Texas Bowl: Syracuse vs. Minnesota
December 27, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN
Well, how about that? Both of the new teams in the ACC this season made a bowl game. The Orange are another 6-6 ACC bowl team, with wins over bowl teams Tulane, Maryland and Boston College. Syracuse has a workhorse back in Jerome Smith and a dual-threat quarterback in Terrel Hunt. The Orange also sport a strong defense capable of breaking into the opposing backfield, and will look to make some noise against a solid Gopher team.
Minnesota was one of the surprise success stories of the Big Ten this season, going 8-4 with wins over Nebraska, Penn State and Northwestern (back when the Wildcats were 4-2). The Gophers sport a 1,000-yard rusher in David Cobb, but are led by SB Nation First-Team All-America defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman, an absolute monster in the middle who will be playing on Sundays next season.
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Michigan vs. Kansas State
December 28, 10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
Michigan started the season 4-0, with tight wins over suspect opponents like Akron and Connecticut balancing out a win over a ranked Notre Dame. A four-overtime loss to Penn State ruined the team's perfect record, and Michigan would end up losing to Michigan State, Nebraska, Iowa and Ohio State. The Wolverines will hope to get more consistent play on both sides of the ball against Kansas State.
After miraculously winning the Big 12 last year, Kansas State struggled this season without quarterback Collin Klein, losing their opener to FCS powerhouse North Dakota State. Their first three games in conference play were losses, to Texas, Oklahoma State and Baylor, before four straight wins (including one over Texas Tech) brought them bowl eligibility.
Gator Bowl: Nebraska vs. Georgia
January 1, Noon ET, ESPN2
Nebraska had a wild season, with head coach Bo Pelini essentially daring the team to fire him after their season-ending loss to Iowa -- the Cornhuskers' fourth defeat of the year. The other losses came to UCLA, Minnesota and Michigan State -- all bowling teams, to Nebraska's credit, but all teams the Husker faithful feel like they should beat. With Taylor Martinez out due to injury, the offensive burden has fallen upon running back Ameer Abdullah, who ran for over 1,500 yards on the season. Georgia would be the best win of the year for Pelini's squad, which can currently point to victories over Michigan and Penn State.
Georgia suffered a litany of injuries throughout the season, but managed to make it through their tough SEC schedule with a winning record and victories over LSU and South Carolina. Star quarterback Aaron Murray joined the group of injured Bulldogs towards the end of the year, and Georgia will have to rely on star sophomore running back Todd Gurley, who scored 15 total touchdowns this season.
Capital One Bowl: Wisconsin vs. South Carolina
January 1, 1 p.m. ET, ABC
Wisconsin was probably the best two-loss team in the country for the first half of the season, when questionable officiating may have cost the Badgers the game against Arizona State and a comeback effort fell just short against Ohio State. Wisconsin did not beat a bowl-eligible team until November 2, when they defeated Iowa, but then they beat BYU and Minnesota to add to their quality wins. The Badgers have two of the best running backs in the nation in Melvin Gordon (12 touchdowns, more than eight yards per carry) and James White (13 touchdowns).
South Carolina was very close to an SEC Championship game berth, with their only losses coming against a healthy Georgia team and a resilient Tennessee one. The Gamecocks beat Missouri and Clemson (as well as everyone else on their schedule) and have perhaps the most talented player in the country in defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
Outback Bowl: Iowa vs. LSU
January 1, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN
Iowa may have the best four losses of any team this side of Texas A&M, falling to Northern Illinois, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes defeated Minnesota, Michigan and Nebraska on their way to a second-place finish in the Legends Division and had one of the best defenses in the country. On offense, workhorse back Mark Weisman carried the ball more than 200 times this season, and Jake Rudock will need to hold on to the ball at quarterback.
LSU will be without star quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who threw for 22 touchdowns before suffering an injury, but sport a top offense and will look to pressure the Hawkeyes. Their three losses came to Georgia, Ole Miss and Alabama, with wins over Auburn and Texas A&M standing as by far their best victories. The Tigers have two excellent receivers in Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham, plus one of the better running backs in the conference in Jeremy Hill.
Rose Bowl: Stanford vs. Michigan State
January 1, 5 p.m. ET, ESPN
Both teams play a similar style of football -- run the ball, hold on to it and play smothering defense -- and it will be a clash of "who wore it better?" in Pasadena.
The Cardinal are led by quarterback Kevin Hogan (20 passing touchdowns), running back Tyler Gaffney (20 rushing touchdowns) and wide receiver Ty Montgomery (10 receiving touchdowns), and beat all seven ranked opponents that they faced. Their only two losses came to unranked teams -- Utah and USC.
Michigan State, meanwhile, has just one loss -- a September game against Notre Dame. The Spartans didn't face much competition in the regular season, and questions arose before their Big Ten Championship Game appearance against Ohio State.
Mark Dantonio's team answered those questions and then some, defeating the Buckeyes 34-24 off a career game from quarterback Connor Cook and shut-down play from perhaps the best defense in the nation.
Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Ohio State
January 3, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Were it not for the rule that no more than two teams per conference can play in BCS games, Clemson might not be here. After all, they finished the season with a convincing loss to South Carolina (after an earlier and even more convincing loss to Florida State), but here they are, hanging their hat on an impressive opening week win over Georgia. Don't let the Bulldogs' slide fool you -- Clemson's win over them was impressive, as it was just about the only time this year Georgia was at full strength.
While Clemson may just be happy to have a BCS bowl berth, Ohio State is certainly not. The Buckeyes' 24-game win streak ended with a thud one Saturday night in Indianapolis, when they lost to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game and sent their national title hopes out the window.