Ranking the 2014-15 Bowl Games

We rank the 2014-15 bowl games from best to worst, 1-38...

First, admit it. There is no such thing as too many bowl games. You'll watch as many as you can. You'll try to watch them all, even if it isn't an appealing game. On January 13th, there is no more college football for eight more months. So you'll watch all the bowl games.

But we're here to help you prioritize which ones you clear the entire calendar for to the ones you'll watch out of the corner of your eye at a holiday party.

Here are Scout's rankings of the 2014-15 College Football bowls.

1. Rose Bowl: Florida State vs. Oregon
The 2013 Heisman Trophy Winner against the likely 2014 Heisman Trophy Winner. South vs. West. Mariota-Winston. Fisher-Helfrich. The National Semifinal. We could go on and on, but this is the juiciest matchup of the bowl season.

2. Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Ohio State
The last two times Urban Meyer and Nick Saban met in the postseason, the winner would go on to win the BCS National Championship in their next game. While Meyer's changed schools and conference's, the result for the winner will be, you guessed it, a shot at the national championship. Two of the best players in all of college football, Alabama receiver Amari Cooper and Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa, headline this doozy.

3. Cotton Bowl: Baylor vs. Michigan State
Two teams who played in BCS bowls a year ago (and had their season's ruined by Ohio State this year) are back in New Year's Six bowls this year. You get the defense of Michigan State, Mark Dantonio's Rose Bowl Champs from last year, against the high-scoring offense of Art Briles' Baylor Bears.

4. Peach Bowl: Ole Miss vs. TCU
TCU thought they could be playing in the playoffs, but instead, after a 4-8 season, they settle for the Peach Bowl, which they're still pretty thrilled to be playing in. Ole Miss had their sights set on a bigger game earlier in the year before injuries derailed their season, but a Peach Bowl win after beating Mississippi State in their last game, would be a nice capper on the season.

5. Orange Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. Mississippi State
Two contrasting styles of offense, the option ground-game of the Yellowjackets against the spread of the Bulldogs collide in South Beach. It's the last game of the 2014 calendar year and it should be a good one.

6. Alamo Bowl: Kansas State vs. UCLA
The highest ranked combination of teams outside a New Years Six bowl features plenty of star power, Jake Waters and Tyler Lockett for the Wildcats, Brett Hundley and Eric Kendricks for the Bruins, in the Alamodome. Kansas State may have exceeded expectations this year while UCLA came up a bit short, but the winner will have a 10th win to carry into the offseason.

7. Fiesta Bowl: Arizona vs. Boise State
Boise State has won two previous Fiesta Bowl's, one in easily the bigget shocker in the BCS era while Arizona's last trip to the Fiesta Bowl was a shellacking of Miami after the 1993 season. Neither team probably expected to be here before the season, with the Broncos losing Chris Petersen (who engineered the two wins in Glendale) and Arizona losing all kinds of talent. The running of Jay Ajayi and Nick Wilson should make this a good one.

8. Outback Bowl: Auburn vs. Wisconsin
The first game of the calendar year in 2015 features last year's runner-up, Auburn, against this year's Big Ten runner-up, Wisconsin. Both defense's had less than stellar showings in their last outing, but both offenses can score points, Wisconsin riding star running back Melvin Gordon, in his final game, and Auburn going as quarterback Nick Marshall takes them.

9. Belk Bowl: Georgia vs. Louisville
Louisville defensive coordinator Todd Grantham left Georgia after last season, and several players have followed. The running game of Georgia, even without Todd Gurley, could present some problems for the Louisville defense, but the Cardinals' secondary, led by the nation's interception leader Gerod Holliman, is daring the Bulldogs to throw.

10. Holiday Bowl: Nebraska vs. USC
The Huskers will be without Bo Pelini and Mike Riley won't coach. That may be a good thing because for all his early success against the Trojans, Riley's last two matchups against USC, and Steve Sarkisian for that matter, haven't been pretty. It's the Trojans first ever trip to San Diego for this bowl.

11. Liberty Bowl: Texas A&M vs. West Virginia
We'll go ahead and set the over/under at infinity, with neither team playing a whole lot of defense, but both teams able to score a lot of points.

12. Music City Bowl: LSU vs. Notre Dame
Two teams who thought they would be playing in New Year's Six bowls instead are playing in Nashville, probably commiserating over each losing to Alabama in BCS National Championship games in recent years. LSU's defense likes to take the ball away, Notre Dame's offense likes to give it away. The question will be, is Les Miles still going to be on the Tigers sideline?

13. Citrus Bowl: Minnesota vs. Missouri
The biggest news is that the longtime bowl has its original name back, with Buffalo Wild Wings sponsoring it. These are two teams that probably didn't anticipate being in New Year's Day bowls but both are glad to be there and excited to be playing in Orlando. Two of the more underrated coaches in college football, Jerry Kill and Gary Pinkel, will tangle.

