down Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield (twice), which has marred an otherwise great season for the Horned Frogs. If they can shut down redshirt freshman Cardinal quarterback K.J. Costello the Frogs would give their season a proper finish.

5. Peach Bowl, Auburn vs. UCF, 11:30 a.m. Jan. 1 (ESPN)

The Tigers lost to Clemson 14-6 on Sept. 9 and to LSU 27-23 on Oct. 14 before running out of gas late in the SEC championship against Georgia. The Knights (12-0) could be without their head coach Scott Frost, who is leaving for Nebraska.

4. Orange Bowl, Wisconsin vs. Miami, 7 p.m. Dec. 30 (ESPN)

Have the Badgers been unfairly maligned? Are the Hurricanes contenders or pretenders after losing their past two games?

3. Cotton Bowl, Ohio State vs. USC, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 29 (ESPN)

Both national powers had legit arguments to be included in the playoff. Instead, they’ll fight it out at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The Trojans has a five-game win streak; the Buckeyes have a four-game win streak.

2. CFB semifinal Sugar Bowl, Clemson vs. Alabama, 7:45 p.m. Jan. 1 (ESPN)

Does this need an explanation? The two teams have split the last two national championships, including the Tigers’ 35-31 a year ago.

1. CFB semifinal Rose Bowl, Oklahoma vs. Georgia, 4 p.m. Jan. 1 (ESPN)

The Sooners carry the reputation of the Big 12 against the SEC’s Bulldogs. Quarterback Baker Mayfield is likely to be playing his first game as the latest Heisman trophy winner.

Stefan Stevenson: 817-390-7760, @StevensonFWST

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