Congratulations. You've made it through the Potato Bowl, the Meineke Car Care Bowl and a handful of other less than glorious postseason college football games. This week is when it gets good.
New Year's Eve provides the best slate of bowl games to date, including a night cap between two teams ranked in the top 15. Let's take a look at the best draft prospects in each game.
Music City Bowl, 12:00 EST, ESPN
N.C. State vs. Vanderbilt
The day's first game features a quarterback who will surely be discussed at great length between now and April. Mel Kiper Jr. has already touted N.C. State's Mike Glennon as the best quarterback in this class, and the hype is building. Glennon possesses ideal size and arm talent, but his performance under pressure leaves a lot to be desired. Vanderbilt's defense should provide a nice test. Defensive tackle Rob Lohr is a tough player on the inside, showing some solid ability to shed blocks. Meanwhile, cornerback Trey Wilson and linebacker Archibald Barnes are also worth watching.
Vanderbilt's offense also has some NFL level talent. Running back Zac Stacy is a tough runner with outstanding vision. He's really coming on strong in his senior season. Quarterback Jordan Rodgers will get a look based on his name alone, but he's no more than a late round option. His top wide receiver Jordan Matthews, though, is a big target who can stretch the field. He's struggled a bit with drops but has potential to be a playmaker. It will be interesting to see him matched up on N.C. State cornerback David Amerson, who has had an up and down junior season. The Wolfpack has a fair amount of NFL talent in its secondary, so Rodgers and Matthews could have their work cut out for them.
Sun Bowl, 2 p.m. EST, CBS
Georgia Tech vs. USC
Matt Barkley isn't going to be able to play in the Sun Bowl, which significantly drives the interest down. His two dominant wide receivers will be playing, however. Marqise Lee is the better wideout, but Robert Woods is draft eligible. Georgia Tech cornerback Rod Sweating, who has been inconsistent in downfield coverage, will be tasked with covering one of the two. That will be a big time test for Sweating, who projects as a mid-round prospect at this point. The Yellow Jackets also have some talent in the front-seven, namely defensive tackle T.J. Barnes and linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu. USC senior center Khaled Holmes will have his hands full.
The Georgia Tech offense makes it tough to evaluate its individual prospects. Wide receiver/running back Orwin Smith is a very intriguing playmaker. USC cornerback Nickell Robey is undersized but a solid cover man. Meanwhile, safety T.J. McDonald is a heavy hitter who finds himself out of position. Georgia Tech guard Omoregie Uzzi is also on NFL radars.
AutoZone Liberty Bowl, 3:30 p.m. EST, ESPN
Iowa State vs. Tulsa
Neither Iowa State or Tulsa packs a huge punch in terms of NFL Draft talent, but there are a few names to keep an eye on if you stumble upon this game on Monday. Iowa State linebackers A.J. Klein and Jake Knott both have a chance at getting drafted. For Tulsa, watch out for wide receiver Willie Carter, offensive tackle Trent Dupy and safety Dexter McCoil.
Chik-Fil-A Bowl, 7:30 p.m. EST, ESPN
LSU vs. Clemson
Two teams that came just shy of meeting their expectations will take the field for the Chik-Fil-A Bowl. For LSU, the defensive prospects are the biggest story. Defensive ends Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo entered the season with a ton of hype, but neither lived up to expectations this season. Montgomery was much more stiff after adding weight, and Mingo was inconsistent and had spotty production. Linebacker Kevin Minter may have emerged as the best draft prospect on LSU's defense. He's emerged as the leader of this defense. Safety Eric Reid is also one to watch. Some consider him the best safety in this class, but he's far from a slam dunk in coverage.
The Clemson offense should give the LSU defense a run for its money. Wide receivers Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins provide Clemson with two big time targets on the outside. Only Hopkins is draft eligible. Junior quarterback Tajh Boyd has made strides this season and is a big reason for the success of those two wideouts. Running back Andre Ellington is also an explosive playmaker out of the backfield. He has questionable vision and power, but he makes quick cuts and has outstanding straight-line speed.
Defensively, a few Clemson players are worth tracking. Defensive end Malliciah Goodman, linebacker Quandon Christian and safety Jonathan Meeks all earn draftable grades. Clemson has enough fire power to slow down an LSU offense led by quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who hasn't impressed much this season.