The holidays can be stressful, and once the Christmas season hits, free time is precious.
Thus, in the holiday spirit of selflessness, here is our top 20 (of the 35 games) to help you best adjust your calendar around the holidays.
20. Holiday Bowl, California (7-5) vs. Texas (7-5), Dec. 28: Both coaches have been at their schools forever, and the loser is going to hear a lot of grief in the offseason. Actually, considering each team was so inconsistent, the winner is going to get some grief this offseason too.
19. Military Bowl, Air Force (7-5) vs. Toledo (8-4), Dec. 28: Neither plays all that much defense, so there should be points aplenty. And if you're going to be watching a game on a Wednesday afternoon, you want to see points aplenty.
18. Belk Bowl, Louisville (7-5) vs. North Carolina State (7-5), Dec. 27: Louisville tied for the Big East regular-season title, while N.C. State was an ACC also-ran. In short, this is another important game for the Big East.
17. Sun Bowl, Georgia Tech (8-4) vs. Utah (7-5), Dec. 31: Both teams run well. Neither throws well. Thus, this could be the only bowl that takes less than three hours to finish.
16. Chick-fil-A Bowl, Auburn (7-5) vs. Virginia (8-4), Dec. 31: Auburn is No. 82 in scoring offense, Virginia No. 88. But both have some top-flight offensive personnel, so this could end up being a high-scoring game.
15. Gator Bowl, Florida (6-6) vs. Ohio State (6-6), Jan. 2: Two premier programs, but this has a car-wreck quality to it, as in, "Man, these teams aren't that good — but I can't turn away." Florida is trying to avoid its first losing season since 1979; the Buckeyes haven't had a losing season since 1988.
14. GoDaddy.Com Bowl, Arkansas State (10-2) vs. Northern Illinois (10-3), Jan. 8: This is the last pre-title game bowl, and there should be a ton of points. Considering the defenses that will be on view the next night in New Orleans, this very well could be your final chance to see a touchdown in a college football game this season.
13. Sugar Bowl, Michigan (10-2) vs. Virginia Tech (11-2), Jan. 3: Or, to be more apt, the "Neither Truly Belongs in the BCS Bowl."
12. Insight Bowl, Iowa (7-5) vs. Oklahoma (9-3), Dec. 30: After the 1998 season, both schools were looking for new coaches. The assumption was that Bob Stoops, Florida's defensive coordinator at the time, would take over at Iowa, his alma mater. Instead, he spurned the Hawkeyes and went to Oklahoma. Iowa hired Kirk Ferentz. This will be the first time they meet.
11. Armed Forces Bowl, BYU (9-3) vs. Tulsa (8-4), Dec. 30: Both have good records, but neither has beaten anyone special. BYU owns one victory over a bowl team, and Tulsa has two. So, are the good offensive numbers for both teams legit or a result of beating up on overmatched opponents?
10. Champs Sports Bowl, Florida State (8-4) vs. Notre Dame (8-4), Dec. 29: Two of the bigger brand names in college football (even if both have lost a lot of luster in recent seasons).
9. Orange Bowl, Clemson (10-3) vs. West Virginia (9-3), Jan. 4: An intriguing meeting of the (offensive) minds between WVU coach Dana Holgorsen and Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris. Each defense has been inconsistent, so there could be a lot of points. A subplot: This is the ACC champ vs. the Big East champ.
8. Alamo Bowl, Baylor (9-3) vs. Washington (7-5), Dec. 29: This likely will be the final game for Baylor QB Robert Griffin III, a junior who seems NFL-bound. Washington QB Keith Price has had a good season too, with 29 TD passes. Both secondaries are suspect, so a game in the 30s (or even 40s) is possible.
7. Cotton Bowl, Arkansas (10-2) vs. Kansas State (10-2), Jan. 6: Both teams depend heavily on their quarterbacks. Kansas State's Collin Klein can't throw but heads a powerful rushing attack. Arkansas' Tyler Wilson leads the SEC in passing. K-State's pass defense was torched often this season — but the Hogs' rushing defense hasn't been that good either.
6. Capital One Bowl, South Carolina (10-2) vs. Nebraska (9-3), Jan. 2: Both teams have been inconsistent on offense and neither wants to have to throw. This is all about defense and the running game. And each coach, Nebraska's Bo Pelini and South Carolina's Steve Spurrier, should be good for a dozen or so sideline shots of anguish.
5. TicketCity Bowl, Houston (12-1) vs. Penn State (9-3), Jan. 2: This will be the final college game for Houston quarterback Case Keenum, who will graduate with almost every important NCAA passing record. He is 4-4 vs. Big Six opponents in his career. Penn State is the team no bowl wanted (with good reason), but the Nittany Lions' defense will be the best Keenum has seen in a long time. Can he go out with a flourish?
4. Outback Bowl, Georgia (10-3) vs. Michigan State (10-3), Jan. 2: The Big Ten runner-up vs. the SEC runner-up. Michigan State was smoked by Alabama in last season's Capital One Bowl. Will the Spartans have a better showing this time?
3. Title game, Alabama (11-1) vs. LSU (13-0), Jan. 9: Alabama gets its second bite at the apple, this time away from home. Obviously, the defenses will be at the forefront again.
2. Rose Bowl, Oregon (11-2) vs. Wisconsin (11-2), Jan. 2: Wisconsin's brute force likely will work well against the Ducks. Conversely, Oregon's sheer speed likely will work well against the Badgers. In short, this is a fascinating study of contrasting styles.
1. Fiesta Bowl, Oklahoma State (11-1) vs. Stanford (11-1), Jan. 2: Both lost in November to end their national-title hopes, and this will be the final game for each team's stud quarterback.
You have to think that at some point during the game, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck will gaze wistfully at the field and wonder what kind of numbers he could have put up with Oklahoma State's wide receivers.
At the same time, you have to think Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden will gaze wistfully at the field and wonder what it would have been like to play on a team whose defense ranks 25th nationally instead of 107th.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun