Ranking The 2012-2013 Bowls

Posted Dec 5, 2012

Before they start, the ranking of all the bowls from No. 1 to 35

2012-2013 Bowl Matchups

The Can't Miss 

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The 2012-2013 Pre-Bowl Rankings
- The Can't Miss - The Top 5  
- The Excellent - No. 6 to No. 10 
- 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  

5. Hyundai Sun

Georgia Tech vs. USC
El Paso, TX Sun Bowl
Dec. 31, 2:00 pm, CBS

Three Reasons Why You Have To Watch This Bowl

1. USC can't tackle + Georgia Tech running game should = a whole bunch of fun. The Yellow Jackets don't run like Oregon – they don't have the same speed and flash – but they have the ability and the potential put up big yards and lots of points in chunks. For a minor bowl game like this, the hope is for a shootout like the wild 62-51 Oregon win over USC or the 68-50 Georgia Tech win over North Carolina.

2. No, USC can't tackle, but Georgia Tech doesn't exactly have the tightest of defenses. With time to prepare, and a bowl game to go to, USC should be able to put it all together offensively to make this and up-and-down blast of a game.

3. It's Matt Barkley's final game as a collegian. He has more than paid his dues and he deserves to go out with a good game. He took his lumps this season, and he wasn't the Heisman star everyone assumed he'd be, but he has conducted himself with the utmost class through all the craziness.

And Why You Shouldn't Care A Lick: 0-7. After going 8-of-11 from 1985 to 2004 in bowl games, Georgia Tech has lost its last seven games in a variety of ways. There was a blowout against LSU in the 2008 Chick-fil-A, and there were the duds against Air Force in the 2010 Independence and against Fresno State in the 2007 Humanitarian. When teams get time to prepare for the Paul Johnson option offense, they can usually figure it out.

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1. WR Marqise Lee, Soph. USC – He didn't get the invite to New York, but his 112-catch, 1,680-yard, 14 touchdown season puts him front-and-center on the list of 2013 preseason candidates. He was held in check by Notre Dame, but he should blow up against a mediocre Georgia Tech secondary.

2. QB Tevin Washington, Sr. Georgia Tech – The Yellow Jackets occasionally go with Vad Lee and look to get the hot hand rolling, but Washington has been the main man for the offense when it gets rolling. He has 19 rushing scores and needs to be a star in his final game.

3. S T.J. McDonald, Sr. USC - Tackling has been an issue for the Trojan defense all season long, and McDonald has had his issues, but he has also made his share of big plays in the secondary with 99 stops with two picks. He's a blasted of a hitter, but he also bounces off too many ball-carriers.

Gut-Reaction Pick That Might Change In The Next Few Days On A Whim: USC 41 … Georgia Tech 34

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4.Bridgepoint Education Holiday

UCLA vs. Baylor
San Diego, CA Qualcomm Stadium
Dec. 27, 9:45 pm, ESPN

Three Reasons Why You Have To Watch This Bowl

1. Baylor 67, Washington 56. That was last year's Alamo in one of the wildest bowl games of all-time. Granted, there was no defense, but the two offenses had a lot to do with the problems. Baylor's attack is every bit as dangerous as it was when RG3 was under center, and UCLA is 20th in the nation in total offense and can make this a wild shootout.

2. This could be a statement game for Jim Mora to close out his first season. Coaches get labeled by how their teams perform in the big games and how they do in bowl games. The Pac-12 South champion has played well throughout the season, but the pressure is on to get a tenth win. The Bruins should play hard.

3. Again, the offenses. It really is all about the numbers, and Baylor should do its part after scoring 145 points in the last three games, while UCLA had a fun three game stretch not all that long ago scoring 145 points, too. Baylor's defense still stinks, and it's going to have to bomb away to make up for it.

And Why You Shouldn't Care A Lick: The Holiday Bowl used to be among the games that could be counted on each and every year to be excellent, but it's been awful for a long, long time. Oklahoma's 17-14 win over Oregon in 2005 was the lone interesting game since 2004, with seven of the last eight games decided by 11 points or more.

