Get picks for the top games for every sport
Which bowls are the ones to see and which ones can be missed? With so many to watch, here are all the bowls ranked from the must-see to the ones you might be able to skip if you need to do some holiday shopping. These rankings are based on fun as well as importance.
miss no matter what. Cancel all other plans and send the family off to the
These games promise to be fun
1. Rose Bowl presented by Citi Michigan vs. USC January 1, 2007, ABC
The BCS Championship game is bigger, but this is the one you really want to watch. It's a matchup of the 2007 preseason No. 1 vs. preseason No. 2. Which one's which? Not sure yet, but this could be a showdown of the 2008 BCS Championship game between two teams with something to prove. Michigan, with an impressive performance, wants to prove once and for all that it's the definitive number two team in the nation, while USC wants to put the UCLA debacle in the past and show that things really haven't changed all that much from the national title seasons.
Stars of the show: 1) Mike Hart, RB Michigan, 2) Dwayne Jarrett, WR USC, 3) Mario Manningham, WR Michigan
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: Michigan 24 ... USC 20
2. BCS Championship Game Ohio State vs. Florida January 8, 2007, Fox
Will Florida earn the number two spot and the shot at the title? Will Ohio State be tight and rusty after several weeks off since beating Michigan? The buzz won't be there for this for a few weeks with everyone certain to be talking about the BCS process and not the actual game. Florida is far better, especially defensively, than it'll probably get credit for, while Ohio State isn't quite as good as everyone will make it out to be. Don't just assume a Buckeye coronation with the Gator defense certain to keep this close.
Stars of the show: 1) Troy Smith, QB Ohio State, 2) Ted Ginn, WR Ohio State, 3) Chris Leak, QB Florida
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: Ohio State 27 ... Florida 17
3. Sheraton Hawaii Bowl Arizona State vs. Hawaii December 24, 2006, ESPN
Leave the defensive battles for late November rivalry games. What do you want in a December bowl game? Offense, offense, offense, offense, offense. Arizona State has the potential to get hot an throw big yards and points on the board, while Colt Brennan and the Hawaii offense are guaranteed to amass 400 passing yards and over 35 points. If you haven't seen the Warrior offense yet, this is your shot. This will be the most fun bowl game you'll watch all year.
Stars of the show: 1) Colt Brennan, QB Hawaii 2) Davone Bess WR Hawaii, 3) Rudy Carpenter, QB Arizona State
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: Hawaii 48 ... Arizona State 41
4. Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma vs. Boise State January 1, 2007, Fox
Remember, these aren't playoffs. If you're not in the BCS Championship, you're playing in a glorified exhibition game. While you might not be ecstatic to have a team like Boise State get into one of the big money games, it's one of only two unbeaten teams and has earned its stripes after an amazing run of wins over the last eight years. This might be among the most important games of the last few years to possibly change perceptions about how good the non-BCS conference teams are.
Stars of the show: 1) Boise State RB Ian Johnson, 2) Oklahoma LB Rufus Alexander, 3) Oklahoma WR Malcolm Kelly
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: Oklahoma 23 ... Boise State 16
5. Capital One Bowl Arkansas vs. Wisconsin January 1, 2007, ABC
Considering Arkansas blew out Auburn at Auburn, you could make the case that this is the best game between teams that didn't make the BCS. Wisconsin has the best record of any non-BCS team going 11-1 with the one loss coming to Michigan, but Bret Bielema's boys didn't play anyone. This is huge for both the Big Ten and SEC bragging rights. With the Big Ten considered down this year, the Badgers have to come up with its second straight Capital One Bowl win after beating Auburn last year.
Stars of the show: 1) Arkansas RB Darren McFadden, 2) Wisconsin RB P.J. Hill, 3) Arkansas WR Marcus Monk
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction:
Great matchups. Don't miss ... disown the family if they're annoying you.
