CHRIS DUFRESNE / ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Chris Dufresne's look at the season's college football bowl games

The BCS championship game, Rose, Sugar, Orange — Rankman looks at all 35 games, from worst to best.

ESPN's "Octomom" family of networks hopes you enjoy this year's cavalcade of commercials and center snaps as it furiously tries to secure the two games it doesn't broadcast.

Conspicuously missing from the lineup is Ohio State (12-0) vs. Louisiana Tech (9-3) in our mythical Outcast Bowl.

Ohio State has been banned from this season's bowls by the NCAA and Louisiana Tech was snuffed out like a sidewalk cigarette so that a dozen schools with 6-6 records and one at 6-7 could raise a participation trophy.

The mascot for this year's bowl parade, "Eddie the Interim Coach," honors the numerous teams that play on without their fearless fall leaders.

Our annual worst-to-best bowl warning stands: Wagering on these picks can take you over the fiscal cliff. And always check with your physician before eating any of the junk food promoted by this season's title sponsors.

35. Armed Forces, Rice (6-6) vs. Air Force (6-6), Dec. 29, 8:45 a.m., ESPN: Scenic drive: Route 66. Sponsor: Phillips 66: Game temp: 66. Stadium capacity: 66,666. Suggested alternative bowl date: June 6 (6-6). Winner: Air Force.

34. Little Caesars Pizza, Central Michigan (6-6) vs. Western Kentucky (7-5), Dec. 26, 4:30 p.m., ESPN: Get your motor (city) runnin'… Newly hired Bobby Petrino will not coach Western Kentucky or change the team nickname to the Hill-Choppers. Winner: Western Kentucky.

33. BBVA Compass, Pittsburgh (6-6) vs. Mississippi (6-6), Jan. 5, 10 a.m., ESPN: Pittsburgh lost to Youngstown State but took Notre Dame to triple overtime. Mississippi was routed by Texas, 66-31, but nearly defeated Texas A&M and Louisiana State. Winner: Mississippi.

32. Beef 'O' Brady's, Ball State (9-3) vs. Central Florida (9-4), Dec. 21, 4:30 p.m., ESPN: Big East teams have won three of the first four Beef bowls, but close games have been rare (to medium rare). Winner: Central Florida.

31. Texas, Minnesota (6-6) vs. Texas Tech (7-5), Dec. 28, 6 p.m., ESPN: A rematch of the 2006 Insight Bowl in which Minnesota blew a 31-point lead. Stories filed on deadline with Minnesota winning are available by request. Winner: Texas Tech.

30. Heart of Dallas, Purdue (6-6) vs. Oklahoma State (7-5), Jan. 1, 9 a.m., ESPNU: Hearts are ripped out of Dallas as Purdue fires coach and Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken bolts to become head coach for Southern Mississippi. Winner: Oklahoma State.

29. Independence, Louisiana Monroe (8-4) vs. Ohio (8-4), Dec. 28, 11 a.m., ESPN: Louisiana Monroe started 6-2 with a win over Arkansas and losses to Auburn and Baylor by a total of eight points. Ohio started 7-0. If only the season ended in mid-November. Winner: Louisiana Monroe.

28. New Orleans, Louisiana Lafayette (8-4) vs. East Carolina (7-5), Dec. 22, 9 a.m., ESPN: Good luck matching last year's ending when Louisiana Lafayette's Brett Baer beat San Diego State with a 50-yard field goal as time expired. Winner: Louisiana Lafayette

27. Liberty, Tulsa (10-3) vs. Iowa State (6-6), Dec. 31, 12:30 p.m., ESPN: The Liberty reportedly chose Iowa State over Louisiana Tech, so this game deserves to end early because of a power outage. Winner: Tulsa.

26. Hawaii, Southern Methodist (6-6) vs. Fresno State (9-3), Dec. 24, 5 p.m., ESPN: Former Hawaii coach June Jones, now with SMU, returns to the islands to relive memories and retrieve a Hawaiian shirt he left in his old gym locker. Winner: Fresno State.

25. Sun, USC (7-5) vs. Georgia Tech (6-7), Dec. 31, 11 a.m., Channel 2: The Sun sets on defensive coordinators. Georgia Tech fired Al Groh in October; Monte Kiffin's resignation was recently accepted by his son. Winner: USC.

24. Poinsettia, Brigham Young (7-5) vs. San Diego State (9-3), Dec. 20, 5 p.m., ESPN: Brigham Young lost four games by 13 total points and ranks third nationally in total defense. Shamu State owns a signature win at Boise State. Winner: BYU.

23. Military, Bowling Green (8-4) vs. San Jose State (10-2), Dec. 27, noon, ESPN: Cpl. Klinger thinks departing San Jose State Coach Mike MacIntyre could be a Section 8 candidate for taking the Colorado job. Winner: San Jose State.

22. Buffalo Wild Wings, Texas Christian (7-5) vs. Michigan State (6-6), Dec. 29, 7:15 p.m., ESPN: No coin toss for the former Insight Bowl. Opening possession will be determined by spinning a bottle of mango habanero sauce. Winner: TCU.

21. Belk, Duke (6-6) vs. Cincinnati (9-3), Dec. 27, 3:30 p.m., ESPN: Duke makes its first bowl appearance since 1994 but can still keep with tradition by finishing with a losing record. Winner: Cincinnati.

