Tuesday Question - The Best Lower Bowls
Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick
Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick
Posted Dec 8, 2009

What are the under-the-radar bowls you want to see? The CFNers give their thoughts in the latest Tuesday Question.

Tuesday Question ... Dec. 8
The under-the-radar bowls you want to see

Tuesday Questions
12/1 Firing Bobby Bowden
11/24 Who's better, the SEC or the Pac 10?
11/17 If one of the top three falls ...
11/10 Should Weis be fired?
11/3 Is Iowa for real?
10/27 Boise State or TCU in the BCS?
10/20 Is Weis on a hot seat?
10/13 Midseason Awards
10/6 The big flops
- 9/29 Who's No. 4?
- 9/22 What's next for USC?
- 9/15 The Young QB You Want
- 9/8 Are Michigan & ND back?
- 9/1 Pick the winners
Pete Fiutak

Q: What under-the-radar bowls are you interested in?

A: I'm a strength in numbers guy. There are 34 bowls, half of them will be duds, ten will be decent, and five will be thrilling, and two will be fantastic. All I ask out of the lesser bowls are 1) entertainment, 2) effort, 3) to still care in the fourth quarter. That and lots and lots of offense. Save the defense for the BCS.

Bell Helicopters Armed Forces Bowl - Houston vs. Air Force
The Cougars will throw for 500 yards, Air Force will run for 350 yards, and it'll be entertaining from start to finish. Case Keenum will want to show everyone that he deserved to be sent to New York for Heisman weekend.

Champs Sports Bowl - Miami vs. Wisconsin
These are two young teams that should be high up in the 2010 top 25. This might be Miami's announcement that its time to be among the elite again very, very soon, or it could be a huge moment for the Big Ten and a Wisconsin team in desperate need of a win against a good team.

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl - Nevada vs. SMU
I don't think SMU will do much of anything, but Nevada's running game, when its humming, is more fun than anything in college football outside of the Georgia Tech option. The Pack will run for over 500 yards; it'll be a show.

Brut Sun Bowl - Oklahoma vs. Stanford
If Toby Gerhart can run for 150 yards on the OU D, I'll ask if I can change my Heisman vote. I want to see if the Sooners decide to show up.

GMAC Bowl - Central Michigan vs. Troy
Outside of the BCS Championship, the Rose, and the Fiesta, this is the only game between two conference champions. It might be the best of the three with Dan LeFevour and CMU bombing away against Troy and Levi Brown. I want over 1,000 yards of total offense.

Richard Cirminiello 

Q: What under-the-radar bowls are you interested in?

A: 3. The Hawaii Bowl (Nevada vs. SMU) – With more storylines than your average December bowl game, the Hawaii Bowl features June Jones' return to the islands and SMU's long-awaited return to the postseason. Oh, yeah, the Mustangs and Wolf Pack will also combine for about 100 points in a traditionally wild Christmas Eve treat.

2. Outback Bowl (Northwestern vs. Auburn) – I might be alone on this one, but I'm in awe of what Pat Fitzgerald has done in Evanston over the last two seasons. Motivation often determines how entertaining a bowl game will be, and this opportunity to play on New Year's Day will be a big deal for the Wildcats and the Tigers. And it'll show in the intensity on the field.

1. Champs Sports Bowl (Miami vs. Wisconsin) – If we're not talking BCS bowl game, most of these postseason events are about laying the groundwork for next season. With that in mind, you might want to pay close attention to the Hurricanes and Badgers on Dec. 29 because both are young, ranked, and capable of winning conference championships a year from now.

Matt Zemek

Q: What under-the-radar bowls are you interested in?

A: Since Toby Gerhart and Stanford - up against defense-rich Oklahoma in the Sun Bowl - will not be under the radar, a true choice for a low-key classic lies in the GMAC Bowl, as Dan LeFevour and Levi Brown could very well play "first one to eight touchdowns wins" in the Central Michigan-Troy shootout. Last year's GMAC Bowl between Nate Davis of Ball State and David Johnson of Tulsa didn't materialize, but that was partly due to lousy weather. This year, one hopes that the weather in Mobile, Ala., will cooperate in what should be a highly entertaining contest.

Another bowl that might sneak up on people is the Texas Bowl. Contrasts in styles still exist in the college game, unlike the NFL, and when Missouri puts its passing game against Navy's triple option, you'll see two distinctly different approaches to pigskin propulsion. Tigers-Midshipmen is a football connoisseur's treat.

Finally, it's also worth looking at Oregon State - essentially (though not technically) the second-place team in a deep Pac-10 Conference - playing 10-2 BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl. Yes, it's the fifth straight Vegas trip for BYU (!), but if the Cougars are excited about the game, they should engage in a dandy with Mike Riley's Beavers. This matchup won't receive much publicity because it's before Christmas Day, but Beavers-Cougars represents an early gift to unwrap in this ever-expanding bowl season.

Michael Bradley

Q: What under-the-radar bowls are you interested in?

A: If, as the BCS tells us, the Alabama-Texas game is the main course of the post-season feast, then everything leading up to it is an appetizer. Now, there is a difference in the pre-entrée hierarchy between pigs in a blanket (The Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl) and Oysters Rockefeller (The Rose Bowl), although those tiny cocktail wieners are pretty darn good, and there are some bowls that are tastier than others. Among them:

The Meineke Car Care Bowl pits a pair of teams that need to rebound from ugly season-enders. Pitt collapsed twice in a row, losing to West Virginia and Cincinnati in horrifyingly dramatic fashion, while UNC's four-game winning streak and dreams of a 10-win season deteriorated in a loss to North Carolina State in the finale.
If you ever argued with someone about which was the best way to get to the same destination, then the Armed Forces Bowl is for you. Houston prefers to throw it. Air Force likes to run it, and both are capable of putting up some big numbers. Bet the over and prepare to argue whether its better to travel by air or ground.

Don't expect an explosion of points in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, since both Virginia Tech and Tennessee have lived by defense throughout the year. The difference is that the Hokies closed the season allowing just 35 points in their final four games, while UT had some shaky moments down the stretch. Still, this one shouldn't appeal to fans of big numbers.

Neither LSU nor Penn State figured to be playing in Mousetown six weeks ago, but by losing key games, they lost their BCS mojo and will bring big-time pedigrees to the Capital One Bowl. It will be interesting to see if PSU's inexperienced offensive front can handle LSU's speed and pressure and if the Tiger offense can be consistent.

The Cotton Bowl has a rematch – from 2004 – between OK State and Mississippi, both of which expected to be playing in much shinier post-season games back in the late summer. Both lost big rivalry games to close the season and will be playing to erase the stench of those failures. The Rebels will try to slow the Cowboys' potent attack, and OSU has to match Mississippi's physical mindset. Of course, if Houston Nutt goes to Kansas, the storyline changes dramatically.