14. Texas Bowl: Arkansas vs. Texas
Typically we frown on bowls involving two 6-6 teams, but this one brings former SWC foes against each other in the Lone Star State. Two coaches who are still relatively early in their careers at their respective school, Bret Bielema (2nd year at Arkansas) and Charlie Strong (1st year at Texas), meet with the winner taking some much needed momentum into the offseason.

15. Russell Athletic Bowl: Clemson vs. Oklahoma
The Brett VenaBowl, as some have referred to it, will reunite the Clemson DC, Brent Venables. with Oklahoma, where he was Bob Stoops' long time DC. The Sooners were a trendy pick to win the Big 12 and be in the playoff but the season went awry. Clemson lost offensive coordinator Chad Morris to the SMU head job, but the Venables connection makes this one an intriguing one.

16. Sun Bowl: Arizona State vs. Duke
Call this bowl the Devil Bowl- the Blue Devils against the Sun Devils. For all the good that David Cutcliffe has done for Duke, he's come up short in their two bowl games, both late losses. Arizona State has been very good under Todd Graham, and they want to erase the disappointment from their bowl loss last year to Texas Tech. This game features a great offensive minded head coach in Cutcliffe and defensive mind in Graham.

17. Boca Raton Bowl: Marshall vs. Northern Illinois
Easily the best game involving two schools from Group of Five conferences, this game pits the Conference USA champion Thundering Herd, who's late loss to Western Kentucky knocked them from the possibility of the New Year's Six, against MAC champion Northern Illinois, the last non-BCS school to make a BCS game.

18. Independence Bowl: Miami vs. South Carolina
The Hurricanes and Gamecocks both expected to have better seasons, and better bowl destinations than they each did, and neither played particularly well. Neither Miami or Steve Spurrier are used to playing in a bowl of this little excitement, but that's what will probably make the game fun, the Ol' Ball Coach against a former in-state foe.

19. Las Vegas Bowl: Colorado State vs. Utah
Former Mountain West rivals meet in Sin City in a game that will be interesting since the Rams will play without Jim McElwain, who took the Florida job. Interestingly enough, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham took the Utes job after Florida poached their coach back after the 2004 season. Both teams feature excellent running backs in Utah's Devontae Booker and Colorado State's Dee Hart.

20. TaxSlayer Bowl: Iowa vs. Tennessee
The former Gator Bowl welcomes a Tennessee team that hasn't been bowling since 2010 but will be playing in their 50th game in the second year for Butch Jones with the Vols. Iowa is 7-5, but comes in off two straight close home losses, to Wisconsin and Nebraska, who no longer have the coach that led them to wins in that game. Jones, though, will be safe, signing a contract extension thanks to marked improvement for the Vols.

21. Miami Beach Bowl: BYU vs. Memphis
BYU hit a lull in the middle of the year when they lost Taysom Hill but won their last four and come in to the Miami Beach Bowl, in its first year, 8-4. Memphis went 9-3 and won a share of the American, two of its three losses coming on the road against Top 15 teams. Its the first bowl for Justin Fuente as head coach at Memphis and brings a good Memphis offense against a defensive minded head coach in Bronco Mendenhall.

22. Foster Farms Bowl: Maryland vs. Stanford
For the first time since 2009, Stanford isn't playing in a major New Year's Bowl, but they'll be playing just a couple miles down the road from campus. The Cardinal will take on Big Ten newcomer Maryland, who had a pretty good season in their first season in the Big Ten, but now travel across the country.

23. Pinstripe Bowl: Boston College vs. Penn State
The Pinstripe folks had good attendance all year with Derek Jeter's retirement, and Yankee Stadium should be well packed when Penn State goes bowling for the first time since 2011, in James Franklin's first year. The attendance should also be helped by Boston College, giving a good number of folks reason to travel to the Big Apple from nearby.

24. Cactus Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Washington
The former Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl is now the Cactus Bowl but still in Tempe, Arizona, the former home of the Fiesta Bowl. Speaking of Fiesta Bowl, the winners of three of those will coach against each other, Chris Petersen, who won two at Boise State and Mike Gundy, who won one at Oklahoma State. The Huskies had an up-and-down year in Petersen's first season, but ended the season strong while Oklahoma State's year was even more of a roller coaster before they stunned Oklahoma in overtime to lock up a bowl berth.

25. Bitcoin Bowl: NC State vs. UCF
UCF is taking a little step back from the Fiesta Bowl a year ago, but given their personnel losses, they'll gladly take a close trip with a share of the American title under their belt. After a rough first year in Raleigh, Dave Doeren turned it around in his second year, and the Wolfpack come in fresh off a 35-7 beatdown of in-state rival North Carolina.