These aren't guaranteed to be classics, but they should be strong
6. AT&T Cotton Bowl Nebraska vs. Auburn January 1, 2007, Fox
One of the best of the non-BCS matchups, it wouldn't have been a shock if these two had been playing in one of the big money games. Nebraska is looking to get its first really big win since beating Michigan in last year's Alamo Bowl, while Auburn is looking to show that it's better than it played all year long. Even at 10-2, Auburn was one of the year's bigger disappointments coming off a flop of a bowl performance against Wisconsin in last season's Capital One Bowl.
Stars of the show: 1) Nebraska QB Zac Taylor, 2) Auburn RB Kenny Irons, 3) Auburn DE Quentin Groves
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: Auburn 27 .... Nebraska 17
7. Chick-fil-A Bowl Virginia Tech vs. Georgia December 30, 2006, ESPN
If you like big-time offense, this won't be for you with both defenses on display for what should be one of the hardest hitting games of the bowl season. Can Georgia use the home crowd advantage to get by a red-hot Virginia Tech team who's won six straight? Georgia can bounce back after a rough season with its third straight impressive win after beating Auburn and Georgia Tech, and can set the tone for 2007 with a big win.
Stars of the show: 1) Virginia Tech LB Vince Hall, 2) Georgia DE Charles Johnson, 3) Virginia Tech LB Xavier Adibi
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: Virginia Tech 13 ... Georgia 9
8. Outback Bowl Penn State vs. Tennessee January 1, 2007, ESPN
Fine, so this game might sound better on name recognition than it does in practice, but Penn State's defense, and the running of Tony Hunt, could be enough to battle the overall athleticism and speed of the resurgent Vols. Tennessee can finish with a ten-win season and officially erase all memories of last year's nightmare, while Penn State is looking for its first decent win of the season while looking to prove that 2005 wasn't a fluke.
Stars of the show: 1) Penn State LB Paul Posluszny, 2) Tennessee WR Robert Meachem, 3) Tennessee QB Erik Ainge
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: Tennessee 23 ... Penn State 13
9. Toyota Gator Bowl Georgia Tech vs. West Virginia January 1, 2007, CBS
It's the ACC's second best team against the Big East's second best team. Georgia Tech's run defense, outside of the loss to Clemson, has been strong all season long finishing 11th in the nation, while the West Virginia rushing attack finished the year second in the country. It's strength vs. strength in what should be a good game for four quarters.
Stars of the show: 1) Georgia Tech WR Calvin Johnson, 2) West Virginia RB Steve Slaton, 3) West Virginia QB Pat White
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: West Virginia 23 ... Georgia Tech 16
10. Pacific Life Holiday Bowl California vs. Texas A&M December 28, 2006, ESPN
The Pack 10 is overdue for a good Holiday Bowl performance having lost four of the last five, while Cal will try to erase memories of the last time it played in San Diego losing to Texas Tech 45-31 in 2004. The Golden Bears get a ton of hype with not many big wins to back it up, while Texas A&M is gunning for its first ten-win season since 1998 and prove that the Dennis Franchione era is truly headed in the right direction.
Stars of the show: 1) California RB Marshawn Lynch, 2) California WR DeSean Jackson, 3) Texas A&M RB Jorvorskie Lane
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: California 34 ... Texas A&M 31
11. Allstate Sugar Bowl Notre Dame vs. LSU January 3, 2007, Fox
Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's Notre Dame vs. LSU so it's must-see college football TV, but it also has the potential to be a dog with fleas if Notre Dame doesn't do something major to address the pass protection and secondary issues. This will be like a home game for LSU in the first Sugar Bowl back in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina.
Stars of the show: 1) Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn, 2) LSU QB JaMarcus Russell, 3) Notre Dame WR Jeff Samardzija
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: LSU 38 ... Notre Dame 20
12. Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl Oregon vs. BYU December 21, 2006, ESPN
The second bowl game of the season is a killer. Oregon lost its last three games of the season and can turn things around in a hurry and get some major momentum going into next year, while BYU is one of the hottest teams in the nation winning nine straight. If the Mountain West wants to be taken seriously on a national scale, the Cougars have to not only win, but win impressively against a Pac 10 also-ran.