20. Russell Athletic, Rutgers (9-3) vs. Virginia Tech (6-6), Dec. 28, 2:30 p.m., ESPN: Rutgers choked away a chance to win its first Big East crown; Virginia Tech was a bigger flop than "Cloud Atlas." Winner: Rutgers.

19. Kraft Fight Hunger, Arizona State (7-5) vs. Navy (8-4), Dec. 29, 1 p.m., ESPN2: Arizona State Coach Todd Graham voted his own team No. 20 in the final USA Today coaches' poll but didn't think Navy was in ship shape. Winner: Arizona State.

18. Pinstripe, West Virginia (7-5) vs. Syracuse (7-5), Dec. 29, 12:15 p.m., ESPN: This third-year bowl game at Yankee Stadium will commence with the singing of the national anthem and the booing of Alex Rodriguez. Winner: West Virginia.

17. Famous Idaho Potato, Toledo (9-3) vs. Utah State (10-2), Saturday, 1:30 p.m., ESPN: The MAC vs. the WAC… with a side of curly fries. Toledo lost in overtime at Arizona and to BCS-bowl-bound Northern Illinois. Utah State lost two games by five points. Winner: Utah State.

16. GoDaddy.com, Kent State (11-2) vs. Arkansas State (9-3), Jan. 6, 6 p.m., ESPN: The coaches are gone, Daddy. Kent State's coach left for Purdue and Arkansas State's took off for Auburn. Winner: Arkansas State.

15: Music City, Vanderbilt (8-4) vs. North Carolina State (7-5), Dec. 31, 9 a.m., ESPN: Ain't that a boot in the head? One of the few bowls in which a kicker and a punter have been the game's most valuable player. Winner: Vanderbilt.

14. Las Vegas, Washington (7-5) vs. Boise State (10-2), Dec. 22, 12:30 p.m., ESPN: Fans must purchase separate ticket for second game of doubleheader that starts when Boise opens the 2013 season at Washington. Winner: Boise State.

13. New Mexico, Arizona (7-5) vs. Nevada (7-5), Saturday, 10 a.m., ESPN: Co-host city Roswell urges fans to beware of possible unidentified flying objects in Nevada's seating Area 51. Winner: Arizona.

12. Alamo, Texas (8-4) vs. Oregon State (9-3), Dec. 29, 3:45 p.m., ESPN: No jokes: Three Oregon State players recently walked into a bar … and were arrested. Texas recruited Johnny Manziel … to play defensive back. Winner: Oregon State.

11. Sugar, Florida (11-1) vs. Louisville (10-2), Jan. 2, 5:30 p.m., ESPN: Herbstreit mixes Sweet'N Low with his fizzle stick after ingrates from Northern Illinois knock Oklahoma out of this Bowl Championship Series game. Winner: Florida.

10. Gator, Northwestern (9-3) vs. Mississippi State (8-4), Jan. 1, 9 a.m., ESPN2: Mark this down: Northwestern wins first bowl game since election season in Chicago when Dewey beat Truman in presidential race. Winner: Northwestern.

9. Outback, Michigan (8-4) vs. South Carolina (10-2), Jan. 1, 10 a.m., ESPN: One of these schools played Alabama during the season and the other one plays in the Southeastern Conference. Winner: South Carolina.

8. Capital One, Nebraska (10-3) vs. Georgia (11-2), Jan. 1, 10 a.m., Channel 7: Georgia came within five yards against Alabama of playing for the national title. Nebraska came within 70 points of shutting out Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. Winner: Georgia.

7. Orange, Florida State (11-2) vs. Northern Illinois (12-1), Jan. 1, 5:30 p.m., ESPN: Team that barely survived 6-6 Georgia Tech to win Atlantic Coast Conference faces non-automatic qualifier scourge lambasted for losing one game by one point. Winner: Northern Illinois.

6. Holiday, UCLA (9-4) vs. Baylor (7-5), Dec. 27, 6:45 p.m., ESPN: Coach Jim Mora to implement a full game plan after he's assured by Pac-12 office that UCLA won't have to play Baylor in a rematch six days later. Winner: UCLA.

5. Rose, Stanford (11-2) vs. Wisconsin (8-5), Jan. 1, 2 p.m., ESPN: Call in "Ghost Hunters" if Pop Warner comes out of retirement to coach Stanford against Barry Alvarez. Winner: Wisconsin.

4. Chick-fil-A, Clemson (10-2) vs. Louisiana State (10-2), Dec. 31, 4:30 p.m., ESPN: Irresistible-force offense meets immovable-object defense in a paradox matchup brought to you by drive-thru chicken sandwiches. Winner: Clemson.

3. Cotton, Texas A&M (10-2) vs. Oklahoma (10-2), Jan. 4, 5 p.m., Channel 11: Oklahoma takes on quarterback Johnny Manziel as it tries to avoid going 0-3 against this year's Heisman finalists. Winner: Texas A&M.

2. Fiesta, Kansas State (11-1) vs. Oregon (11-1), Jan. 3, 5:30 p.m., ESPN: You won't believe how up-tempo Oregon Coach Chip Kelly is going to get once NFL teams start calling his cellphone. Winner: Oregon.

1. BCS championship, Notre Dame (12-0) vs. Alabama (12-1), Jan. 7, 5:30 p.m., ESPN: Notre Dame has been preparing for a national title since 1988. One month is all Alabama Coach Nick Saban has ever needed. Winner: Alabama.

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

 

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