26. Idaho Potato Bowl: Air Force vs. Western Michigan
A year ago, these two teams combined to win three games, two for Air Force, one from Western Michigan. This year, they combined to win 17 games, both schools having big turnarounds and improving their win totals by seven games. It will be cold, as the Potato Bowl often is, but neither team will be ill-prepared for this. In a strong year for freshman running backs, the Broncos' Jarvorian Franklin was as good as any.

27. Birmingham Bowl: East Carolina vs. Florida
East Carolina was an early contender for a spot in the New Year's Six bowls, before a late season slide knocked them out, but they'll bowl for the eighth time in nine years. Florida missed a bowl last year so they're just happy to be back in a bowl, but they'll be coached by interim D.J. Durkin, with Will Muschamp let go. You can bet new head Gators coach Jim McElwain will be watching.

28. Military Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech
It's a rematch of the 2009 Orange Bowl! The Bearcats come in having won a share of the American this fall and have a chance to win 10 games. It was the worst season the Hokies have had since 1992, the last time they finished with a losing conference record, but that was also the last time the Hokies missed a bowl. The trip to the Military Bowl is the 21st straight bowl game for Virginia Tech, the second longest active streak in college football.

29. Bahamas Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky
It's a rematch of the 2012 Little Caesars Bowl! The Chippewas beat the Hilltoppers in WKU's first ever bowl game. This year, the scenery has changed greatly from Detroit. Central Michigan had the best reaction to being invited to the Bahamas Bowl (see here) and Western Kentucky is probably just as happy to be heading to just their second bowl in the first year under head coach Jeff Brohm. The game will be sunny while most of the U.S. will be cold on Christmas Eve.

30. Armed Forces Bowl: Houston vs. Pittsburgh
Houston comes in to the Armed Forces Bowl without their hoad coach, Tony Levine being let go earlier this week. Pittsburgh is in their seventh straight bowl, but the question will be if Paul Chryst is coaching by the time they get to Fort Worth, with Wisconsin pursuing him.

31. Poinsettia Bowl: Navy vs. San Diego State
No early bowl will have the attendance this bowl will have, with the hometown Aztecs playing Navy, with many fans and bases nearby. When these two teams met in 2010, which the Aztecs won, they set a Poinsettia Bowl record for largest crowd. That could happen again.

32. Quick Lane Bowl: North Carolina vs. Rutgers
Two teams that had a couple of good moments this year but plenty of ugly moments meet in Detroit at Ford Field. The Tar Heels come up at 6-6 and repping the ACC while Rutgers will represent the Big Ten, going 7-5 in their first season in the conference.

33. New Mexico Bowl: Utah State vs. UTEP
The Miners took a big jump in the second year of Sean Kugler and are bowling again for the first time since 2010, when they also played in the New Mexico Bowl. They're looking for their first bowl win in 47 years, though, having not won since 1967. Utah State is in their fourth straight bowl but have won the last two and after all the quarterback injuries that Matt Wells and the Aggies dealt with, they'll gladly take a bowl and a shot at 10 wins.

34. Hawaii Bowl: Fresno State vs. Rice
The perfect bowl to watch when your in-laws are driving you insane, Fresno State comes in at 6-7, the only team with a losing record (they bowl because their 7th loss came in a conference title game). They're hoping this trip is better than their visit two years ago, where they were thumped by SMU. Rice is in a bowl for the third straight year and their fourth overall under David Bailiff.

35. New Orleans Bowl: Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Nevada
The first bowl of the season brings the Ragin Cajuns back to New Orleans for the fourth straight year, and they've won the last three. Nevada has only won one bowl game in their last seven trips to the postseason, the last time winning with Colin Kaepernick still their quarterback.

36. Heart of Dallas Bowl: Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech
The Illini made a bowl in a season that looked like it might be lost, but the bowl was enough to save Tim Beckman's job in Champaign. Louisiana Tech lost in the Conference USA title game, but they're just happy to be in a bowl after missing one last year and then not being invited to one in 2012, when they went 9-3.

37. Go Daddy Bowl: Arkansas State vs. Toledo
The Go Daddy Bowl is the final bowl before the national championship game eight days later. It will be the fourth straight year the Red Wolves are playing in the Go Daddy Bowl, but amazingly, for the first time in those four trips, they'll have their actual head coach and not an interim coach, with Blake Andersson staying put in Jonesboro and Mobile. Toledo is back in a bowl after a one-year hiatus.

38. Camellia Bowl: Bowling Green vs. South Alabama
In his first year as head coach, Dino Babers has Bowling Green bowling for the third straight year but looking for their first bowl win in 10 years. In their sixth season as a program, South Alabama is 6-6 but playing in their first-ever bowl game just a couple hours from campus.

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