More than half of all FBS schools make it to a bowl game -68 of 119 to be exact. That makes 34 bowls to extend the college football season into the new year.
And most have some sort of terrible sponsor. Pundits can say what they want about beer companies sponsoring the NFL or NASCAR. Budweiser implies more of a good time than say, I don't know, Meineke, Capital One or Chick-Fil-A.
That being said, some pretty off the radar bowl games are usually the best ones to watch, and this year will be no different. The BCS series, aside from the national title game, is an unintriguing group of ugly match-ups. These games will either be blowouts or just plain boring.
With that said, here are five best, and worst bowl match-ups of this season.
1. The Poinsettia Bowl -Boise State (12-0) vs. TCU (10-2).
Boise got snubbed by the BCS but still will face a very formidable opponent in the Horned Frogs. It's the Broncos high-powered offense vs. the very stingy defense of TCU. The Horned Frogs lost to Oklahoma and Utah during the regular slate- the latter was a game they should have won if not for numerous mistakes. TCU also held Oklahoma to 35 points which was the Sooners lowest output of the season.
Boise has to win this to hold the argument they should have been in the BCS. They should. Boise isn't all offense, their defense can hold its own as well. Prediction: Boise 38, TCU 30.
2. The BCS National Championship -Florida (12-1) vs. Oklahoma (12-1).
This is the game everyone but perhaps Mack Brown and Texas wanted to see. They are the two hottest teams in the country loaded with athletes on both sides of the ball. Predicting this is extremely difficult, but may wind up having a lot to do with who wins the Heisman. It seems every year someone wins it, if their team is in the title game, they flop. Sam Bradford seems to have a bit of an edge on Tim Tebow at this point, but it's still anyone's guess.
Personally, I'm going with Bob Stoops and Co. He's clawed his way back into this game, and he's not going to let the chance slip away. Prediction: Oklahoma 45, Florida 42.
3. The Hawaii Bowl -Hawaii (7-6) vs. Notre Dame (6-6).
If there's one team that's fun to watch, it's the never dull Warriors. This is an extremely intriguing game that may decide the fate of Irish coach Charlie Weis. It will be competitive, too. Hawaii can put up big time points. Notre Dame hasn't done squat offensively, but should have the size advantage to move the ball down the field and find the end zone. Consider this one an early Christmas present. Prediction: Hawaii 27, Notre Dame 23.
4. The Texas Bowl -Rice (9-3) vs. Western Michigan (9-3).
Hate defense? This is the bowl for you. The last team with the ball will likely win this one. Both teams score -a lot. Rice especially. Unfortunately most of us won't be able to watch this because it's being televised on NFL Network. Thanks Time-Warner! Prediction: Rice 63, Western Michigan 55.
5. GMAC Bowl -Tulsa (10-3) vs. Ball State (12-1).
Another defensive struggle, this one may also top 100 total points. They might score well into February after this one starts. Neither team really played anyone in the regular season, and when they did, they lost. But match them up against one another and the outcome should be pretty ridiculous. If Tulsa recomposes itself, which it had a tough time doing down the stretch, they should take care of the Cardinals in an absolute shootout. Prediction: Tulsa 41, Ball State 31.
And now the five worst.
1. Independence Bowl -La. Tech (7-5) vs. Northern Illinois (7-6).
Who cares vs. who cares? Prediction: Who cares?
2. Chick-Fil-A Bowl -LSU (7-5) vs. Georgia Tech (7-3).
They pay each of these schools $3 million to compete in this. They should pay the fans $3 million to watch. Prediction: Something to something less.
3. International Bowl -Connecticut (7-5) vs. Buffalo (8-5).
Ugly takes on pug ugly when these two titans meet, on Jan. 3 no less. Prediction: Pug ugly by a field goal.
4. Fiesta Bowl -Ohio State (10-2) vs. Texas (11-1).
Another bowl opponent that the Buckeyes won't be able to match up with. Texas has every right to be in the national title game. They'll take out their frustrations on another hapless Big Ten opponent. Prediction: Texas by a lot.
5. Orange Bowl -Cincinnati (11-2) vs. Virginia Tech (9-4).
Hey, our conferences are terrible, but if we win, we automatically get a combined $34 million! Hurray for money and mediocre football! Prediction: Hokies quarterback Sean Glennon will continue his rep as the worst Division I college starter and propel the Bearcats into a 12-win false sense of achievement season.
E-mail B.J. Lisko at email@example.com