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1. QB Nick Florence, Sr. Baylor – He leads the nation in total offense, he beat the No. 1 Kansas State Wildcats and he has taken his team to a bowl game. Was he in the Heisman hunt? Nope.

2. RB Johnathan Franklin, Sr. UCLA – The Bruin senior had a decent career, and then he blew up under Mora as the workhorse for the attack with more than 100 carries than last year. With 1,700 yards and 13 touchdowns, and 32 catches, he's an elite back who should be a lock for his tenth 100-yard game of the season.

3. RB Lache Seastrunk, Soph. Baylor – The nation's hottest back has rushed for 693 yards and five touchdowns over the last five games. He'll be a marked man, but there are too many weapons on the Bear offense to keep him under wraps.

Gut-Reaction Pick That Might Change In The Next Few Days On A Whim: UCLA 45 … Baylor 38

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3. AT&T Cotton

Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M
Arlington, TX Cowboys Stadium
Jan. 4, 8:00 pm, FOX

Three Reasons Why You Have To Watch This Bowl

1. The old Big 12 South foes meet again, but under different circumstances. This isn't your 2011 Texas A&M Aggies; this team is more explosive under head coach Kevin Sumlin with more swagger and more efficiency. Winning ten games and beating Alabama made this a special season, but beating Oklahoma in a BCS-like game would make it an even more special season.

2. Johnny Manziel has, of course, also made this a great year. The redshirt freshman took the SEC by storm and set the conference record for total offense, and now with all the Heisman attention, he has become the marquee name of the bowl season. Everyone wants to see Johnny Football do his thing on the big stage, and getting to play in the Cotton Bowl makes it even more special.

3. Oklahoma might be mad about not getting a BCS invite, but playing Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl is more fun than going to the Sugar to deal with Florida. Granted, a win over the Gators would do far more for the season as a whole, but beating an SEC that just so happens to be from Texas would also be really, really sweet.

And Why You Shouldn't Care A Lick: The Cotton Bowl has been a disaster because the Big 12 hasn't been able to pull its weight. Oklahoma hasn't exactly come up big in the spotlight games – Texas sort of counts, though – losing to Kansas State and Notre Dame at home, but now it has to buck the recent trend. Not only has the Big 12 lost eight of the last nine games, but it has been blown out in the last four. The last five Cotton Bowls have been decided by 13 points or more.

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1. DE Damontre Moore, Jr. Texas A&M – Manziel is getting all the hype, but Moore is having almost as good a year from the defensive side with 12.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss. He leads an aggressive defensive front that's terrific at getting to the quarterback.

2. RB Damien Williams, Jr. Oklahoma – The passing game will always butter the bread at OU, but Williams has added more pop to the ground game with 92 yards or more in three of the last four games. Coming off a strong 115-yard day against TCU, he's helping to balance out the attack.

3. OT Luke Joeckel, Jr. & OT Jake Matthews, Jr. Texas A&M – Part of the reason Manziel has come up with his historic season is because of a line that's among the best in college football. Joeckel is an athletic left tackle and Matthews is a terrific blocker on the right side; both are going to have very long, very strong pro careers.

Gut-Reaction Pick That Might Change In The Next Few Days On A Whim: Texas A&M 45 … Oklahoma 41

2.Discover BCS National Championship

Notre Dame vs. Alabama
January 7th, 8:30pm, ESPN
Miami Gardens, FL Sun Life Stadium

Three Reasons Why You Have To Watch This Bowl

1. It's Notre Dame vs. the SEC champion who's going for a second straight BCS championship and a third in four years. If you need two more reasons, you're not going to watch this game. You might be the only one – this should be the highest-rated college football game of the BCS era.

2. It's a battle of two of the nation's elite defenses playing on the game's biggest stage. Alabama leads the nation in total defense and is No. 1 against the run, while Notre Dame lead the nation in scoring defense allowing a mere 10.33 points per game. Only on team – Pitt – has scored more than 17 points on the Irish defense, and that game went into triple overtime.

