College Football

What are best, worst early bowl matchups?

Champs Sports worth look

Matt Murschel


Orlando Sentinel

When the bowl matchups were announced Sunday night, it was easy to pick out the must-see games and the ones that are simply background noise to your in-laws' holiday visit.


Of the pre-New Year's bowls, the Champs Sports Bowl on Dec. 29 offers one of the most interesting matchups with Florida State and Notre Dame. Two of the most storied college football programs will meet in Orlando, Fla.

As for the least interesting, Utah State plays Ohio on the blue turf at Boise State on Dec. 17 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

Even the Ohio punter tweeted he isn't looking forward to playing in Boise in December.

ND vs. FSU has potential

Brian Hamilton

Chicago Tribune

Coachless Illinois vs. coachless and sub-.500 UCLA in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl is interesting because of its abiding wretchedness. Marshall vs. FIU in the Beef O'Brady's Bowl? A .500 MAC team versus the fourth-place Sun Belt team, with neither offense portending a fireworks display? That's must-flee TV early in the bowl season.


You can't ask for much from these second-tier bowls, of course. Still, the Champs Sports Bowl's Notre Dame vs. Florida State matchup offers two programs with epic history clambering back from awful starts.

If nothing else, watching the Irish's quarterback conundrum unfold against the nation's No. 6 defense could infuse some serious melodrama.

A tasty Chick-fil-A?

Norm Wood

Daily Press


If Auburn cares about playing in the Chick-fil-A Bowl — which it should after barely earning bowl eligibility at 7-5 — the game has a chance to be entertaining. Virginia will be thrilled, considering it is making its first bowl appearance in four years.

One has to wonder if preseason national-title hopeful Oklahoma has any desire to play in the Insight Bowl against Iowa, Sooners coach Bob Stoops' alma mater.

Still, gotta go with Florida International-Marshall in the Beef O'Brady's Bowl as the least interesting pre-New Year's game.

Outside of Huntington, W. Va., does it matter?

RG3 will empower Alamo


Gary Klein

Los Angeles Times

Nothing too compelling on the bowl scene until Jan. 2 and later, so the most interesting pre-New Year's bowl game will be Washington vs. Baylor in the Dec. 29 Alamo Bowl.

The reason: Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III. By the time the game is played, RG3 will be either toting the Heisman Trophy or on a mission to show he should have won it.

There are many contenders for least interesting, but UCLA vs. Illinois in the Dec. 31 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl wins.

The Times' Chris Foster dubbed this the Interim Coach Bowl.


UCLA fired Rick Neuheisel, so Mike Johnson will coach the Bruins. Illinois fired Ron Zook, leaving Vic Koenning to lead the Illini.