Ranking The 2012-2013 Bowls - Just Bowls

Posted Dec 8, 2012

Before they start, the ranking of the bowls - No. 16 to 20

2012-2013 Bowl Matchups

Just Bowls. No More, No Less 

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The 2012-2013 Pre-Bowl Rankings
- The Can't Miss - The Top 5  
- The Excellent - No. 6 to No. 10 
- The Solid - No. 11 to No. 15
- Just Bowls. No More, No Less - No. 16 to No. 20
- The Mediocre - No. 21 to No. 25
- The Lousy - No. 26 to No. 30 
- Seriously? - No. 30 to No. 35  

20. R+L Carriers New Orleans

East Carolina vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
New Orleans, LA Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Dec. 22, 12:00, ESPN

Three Reasons Why You Have To Watch This Bowl

1. Louisiana-Lafayette should bring the house down in New Orleans. Last season they played in the best bowl game of the season in a wild shootout against San Diego State, backed by a raucous home crowd. There might not be the same fire this year, but the fans will still show up in what should be a firefight.

2. The Ragin' Cajuns don't throw the ball like they did last season, but they have a fun offense that ran well and occasionally threw better. Hot, they have won four of their last five with the lone loss coming in the heartbreaker against Florida.

3. East Carolina has been playing well, too, winning five of its last six games helped by an offense that's starting to bomb away and put up big points on the board. The passing attack is exploding.

And Why You Shouldn't Care A Lick: Neither team can play a lick of pass defense. While hat might make for an entertaining game, it's possible that one team gets hot and bombs away on the other making it ugly throughout. East Carolina's best win was against Houston - there aren't any victories over bowl teams. .

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1. PK Brett Baer, Sr. Louisiana-Lafayette – The star in the final moments in last year's win over San Diego State – nailing a bomb of a field goal for the win – he followed up an 18-of-20 season by hitting 17-of-20 field goals. All three of his misses came early in the year.

2. QB Shane Carden, Soph. East Carolina – It took a little while to get into the swing of things, but he found his groove in the middle of the season with five scoring passes against Memphis and threw for 439 yards and three scores in the wild win over Marshall at the end of the regular season.

3. QB Terrence Broadway, Soph. Louisiana-Lafayette – One of the Sun Belt's best new stars, the sophomore has bombed away with several big passing days while also taking off for two 100-yard days in the last three. He's worth the price of admission.

Gut-Reaction Pick That Might Change In The Next Few Days On A Whim: Louisiana-Lafayette 31 … East Carolina 27

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19. Military

Bowling Green vs. San Jose State
Washington, DC RFK Stadium
Dec. 27, 3:00 pm, ESPN

Three Reasons Why You Have To Watch This Bowl

1. This matchup might not seem sexy, but it should be a fantastic game. Bowling Green has the MAC's best defense ranking seventh in the nation in yards allowed and ninth in points allowed. San Jose State's passing game is loaded ranking second in the nation in efficiency.

2. Both teams can bring the house. The Spartans have a few elite pass rushers who help lead the way to the nation's fifth best defense at getting to the quarterback, while the Falcons are ninth in the country at hitting the passer.

3. Motivation will hardly be a problem. San Jose State's last bowl game was in 2006 and has gone to just one post-season game since 1990. Bowling Green has dabbled in bowls over the last few years, but have only eight appearances all-time and have lost their last two.

And Why You Shouldn't Care A Lick: This might be the least-attended bowl game of the entire season. Bowling Green only averages around 15,600 fans per game, while San Jose State packs the house with fewer than 11,000 fans per outing – and that's for home games.

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1. TE Ryan Otten, Sr. San Jose State – The senior has all the skills and tools to have a long and productive NFL career. A solid pass catcher, he's the go-to target with nice hands and the ability to stretch the field a bit.

2. DT Chris Jones, Sr. Bowling Green – One of the nation's best interior pass rushers, the senior has cranked out 12.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. Lightning quick, he'll have to collapse the pocket time and again to slow down the Spartan passing game.

3. QB David Fales, Jr. San Jose State – The winner of a big quarterback battle this offseason, he stepped up and took the job by the horns throwing for 3,798 yards and 31 touchdowns with just nine picks. Third in the nation in efficiency, eh has been read hot over the second half of the season.

Gut-Reaction Pick That Might Change In The Next Few Days On A Whim: San Jose State 24 … Bowling Green 20

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18. Allstate Sugar

Florida vs. Louisville
January 2nd, 8:30 pm, ESPN
New Orleans, LA Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Three Reasons Why You Have To Watch This Bowl

1. Florida's offense just isn't explosive enough to come out and dominate for a full sixty minutes. Louisville's defense doesn't give up much of anything through the air, and it's going to know exactly what the Gators are going to do – run and run some more.

2. This is a big chance for Florida to finish No. 2. With a blowout win over the Cardinals, there's a great chance at 12-1, with wins over Texas A&M, South Carolina and LSU, that the Gators close out the year impressively.

3. The Cardinals can pull the us-against-the-world attitude. Few really wanted to see them play Florida State in the Orange Bowl, and everyone wanted Oklahoma to end up in New Orleans, but head coach Charlie Strong will have his team fired up and ready to go.

And Why You Shouldn't Care A Lick: If Florida comes into the game fully-focused and wanting to make a statement, there won't be much Louisville can do. An amped up Gator defense could shut down the Cardinals cold.

