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.
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.
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.