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Every 2016-17 college football bowl game, ranked by watchability

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From the Quick Lane to the Playoff, our staff voted on the level of intrigue in bowls across the country. Your thoughts?

The Citrus is the year’s top non-NY6 bowl

College football’s bowl season is upon us. A full schedule is here.

There are 40 bowl games spread from Dec. 17 to Jan. 2, with the National Championship on Jan. 9. Unless you’re watching on multiple monitors and are really committed, you won’t catch all of them. (If that is your plan, more power to you.)

We’ve already sorted out a grid of the bowls based on their watchability. Now it’s time for a comprehensive ranking, 1 through 40.

To do this, I’ve tasked a group at SB Nation — Bill Connelly, Brian Floyd, Bud Elliott, Dan Rubenstein, Harry Lyles Jr., Jason Kirk, Jeanna Thomas, Luke Zimmermann, Matt Brown, Morgan Moriarty, Richard Johnson, Ryan Nanni, and me — to rank the games on a 1-to-5 scale: a 1 means you probably won’t watch (unless it’s your job to do so) and a 5 means you’re captivated.

All of our numerical rankings have been averaged into composite scores for each game. Let us know if we’ve oversold or undersold any particular games. All times are Eastern.

The games to absolutely, undoubtedly watch

Fiesta Bowl semifinal, Ohio State vs. Clemson. Dec. 31, 7 p.m, ESPN.
Watchability score: a perfect 5

Peach Bowl semifinal, Washington vs. Alabama. Dec. 31, 3 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 4.8

Orange Bowl, Florida State vs. Michigan. Dec. 30, 8 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 4.8

Citrus Bowl, Louisville vs. LSU. Dec. 31, 11 a.m., ABC.
Watchability score: 4.8

Rose Bowl, Penn State vs. USC. Jan. 2, 5 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 4.8

These are games you’d expect: the Playoff and other New Year’s Six fare. But the Citrus Bowl has broken through to the top rung, too. Lamar Jackson trying to solve LSU’s athletic defense in a game between two programs who haven’t played each other in their history? Yes, that dog will hunt. The Fiesta Bowl semifinal gets top billing, because it figures to be more competitive than the semifinal that happens to involve Alabama.

Really good options, and you’d hate to miss them

Alamo Bowl, Colorado vs. Oklahoma State. Dec. 29, 9 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 4.5

Cotton Bowl, Wisconsin vs. Western Michigan. Jan. 2, 1 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 4.1

Russell Athletic Bowl, Miami vs. West Virginia. Dec. 28, 5:30 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 3.8

Sugar Bowl, Oklahoma vs. Auburn. Jan. 2, 8:30 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 3.8

Belk Bowl, Virginia Tech vs. Arkansas. Dec. 29, 5:30 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 3.6

Las Vegas Bowl, Houston vs. San Diego State. Dec. 17, 3:30 p.m., ABC.
Watchability score: 3.5

The Alamo is going to be great. Colorado and Oklahoma State are both fun. WMU is repping the Group of 5 in the Cotton Bowl, taking a gorgeous offense to play a tough Wisconsin defense after already going 2-0 against the Badgers’ division. The Belk Bowl’s got some zest to it. The Cinderella in this classification is easily the Vegas, with a pair of enjoyable non-power teams.

Completely fine viewing options

Poinsettia Bowl, BYU vs. Wyoming. Dec. 21, 9 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 3.4

Armed Forces Bowl, Navy vs. Louisiana Tech. Dec. 23, 4:30 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 3.2

Texas Bowl, Kansas State vs. Texas A&M. Dec. 28, 9 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 3.2

Holiday Bowl, Minnesota vs. Washington State. Dec. 27, 7 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 3.2

Sun Bowl, North Carolina vs. Stanford. Dec. 30, 2 p.m., CBS.
Watchability score: 3.2

Boca Raton Bowl, Memphis vs. WKU. Dec. 20, 7 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 3.0

Birmingham Bowl, South Carolina vs. USF. Dec. 29, 2 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 2.9

Camellia Bowl, Toledo vs. Appalachian State. Dec. 17, 5:30 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 2.8

Music City Bowl, Nebraska vs. Tennessee. Dec. 30, 3:30 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 2.8

Liberty Bowl, TCU vs. Georgia. Dec. 30, noon, ESPN.
Watchability score: 2.8

Taxslayer Bowl, Georgia Tech vs. Kentucky. Dec. 31, 11 a.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 2.8

Pinstripe Bowl, Pitt vs. Northwestern. Dec. 28, 2 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 2.6

Everything here is fine. The Poinsettia should be good, because BYU plays close games and Wyoming is all-around enjoyable. The Holiday is a conflict of styles, with groundish-and-poundish Minnesota up against Mike Leach’s air raid. Say hello to the Camellia, which pits a low-key good Toledo against a low-key good Appalachian State. That Armed Forces matchup screams offense, too. I don’t get how TCU-Georgia wound up this high in the year 2016, but we live in a democracy.

The hunt for diamonds in the rough

Foster Farms Bowl, Indiana vs. Utah. Dec. 28, 8:30 p.m., FOX.
Watchability score: 2.4

Cactus Bowl, Baylor vs. Boise State. Dec. 27, 10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN.
Watchability score: 2.2

Bahamas Bowl, Eastern Michigan vs. Old Dominion. Dec. 23, 1 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 2.2

Cure Bowl, UCF vs. Arkansas State. Dec. 17, 5:30 p.m., CBSSN.
Watchability score: 2.1

Miami Beach Bowl, Tulsa vs. Central Michigan. Dec. 19, 2:30 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 2.1

Potato Bowl, Idaho vs. Colorado State. Dec. 22, 7 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 2.0

Dollar General Bowl, Ohio vs. Troy. Dec. 23, 8 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 2.0

New Mexico Bowl, UTSA vs. New Mexico. Dec. 17, 2 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 1.8

Independence Bowl, NC State vs. Vanderbilt. Dec. 26, 5 p.m., ESPN2.
Watchability score: 1.8

Heart of Dallas Bowl, Army vs. North Texas. Dec. 27, noon, ESPN.
Watchability score: 1.8

Hawaii Bowl, Middle Tennessee vs. Hawaii. Dec. 24, 8 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 1.7

Military Bowl, Wake Forest vs. Temple. Dec. 27, 3:30 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 1.7

Arizona Bowl, Air Force vs. South Alabama. Dec. 30, 5:30 p.m., Campus Insiders.
Watchability score: 1.6

New Orleans Bowl. Southern Miss vs. UL Lafayette. Dec. 17, 9 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 1.5

St. Pete Bowl, Mississippi State vs. Miami (Ohio). Dec. 26, 11 a.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: 1.5

If you skip any of these, you’re not going to trudge into work the next day and feel like an outcast. But several will wind up being worthwhile. Baylor-Boise State could have infinite points scored, which could be good.

Hey, these are also football games

Outback Bowl, Florida vs. Iowa. Jan. 2, 1 p.m., ABC.
Watchability score: 1.2

Quick Lane Bowl, Maryland vs. Boston College. Dec. 26, 2:30 p.m., ESPN.
Watchability score: a perfect 1

At least your free steakhouse appetizer hinges on the Florida-Iowa result. I went to Maryland, and I can’t muster the strength to tell you to watch the Quick Lane. But it is a football game, and that’s a point in its favor.