3. The SEC is going for its seventh straight national title, while Notre Dame is trying to get its first since 1988. Considering the two coaching staffs and the respective styles of play – there isn't anything too fancy happening for either side – this should be a bruising, old-school fight that comes down to who can run the best. It should be as tough and as hard hitting a battle as any game this season.

And Why You Shouldn't Care A Lick: With over six weeks to get ready, Alabama could be a machine and there might not be anything the Irish can do about it. The Tide offense leads the nation in passing efficiency, while the Irish don't come up with too many deep passing plays. The SEC has won six straight national titles, and Nick Saban is Nick Saban, for a reason.

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1. WR Amari Cooper, Fr. Alabama – The Tide receiving corps was hit hard by injuries, but the super-frosh has grown up in a hurry with three 100-yard games in the last four including an eight-catch, 128-yard, one game-winning score day in the SEC championship.

2. DE Stephon Tuitt, Soph. Notre Dame – LB Manti Te'o is the Heisman-caliber star of the defense, but an argument could be made that Tuitt, with his 12 sacks, has been every bit as valuable.

3. LT Cyrus Kouandijo, Soph.; LG Chance Warmack, Sr.; C Barrett Jones, Sr.; RG Anthony Seen, Jr.; RT D.J. Fluker, Jr. Alabama - This is the best unit on the field and the best offensive line in the nation with five future NFL starters.

Gut-Reaction Pick That Might Change In The Next Few Days On A Whim: Alabama 23 … Notre Dame 13

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1. New Era Pinstripe

West Virginia vs. Syracuse
Bronx, NY Yankee Stadium
Dec. 29, 3:15 pm, ESPN or ESPN2
Three Reasons Why You Have To Watch This Bowl

1. Let Notre Dame and Alabama slug it out in a fierce, physical defensive battle with gripping drama and lots of nail-biting. When it comes to the other bowls, it's all about fun and it's all about wild haymakers thrown by both sides. The two former Big East foes should put on a show – as long as they're not playing in a driving snowstorm. The two teams might put up 800 passing yards and blow past 80 points.

2. It's a big moment for the ACC. The Big East has been a punching bag, losing teams left and right, and next year the ACC is welcoming in Syracuse. With West Virginia leaving the Big East for the Big 12 last season, and after Clemson got whacked in the Orange Bowl, it would be nice if Syracuse can pick up the slack. The ACC needs as many wins as it can get, and it'll count the new guy's victory if it can get it. The last time Syracuse went to a bowl, it played one of the best games of the 2010 post-season with a wild 36-34 victory over Kansas State in the Pinstripe. This is the program's fourth bowl appearance since 1999.

3. 70-33. The last time Dana Holgorsen and West Virginia had time to prepare for a bowl game, it came up with a jaw-dropper against Clemson. Even with all the problems and all of the issues this season, the Mountaineer offense still worked, rolling for 34 points or more over the final five games and averaging 41.6 points per game. Holgorsen will pull out all the stops.

And Why You Shouldn't Care A Lick: There's a chance that one team gets hot and the other stinks it up. West Virginia isn't above coming up with a clunker, while Syracuse might not have the ability to keep up if the Mountaineers go off like they did against Clemson. Shootouts are fun, but not if it's a blowout from the start.

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1. QB Geno Smith, Sr. West Virginia – Everyone's midseason Heisman winner fell off the map after two blowout losses, but he still finished the season bombing away for 40 touchdowns, 4,004 yards and six interceptions. The spotlight is on to possibly be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft.

2. QB Ryan Nassib, Sr. Syracuse – He's not the pro prospect that Smith is, but he might go in the first round and will almost certainly will go in the top 50. The senior has bombed away for 24 touchdown passes with just one pick over the last six games.

3. WR Stedman Bailey, Jr. West Virginia – Bailey and Tavon Austin have come up with gigantic seasons in the Holgorsen offense, but with Austin turning into more of a runner, Bailey has stepped up as a receiver with 45 catches and eight scores over the last four games including two 200-yard days.

Gut-Reaction Pick That Might Change In The Next Few Days On A Whim: West Virginia 48 … Syracuse 45

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