Ranking The 2012-2013 Bowls - The Excellent
LSU LB Kevin Minter
LSU LB Kevin Minter
Posted Dec 8, 2012

Before they start, the ranking of the bowls - No. 6 to 10

2012-2013 Bowl Matchups

The Excellent 

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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  

10. Chick-fil-A

Clemson vs. LSU
Atlanta, GA Georgia Dome
Dec. 31, 7:30 pm, ESPN

Three Reasons Why You Have To Watch This Bowl

1. No team needs a really, really big bowl performance more than Clemson. The Tigers have put together two nice seasons, but no one seems to care too much because of the awful losses. Getting blown out by South Carolina to close out the regular season ruined all the fun of winning ten of the first 11 games, and no one remembers that last year’s team won the ACC title, mainly because it was obliterated by West Virginia in the Orange Bowl.

2. A reasonable case could be made that this could be a BCS bowl matchup. At 10-2, Clemson was worthy of at least being in the discussion, while LSU was deserving of one of the big games. The SEC Tigers were one A.J. McCarron drive away from probably playing for the national title.

3. Death Valley vs. Death Valley. The ACC could use something happy, but more than that, Clemson needs a big, splashy victory and the right to hold the claim to have the real and true Death Valley. LSU has won five its last seven games with one of the losses coming in the BCS championship last season and the other in a 19-17 loss to Penn State in the 2009 Capital One.

And Why You Shouldn’t Care A Lick: It’s amazing how often the last game of the year has turned out to be so awful. Since 1999, nine of the last 13 games have been blowouts including last year’s 42-23 blasting from Auburn – yes, that Auburn.

Three Names To Drop To Make Every Man Want You And Every Woman Fear You

1. QB Tajh Boyd, Jr. Clemson – If it weren’t for the 13 interceptions and the losses to Florida State and South Carolina, he’d probably be in New York as a Heisman finalist. He has thrown for 3,550 yards and 34 touchdowns while running for nine scores.

2. LB Kevin Minter, Jr. LSU – On a team full of defensive stars, he has been the biggest and best producer with 111 tackles on the year including 20 against Florida and ten against Arkansas.

3. WR Sammy Watkins, Soph. Clemson – DeAndre Hopkins was hot early, but Watkins has become Watkins again over the second half of the season, helped by 11 catches for 110 yards and a score against NC State.

Gut-Reaction Pick That Might Change In The Next Few Days On A Whim: LSU 31 … Clemson 17

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9. Discover Orange

Florida State vs. Northern Illinois 
January 1st, 8:30 pm, ESPN
Miami Gardens, FL Sun Life Stadium

Three Reasons Why You Have To Watch This Bowl

1. Admit it; now you’re going to watch. Florida State vs. Louisville would’ve brought about as many viewers as a rerun of Cop Rock, but now this has become the novelty game. Can a team from the MAC pull off the shocker? The Huskies have had three straight great seasons with two conference championships. The program is due to show what it can do on a national stage.

2. The Huskie offense is worth the price of admission averaging a nearly-perfect balance of 250 rushing yards and 236 through the air per game. With an aggressive defense an unstoppable offense, the team is ready.

3. It’s still the Orange Bowl and Florida State still has to come up with the win. The defense ranks second in the nation, but if NIU gets hot and pulls off the shocker, this would be a disaster for the ACC, and the Seminoles are coming into the game knowing that. It’s possible that they bring their A game.

And Why You Shouldn’t Care A Lick: With an interim head coach to go along with a ten-mile wide talent gap, Northern Illinois could get destroyed in painful fashion of Florida State shows up with an angry attitude. The Orange Bowl has been miserable over the last four years with four straight blowouts.

Three Names To Drop To Make Every Man Want You And Every Woman Fear You

1. QB E.J. Manuel, Sr. Florida State – He never grew into the superstar many expected he’d be, but he has all the NFL tools to make the scouts drool. This is his one final shot to make a push after an underwhelming regular season.

2. QB Jordan Lynch, Jr. Northern Illinois – A fringe Heisman candidate, he ran for 1,771 yards and 19 touchdowns, a record for a quarterback. He also threw for 2,962 yards and 24 touchdowns with just five picks.

3. DE Bjoern Werner, Jr. Florida State – Combining with fellow end Cornellius Carradine, Werner is an elite pass rusher with the full package of strength and speed. He has 13 sacks on the year with 3.5 against Florida.

Gut-Reaction Pick That Might Change In The Next Few Days On A Whim: Florida State 38 … Northern Illinois 13

8. Outback

Michigan vs. South Carolina
Tampa, FL Raymond James Stadium
Jan. 1, 1:00 pm

Three Reasons Why You Have To Watch This Bowl

1. Is it time for Michigan to grow up and become a real, live superpower again? Yeah, yeah, yeah, it won the Sugar Bowl last season, but it didn’t look all that great doing it and it was against Virginia Tech from the ACC. Winning this would be a bigger statement to cap off an uneven year that started out getting obliterated by Alabama and ending in the regular season with a loss to Ohio State. Beating an SEC team would do wonders for the offseason.

2. South Carolina has fought through the injury to Marcus Lattimore and the blowout loss to Florida to go 10-2 with the potential to finish with one of the greatest seasons in school history. Last year the Gamecocks blasted Nebraska in the Capital One, and a win over another Big Ten team on New Year’s Day would set the tone for what should be a big 2013.

3. Defense, defense, defense. Michigan is 12th in the nation in total defense and South Carolina is 13th. Both teams are outstanding against the pass, but the real fun will be the Gamecock defensive front against the terrific Wolverine offensive line.