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1. S Matt Elam, Jr. Florida – The state might not be eye-opening, and he only has four picks, but he's the leader and the star defensive back of a secondary that leads the nation in pass efficiency D. His forced fumble against LSU was one of the SEC players of the year.

2. QB Teddy Bridgewater, Soph. Louisville – He came up with a heroic performance to get the Cardinals into the BCS, completing 20-of-28 passes coming off the bench against Rutgers. Despite playing with an injured arm and on one leg, he gutted out the win. If UofL wins, it will be because he was the star in what could be his coming out performance.

3. P Kyle Christy, Soph. Florida – It might not seem all that exciting to get fired up about a punter, but Christy is a key part of the puzzle. Not only does he average 46 yards per kick, but he's great at bailing the team out of a jam and pinning the offense deep.

Gut-Reaction Pick That Might Change In The Next Few Days On A Whim: Florida 34 … Louisville 10

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17. Famous Idaho Potato

Utah State vs. Toledo   
Boise, ID Bronco Stadium,
Dec. 15, 4:30 pm, ESPN

Three Reasons Why You Have To Watch This Bowl

1. Don't sleep on this matchup. It might not seem all that exciting with a MAC also-ran vs. the WAC champion, but these are two very good, very sound teams that came extremely close to doing special things. The Rockets three losses were all by a touchdown or less including an overtime defeat against Arizona and a 31-24 battle at Northern Illinois. Utah State missed a chip shot of a field goal against Wisconsin and lost to BYU 6-
3. That's it.

2. The Aggies are known a bit nationally for their offense, but they're loaded on defense this season allowing 20 points of fewer in every game but two, helped mostly from a pass rush that's great at destroying opposing backfield. Led by Gary Andersen, this is one of the best coached teams in college football.

3. Teams get into this bowl game, and it has shown over the years with six of the last eight decided by a touchdown or less, including a brilliant Idaho win over Bowling Green in 2009 and last year's fun Ohio win over Utah State.

And Why You Shouldn't Care A Lick: Toledo has been a bit of a dud in bowls. Granted, the program has only gone bowling four times since 2002, but it has lost three of the last four in blowouts including a tough performance in 2010 Little Caesar's loss to FIU. Utah State is much, much better on both sides of the ball.

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1. QB Chuckie Keeton, Soph. Utah State – He started out his career being known as a strong runner, but he has grown into an elite passer. While he has thrown a few too many picks lately, 300 yards and multiple touchdown passes are the norm.

2. WR Bernard Reedy, Jr. Toledo – When he's on, there are few more unstoppable receivers with four games with ten grabs or more finishing with 82 catches for 1,051 yards and six scores. He's also an elite kick and punt returner, taking three returns back for scores.

3. RB Kerwynn Williams, Sr. Utah State – Overshadowed in the past by other great Aggie runners, this has been his year to shine tearing off 1,277 yards and 12 touchdowns while catching 43 passes for 665 yards and five scores.

Gut-Reaction Pick That Might Change In The Next Few Days On A Whim: Utah State 40 … Toledo 23

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16. GoDaddy.com

Arkansas State vs. Kent State
Mobile, AL Ladd-Peebles Stadium
Jan. 6, 9:00 pm, ESPN
Three Reasons Why You Have To Watch This Bowl

1. This could be the best matchup of non-BCS teams. Kent State came within a heartbeat of being in the Orange Bowl to face Florida State, while Arkansas State has come up with a special Sun Belt season winning the title thanks to a seven-game winning streak.

2. 1972 Tangerine Bowl. Tampa 21, Kent State 18. That's it. That's the entirety of the bowling experience over the history of the Kent State program. This team might not have finished the drill in the MAC championship, and it might not have gotten into the BCS, but it has been a special year with the chance to close it out in amazing fashion. 12-2 with a bowl win would make this team legendary.

3. Don't blink or you might miss two of the hottest coaches in college football before they're off to bigger and better things. Kent State's Darrell Hazell is getting big interviews, while Arkansas State's Gus Malzahn is destined for an SEC head coaching job in the near future. These are two of the brightest minds in the game.

And Why You Shouldn't Care A Lick: In 2010, Central Michigan and Troy put on a show with one of the best games of the entire lot – a thrilling 44-41 double-overtime win by the Chippewas. Other than that, and a historic win by Marshall over East Carolina in 2001, the GoDaddy/GMAC has mostly been a miserable dud including last year's 38-20 Northern Illinois win over Arkansas State. Eight of the last nine games have been disasters.

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1. RB Dri Archer, Jr. Kent State – The real shame about the Golden Flashes not getting into the BCS was Archer not getting a bigger national spotlight. With 1,352 yards 15 touchdowns, and three kickoff returns for scores and four receiving touchdowns, he's one of the nation's best all-around backs.

2. QB Ryan Aplin, Sr. Arkansas State – With 23 touchdown passes and just four interceptions, Aplin has had no problems adjusting to Malzahn's attack. He might not be running quite as much, but he has cut way down on his picks.

3. DE Roosevelt Nix, Jr. Kent State – His last two seasons have been a tad underwhelming after starting out like a house on fire as a freshman, but he is still one of the MAC's elite pass rushers and top disruptive forces. He's strong against the run, too.

Gut-Reaction Pick That Might Change In The Next Few Days On A Whim: Kent State 35 … Arkansas State 27

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