Stars of the show: 1) BYU QB John Beck, 2) Oregon RB Jonathan Stewart, 3) Oregon WR Jaison Williams
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: BYU 34 ... Oregon 20
13. Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl Kentucky vs. Clemson December 29, 2006, ESPN
The average fan will have no interest in this. You're not the average fan. This will be a shootout of the highest order with the Kentucky defense totally incapable of handling the Clemson offense, while Andre Woodson and the Wildcat attack should be able to crank out big yards and at least thirty points on a Tiger defense coming off a rough outing against South Carolina.
Stars of the show: 1) Clemson RB C.J. Spiller, 2) Clemson RB James Davis, 3) Kentucky QB Andre Woodson
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: Clemson 45 ... Kentucky 31
14. Alamo Bowl Texas vs. Iowa December 30, 2006, ESPN
Traditionally a solid bowl team, Iowa is looking to finish off an awful season with the type of win that can generate a buzz throughout the following eight months. Texas lost two straight going from national title contender to Big 12 title favorite to Big 12 South also-ran to the Alamo Bowl. A loss to the Hawkeyes would make the off-season as unpleasant as the last off-season was fun.
Stars of the show: 1) Texas QB Colt McCoy, 2) Texas CB Aaron Ross, 3) Iowa QB Drew Tate
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: Texas 37 ... Iowa 13
15. Meineke Car Care Bowl Boston College vs. Navy December 30, 2006, ESPN2
Easily two of the best bowl teams over the last few seasons, Navy has won its last two post-season games while BC has won six straight. This would easily be the best win of the season for the Midshipmen, who's coming in hurting after losing thunderback Adam Ballard to a broken leg in the Army game. After winning nine straight in three of the last four seasons, the Eagles can win ten games for the first time since 1984.
Stars of the show: 1) Boston College QB Matt Ryan, 2) Navy QB Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, 3) Boston College DB DeJuan Tribble
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: Boston College 30 ... Navy 17
Bowl Games. Nothing more, nothing less.
You're a college football fan, so you're going to watch, but they have dud potential
16. Sun Bowl Missouri vs. Oregon State December 29, 2006, CBS
The two teams were on the hot list in their respective races in the middle of the season after Oregon State beat USC and Missouri got by Texas Tech, but the Tigers lost four of five before thumping Kansas. The Beavers won seven of their last eight and are going for a ten-win season after holding on against Hawaii. Expect lots of passing, plenty of big plays, and a game worth taking the day off of work for..
Stars of the show: 1) Oregon State RB Yvenson Bernard, 2) Missouri QB Chase Daniel, 3) Oregon State WR Sammie Stroughter
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: Oregon State 30 ... Missouri 27
17. Orange Bowl Wake Forest vs. Louisville January 2, 2007, Fox
Everyone keeps disrespecting Wake Forest and everyone keeps looking silly. It just doesn't seem like the Demon Deacons should be any good, but they just keep winning and winning and winning. Louisville has too much offense to Wake Forest and too much defensive pressure to lose this. Wake Forest has heard it all before and still came through with an ACC championship, but the Cardinals will show why they should've been in the discussion for the BCS Championship.
Stars of the show: 1) Louisville QB Brian Brohm, 2) Wake Forest LB Jon Abbate, 3) Louisville DB William Gay
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: Louisville 31 ... Wake Forest 13
18. Texas Bowl Kansas State vs. Rutgers December 28, 2006, NFL Network
Rutgers came within a triple-overtime battle of going to the Orange Bowl, and now it's in the ... Texas Bowl?! The Scarlet Knights have to pick their spirits up off the ground or they'll get tagged by a rising Kansas State team hoping for a big momentum boost going into the off-season. Chalk this one up to who has the better attitude.
Stars of the show: 1) Rutgers RB Ray Rice, 2) Kansas State QB Josh Freeman, 3) Rutgers DB Courtney Greene
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: Rutgers 24 ... Kansas State 20
19. Papajohns.com Bowl East Carolina vs. South Florida December 23, 2006, ESPN2
This will be a much better game than you think. East Carolina won five of its last six games only dropping a tight 18-17 battle to Rice while South Florida is still buzzing after shocking West Virginia to close out with a strong eight-win season. Still the unknown and disrespected program in the Big East mix, the Bulls will try to win its first bowl game ever.