And Why You Shouldn’t Care A Lick: Michigan has not exactly been the prettiest bowl watch over the years. Outside of an inspired effort to beat Florida in the 2008 Capital One, the Sugar Bowl last season was ugly and memories of the 52-14 loss to Mississippi State in the 2011 Gator are still a bit too fresh. The Wolverines have won two of the last three bowls, but before that they went on a four game losing streak.

Three Names To Drop To Make Every Man Want You And Every Woman Fear You

1. QB Devin Gardner, Jr. Michigan – Denard Robinson will get the spotlight in his final game, but this will be Gardner’s offense to run next season. He has been brilliant since taking over in November, highlighted by a 314-yard, three score day – and with three rushing touchdowns – in the win over Iowa.

2. DE Jadeveon Clowney, Soph. South Carolina – Yes, he really is that good. Second in the nation in sacks, he’s the ultimate disruptive force coming off the edge and has to be accounted for on every play.

3. LB Jake Ryan, Soph. Michigan – In a game full of terrific defenders, Ryan still stands out as both a pass rusher and a run defender. He’ll be all over the field.

Gut-Reaction Pick That Might Change In The Next Few Days On A Whim: South Carolina 24 … Michigan 14

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7. Capital One

Georgia vs. Nebraska 
Orlando, FL Florida Citrus Bowl
Jan. 1, 1:00 pm

Three Reasons Why You Have To Watch This Bowl

1. The Bulldogs were a tipped pass – or maybe spike – away from playing for the national championship. However, the tag still applies that Mark Richt can’t win the really, really big one, and while the Capital One doesn’t necessarily count as much as the SEC championship, a loss, especially after losing in triple-overtime in last year’s Outback, won’t sit well. Nebraska just got blown out by Wisconsin – the Dawgs can’t lose this game.

2. Nebraska has a little something to prove. Not only did it get destroyed in the Capital One last year, but all the fun of this season went bye-bye as Wisconsin ran up and down the field in a 70-31 embarrassment of a Big Ten championship. Georgia has only one great win this season – the ugly performance against Florida – the Huskers can’t lose this game.

3. Before the disaster in Indianapolis, Nebraska couldn’t seem to play a boring game. Time and again, the Huskers managed to pull wins out of the fire. Meanwhile, Georgia showed against Alabama that it deserved an even bigger bowl slot. These two are entertaining.

And Why You Shouldn’t Care A Lick: The last two Capital One games have hardly been scintillating. South Carolina beat up Nebraska 30-13 last year, and Alabama beat Michigan State the year before in one of the ugliest big bowl games in a long, long time. If Georgia plays up to its capabilities, this might be a thirds straight uggo.

Three Names To Drop To Make Every Man Want You And Every Woman Fear You

1. RB Todd Gurley, Fr. Georgia – With the way Wisconsin ran up and down the field on the Huskers, Gurley and running mate Keith Marshall have to be licking their chops. Gurley is the stronger of the two with 122 yards and two scores against Alabama, finishing with 1,260 yards and 16 scores.

2. QB Taylor Martinez, Jr. Nebraska – All the great strides he made this year blew up in smoke with the loss to Wisconsin. However, he came up with one of the greatest touchdown runs of all-time, and now he’s just 27 yards away from a 1,000-yard season.

3. LB Jarvis Jones, Jr. Georgia – The nation’s leader in tackles for loss, the junior came up with two sacks and a few big plays in the SEC championship, but he also whiffed on a few key running plays.

Gut-Reaction Pick That Might Change In The Next Few Days On A Whim: Georgia 34 … Nebraska 16

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6. Tostitos Fiesta

Kansas State at Oregon
January 3rd, 8:30 pm, ESPN
Glendale, AZ Univ. of Phoenix Stadium
Three Reasons Why You Have To Watch This Bowl
1. It’s the alternative national championship. Before Oregon lost to Stanford and Kansas State lost to Baylor within minutes of each other on November 17th, these two were on a collision course for the BCS championship. Helped by the great coaching matchup of Chip Kelly vs. Bill Snyder, a case could be made that this might be the best of all BCS matchups.

2. Each team can light up the stat sheet. The Ducks are as fun and as explosive as anyone in college football, averaging close to 51 points per game only because they took their foot off the gas in several games – they could’ve hunt at least 80 on the board in several games. The ground game is third in the nation, while Kansas State averages 198 yards per game and is averaging 41 points per game.

3. The Fiesta is almost always worth the price of admission. Three of the last four and four of the last six have been decided by a touchdown or less highlighted by two overtime classics – last years’ 41-38 Oklahoma State win over Stanford and the Boise State win over Oklahoma in 2007.

And Why You Shouldn’t Care A Lick: There’s a chance Oregon comes out and blows the doors off the Wildcats. Kansas State is a tough, hard-nosed team that’s all about ball control, while the Ducks can blink and put 21 up on the board.

Three Names To Drop To Make Every Man Want You And Every Woman Fear You

1. RB John Hubert, Jr. Kansas State – Collin Klein is a special quarterback who’s looking to make a splash in his final game, but it’s Hubert who needs to balance things out. He has rushed for 892 yards and three scores on the season.

2. QB Marcus Mariota, Soph. Oregon – He’ll be overshadowed by Klein, but he has had just as strong a season throwing 30 touchdown passes with just six picks, while running for 690yards and four scores.

3. LB Arthur Brown, Sr. Kansas State – The overall stats might not be all that great, but he’s the unquestioned heart-and-soul of a tough defense. He needs to have a huge game.

Gut-Reaction Pick That Might Change In The Next Few Days On A Whim: Oregon 45 … Kansas State 30

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