Music City Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Georgia Tech
December 30, 3:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
Another disappointing season for Georgia Tech means Paul Johnson's seat might be starting to warm up. After a 3-0 start (including wins over Duke and North Carolina), the Yellow Jackets dropped three in a row, including games to Coastal competitors Miami and Virginia Tech. They then went on another strong stretch, beating Syracuse, Virginia and Pittsburgh before finishing the year with a win against Alabama A&M sandwiched between losses to Clemson and Georgia. With Johnson's Jackets, you can expect more of the same -- the triple-option, now with passing! Vad Lee is likely the best passer Johnson has had in his system.
Ole Miss also started the year 3-0 (with wins over Vanderbilt and Texas) before three straight losses (Alabama, Auburn and Texas A&M -- it's forgivable). A win over LSU put the Rebels on the national radar and helped boost a four-game winning streak. Losses to Missouri and Mississippi State ended the season on a sour note, and Hugh Freeze will be hoping to turn things around against the Yellow Jackets. Ole Miss is led on offense by quarterback Bo Wallace, whose touchdown total has fell from 31 last year to 21 this season (although his interceptions have dropped as well, from 17 to nine).
Liberty Bowl: Rice vs. Mississippi State
December 31, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN
This will make four consecutive bowl games for Dan Mullen, and the head coach has found himself off the hot seat for now. The Bulldogs' six losses this season were understandable -- Oklahoma State, Auburn, LSU, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Alabama are all very, very good teams -- and fans who are concerned about the future of the program still get to enjoy an Egg Bowl win. Dak Prescott has led the way for the Bulldog offense, with 20 total touchdowns, and a solid defensive effort has kept them in quite a few games.
Rice opened the year 1-2 with losses to Texas A&M and Houston, and won their first four conference games to cement themselves as contenders in the Conference USA West. The Owls suffered their only conference loss of the year to North Texas, and pulled off a blowout upset win against Marshall in the conference title game to find their way to this game. The Owls boast one of the top rushing offenses in the nation, with running back Charles Ross and quarterback Taylor McHargue proving themselves to be legitimate weapons out of the backfield.
Chick-fil-A Bowl: Duke vs. Texas A&M
December 31, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Swofford allegedly campaigned the Chick-fil-A Bowl to include Duke here over Miami -- a well-deserved reward for the Coastal Division winners. The Blue Devils ended the regular season with eight straight wins -- including victories over Virginia Tech and Miami -- en route to their first-ever division title and a very good bowl opportunity. Quarterback guru David Cutcliffe has molded two good ones in Anthony Boone and Brandon Connette -- the former more of a passer, while the latter is a dangerous short-yardage rusher (26 total touchdowns).
Texas A&M went a disappointing 8-4 this season, with losses to Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Missouri -- safely four of the best five teams in the conference, along with South Carolina (whom the Aggies did not play). Yes, the Aggies' best wins come against Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Rice, but they do have 2012 Heisman winner and human highlight reel Johnny Manziel, who had 41 total touchdowns this year (slightly down from his 47 last season).
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.
Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Alabama
January 2, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
In mid-November, it looked nearly impossible that Oklahoma could find their way to a BCS bowl. Sure, they had wins over ranked Notre Dame and Texas Tech teams, but neither was looking quite as good as the numbers to the left of their names might have suggested. The only real challenges the Sooners faced were against Texas and Baylor -- both resulted in blowout losses.
But Oklahoma recovered, easily defeating Iowa State and Kansas State before pulling out a dramatic upset win in Stillwater to rob rival Oklahoma State of the conference crown while simultaneously taking away their BCS berth.
The Sooners will face Alabama, who many (especially in SEC country) still believe to be the best team in the country. The winners of the past two national title games, the Tide lost a heartbreaker to Auburn on a returned field goal for a touchdown with no time remaining. Alabama has a solid quarterback in AJ McCarron, two fantastic playmakers in T.J. Yeldon and Amari Cooper, and one of the best defenses you will ever see.
Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Missouri
January 3, 7:30 p.m., FOX
Oklahoma State suffered one of the more bizarre losses of the season, as the Cowboys fell to a 4-8 West Virginia team that had just lost 37-0 to Maryland the week before. Mike Gundy's squad recovered, winning seven in a row -- including blowout wins over Texas Tech, Texas and undefeated Baylor -- before losing at home to lose their conference title and BCS berth.
Clint Chelf has done wonders in the second half of the season as the Cowboys' quarterback, and the dual threat will be faced with a tough task in this one.
Missouri started the year 7-0, with wins over ranked Georgia and Florida teams before a double-overtime loss to South Carolina seemingly dashed their national title hopes. But after wins over Ole Miss and Texas A&M, the Tigers found themselves in prime position to get a shot at the crown again, as the winners of the SEC East and representatives in the conference title game. Auburn reigned supreme, however, and Missouri and their aggressive defense end up playing an old conference foe.
BBVA Compass Bowl: Vanderbilt vs. Houston
January 4, 1 p.m., ESPN
James Franklin's incredible job at Vanderbilt continues, as the Commodores will go to a third straight bowl game for the first time in school history and have a chance at consecutive nine-win seasons. Vanderbilt's most impressive win came against Georgia, and they finished the year with four straight wins. Wide receiver Jordan Matthews caught more than 100 passes this season, and the Commodores sport a stout defense.
Houston will look to prove the AAC is for real after playing a schedule that allowed them to go 8-4 with their most impressive win being either Rice or Rutgers. To their credit, even though the Cougars lost against the three AAC competitors (Louisville, Cincinnati and UCF), they did so in close games -- none was by more than seven points. Deontay Greenberry is a very good receiver, and has over 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.
BCS National Championship Game: Florida State vs. Auburn
January 6, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Florida State was, undoubtedly, the best team in college football this season. If you want to go by no other metric, feel safe with this one -- they were the only team to win every game on their schedule, and they did it with great gusto, winning by an average of nearly 43 points.
The Seminoles have the Heisman-winner in quarterback Jameis Winston, who threw for 38 touchdowns and ran for four more, and one of the best defenses in the nation. Nearly every starter on the team is expected to be drafted, and they are a fearful sight to behold as an opponent.
One year after going winless in SEC play, Auburn is in the national title game. Sporting new head coach Gus Malzah, SB Nation's national Coach of the Year, and an exciting, run-first offense, the Tigers overcame an early-season loss to LSU, winning nine straight games with victories over Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Georgia, Alabama and Missouri.
Former defensive back Nick Marshall has shown he'll be just fine as a quarterback, with 23 total touchdowns and over 1,000 yards rushing, while workhorse back Tre Mason ran for over 1,600 yards and 22 touchdowns by himself.