Stars of the show: 1) South Florida QB Matt Grothe, 2) East Carolina QB James Pinkney, 3) South Florida LB Stephen Moffett
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: South Florida 23 ... East Carolina 10
20. PetroSun Independence Bowl Oklahoma State vs. Alabama December 27, 2006, ESPN
The Joe Kines era begins, and likely ends at Alabama against an up-and-coming Oklahoma State team gunning for the first bowl win in Mike Gundy's watch. Can the Bama defense handle the Cowboy attack? Will OSU overcome a rough two-game losing streak to set the tone for 2007? This should be an interesting contrast in styles.
Stars of the show: 1) Oklahoma State QB Bobby Reid, 2) Alabama WR D.J. Hall, 3) Oklahoma State WR Adarius Bowman
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: Oklahoma State 26 ... Alabama 23
21. AutoZone Liberty Bowl Houston vs. South Carolina December 29, 2006, ESPN
The Cougars could make this extremely interesting as long as QB Kevin Kolb is able to bomb away and keep pace with a Gamecock offense that should be humming. Each team will try to make amends for a bad bowl game last year with Houston getting destroyed 42-13 by Kansas and South Carolina losing a heartbreaker to Missouri. The Ball Coach won't lose two straight bowls.
Stars of the show: 1) Houston QB Kevin Kolb, 2) South Carolina WR Sidney Rice, 3) South Carolina LB Jasper Brinkley
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: South Carolina 35 ... Houston 20
22. Champs Sports Bowl Purdue vs. Maryland December 29, 2006, ESPN
Sometimes the best bowl games come when two uninteresting teams square off. Maybe this is one of those instances. The Boilermakers have an offense, but no defense. The Terps have an inconsistent offense and a decent defense, and can't hang on to the ball.
Stars of the show: 1) Purdue WR Dorien Bryant, 2) Maryland LB Erin Henderson 3) Maryland LB Wesley Jefferson
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: Purdue 26 ... Maryland 23
Serious Dog Potential ... hang with the family, but keep the TV on
You'll watch, but you won't go out of your way. These matchups just aren't compelling and/or could be blowouts. Worse yet, these games could be boring.
23. Emerald Bowl Florida State vs. UCLA December 27, 2006, ESPN
Move this up ten spots if Florida State actually decides to show up. UCLA, fresh off its stunning win over USC, can keep the momentum going in what should be an off-season pf promise. The Seminole defense has been solid all season long, but the offense hasn't shown up over the second half of the season. Can the FSU O line keep its quarterbacks clean? Nope.
Stars of the show: 1) UCLA DE Justin Hickman, 2) Florida State LB Buster Davis, 3) UCLA DE Bruce Davis
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: UCLA 24 ... Florida State 10
24. Insight Bowl Minnesota vs. Texas Tech December 29, 2006, ESPN
The two teams might have big names, but the matchup doesn't work out well. Texas Tech is third in the nation in passing, Minnesota is 115th in the country in pass defense. Thank you very much, good night. Tip your waitresses. Unless Minnesota can get its ground game rolling this might not be pretty.
Stars of the show: 1) Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell, 2) Minnesota QB Bryan Cupito 3) Texas Tech WR Joel Filani
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: Texas Tech 38 ... Minnesota 20
25. MPC Computers Bowl Nevada vs. Miami December 30, 2006, ESPN
Miami in Boise? Is it even possible to travel further for a bowl game? The Hurricanes will have a fight on their hands if they're not taking a decent Nevada team seriously. The Canes might be struggling, but the Wolf Pack and the WAC could use the win for more national attention for each.
Stars of the show: 1) Miami DE Calais Campbell, 2) Nevada QB Jeff Rowe, 3) Miami S Brandon Meriweather
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: Miami 31 ... Nevada 10
26. San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl TCU vs. Northern Illinois December 19, 2006, ESPN2
If the Northern Illinois team that rocked over the last two weeks of the season shows up, this might be a decent game unless the TCU team that rocked over the last two months gets rolling. The Horned Frogs have been fantastic led by the nation's fourth ranked run defense trying to stop Huskie star Garrett Wolfe, who needs 100 yards to reach 2,000.
Stars of the show: 1) Northern Illinois RB Garrett Wolfe, 2) TCU QB Jeff Ballard, 3) TCU DE Tommy Blake
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: TCU 31 ... Northern Illinois 10
27. International Bowl Western Michigan vs. Cincinnati January 6, 2007, ESPN
The inaugural International Bowl might not be all that bad. It'll have a hard time getting any love being played three days after the first four BCS days, but it should be a decent game with a good Western Michigan team playing a Cincinnati squad in transition with head coach Mark Dantonio off to Michigan State. This is WMU's first bowl appearance since 1988.
Stars of the show: 1) Western Michigan LB Ameer Ismail, 2) Cincinnati DB Dominic Ross, 3) Western Michigan DB Londen Fryar
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: Cincinnati 20 ... Western Michigan 13
28. New Mexico Bowl New Mexico vs. San Jose State December 23, 2006, ESPN
New Mexico might be the least deserving team in the bowl mix. It gets a home game in the inaugural New Mexico Bowl after thumping San Diego State 41-14. San Jose State's defense has been stout all year long, and now head coach Dick Tomey can make the resurgence complete with a win in the program's first bowl game since 1990. This might turn out to be among the tightest and most competitive of the early bowl games, but will you be interested?
Stars of the show: 1) San Jose State CB Dwight Lowery, 2) New Mexico LB Quincy Black, 3) San Jose State RB Yonus Davis
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: New Mexico 24 ... San Jose State 20
29. Armed Forces Bowl Utah vs. Tulsa December 23, 2006, ESPN
This would've been far more interesting last season when the two teams won their respective conferences. Tulsa struggled over the second half of the season losing three straight before thumping Tulane, while Utah got hot winning three straight before losing to BYU in a classic. Neither team has done anything to make the non-college football fan want to watch this.
Stars of the show: 1) Utah CB Eric Weddle, 2) Tulsa QB Paul Smith, 3) Utah QB Brett Ratliff
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: Utah 31 ... Tulsa 20
30. New Orleans Bowl Troy vs. Rice December 22, 2006, ESPN
Rice is one of the feel-good stories of 2006 with first year head coach Todd Graham leading the program to its first bowl game since 1961. Troy stunned Middle Tennessee and then beat FIU to win the Sun Belt title, but it doesn't do any one thing particularly well.
Stars of the show: 1) Rice WR Jarett Dillard, 2) Troy QB Omar Haugabook, 3) Rice RB Quinton Smith
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: Rice 34 ... Troy 16
31. GMAC Bowl Southern Miss vs. Ohio January 7, 2007, ESPN
Consider this your appetizer before the BCS Championship. The dumping ground for the losers of the MAC and Conference USA title games, this should be a low scoring, defensive battle. While it might be tight, it one offense struggles to get rolling, this won't be one to stick around for.
Stars of the show: 1) Ohio RB Kalvin McRae, 2) Southern Miss OG George Batiste, 3) Ohio LB Matt Muncy
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: Southern Miss 23 ... Ohio 10
32. Motor City Bowl Central Michigan vs. Middle Tennessee December 26, 2006, ESPN
If Central Michigan plays like it did in the MAC title game win over Ohio, this won't be much fun. The Blue Raiders were stunned by Troy 21-20 in the regular season final to blow a shot at the Sun Belt championship and the New Orleans Bowl, but the 7-5 record got them to the Motor City. Having yet to come close against anyone with a pulse, Middle Tennessee has to show far more than it did in its D-I non-conference slate.
Stars of the show: 1) Central Michigan QB Dan LeFevour, 2) Middle Tennessee RB Eugene Gross, 3) Central Michigan WR Bryan Anderson
The knee jerk, off-the-cuff, initial prediction: Central Michigan 38 ... Middle Tennessee 7