All 43 college football bowl games, ranked by watchability

Things get real in December.

Real difficult from a scheduling perspective.

Between the holidays pulling you in multiple directions, the NFL sliding towards the playoffs, and college football’s bowl season getting underway, there are perhaps far too many demands on your time.

So we are here to help.

You might not be able to watch every single bowl game this year. Which, well, maybe that is not the best for your overall health. So if you need to prioritize which games to watch, which games to perhaps DVR, and which games to just follow on social media, we have you covered.

With the definitive rankings of every bowl game. Players to watch! Storylines to follow! Coaching changes! Opt-outs! Ribs in freezers!

Get comfortable, as we are going to be here a while.

43. TransPerfect Music City Bowl

Iowa (7-5) vs. Kentucky (7-5)
December 31, 12:00 p.m. ET

My brother/sister/non-binary ally in Christ, if you’re watching this for any reason, please get some help.

The over/under right now is set at 31.5, and I would take the under.

42. Hometown Lenders Bahamas Bowl

Miami (OH) (6-6) vs. UAB (6-6)
December 16, 11:30 a.m. ET

Bowl season kicks off with the Hometown Lenders Bahamas Bowl, set for December 16 from Thomas Robinson Stadium in Nassau, Bahamas. UAB finished 6-6, and won their final game against Louisiana Tech to even achieve bowl eligibility. Miami, also finished with a 6-6 record, and you could make the case that this is their second “playoff” game of the season, In their season finale, they played against Ball State, and it was announced that the winner would get the bid to the Bahamas Bowl.

Why should you watch this game? To get a baseline for the UAB program before new head coach Trent Dilfer takes over the program. The former NFL quarterback, who was the head coach at Lipscomb Academy the past few seasons, was named as the next head coach at UAB at the end of November.

Why should you not watch this game? Well, and seeing the Bahamas in the middle of December might not put you in the best of moods, depending on where you are joining us from.

41. Camellia Bowl

Georgia Southern (6-6) vs. Buffalo (6-6)
December 27, 12:00 p.m. ET

If you like scoring, this could be the game for you.

Because these defenses let up a lot of points.

Buffalo ranked 74th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 27.17 points per game this year. While that is bad, Georgia Southern was worse. The Eagles allowed 32.33 points per game during 2022, ranking 112nd in the nation.

Expect the ground game to be a heavy factor for both offenses. The Eagles averaged 213.5 yards per game this year on the ground, good for 16th in the nation. Running back Jalen White led the way for Georgia Southern this year with 915 rushing yards, but he was hurt late in the season and missed their final game of the year.

For Buffalo, who needed a win in the season finale to reach bowl eligibility, running backs Mike Washington and Ron Cook Jr. are players to watch.

40. LendingTree Bowl

Rice (5-7) vs. Southern Miss (6-6)
December 17, 5:45 p.m. ET

Rice is the only 5-7 team to make a bowl this year.

Southern Mississippi finished with a 6-6 record.

Decisions have to be made, and with this game coming during the dinner hour on a Saturday on the East Coast, maybe you can keep up with one on Twitter or something.

39. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Eastern Michigan (8-4) vs. San Jose State (7-4)
December 20, 3:30 p.m. ET

This has been a difficult season for the San Jose State Spartans. Freshman running back Camden McWright died tragically in a traffic accident in October, and the team canceled their game against New Mexico State that was to take place the next night.

But the Spartans won three of their final five game, and enter bowl season led by an efficient passing game. Quarterback Chevan Cordeiro has completed 60.8% of his passes for 2,885 yards and 20 touchdowns, against just 4 interceptions. The junior ranks 53rd in the nation in passing efficiency.

On the other side of the field, Eastern Michigan enters bowl season on a bit of a hot streak, having won three-straight games to finish the regular season with an 8-4 record. Only a loss to Toledo in their regular-season meeting prevented the Eagles from playing in the conference championship game. A win in this game would give them their best record since 1987, when they finished 10-2.

38. Guaranteed Rate Bowl

Wisconsin (6-6) vs. Oklahoma State (7-5)
December 27, 10:45 p.m. ET

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Iowa

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

This game is starting at 10:45 p.m. eastern for a reason.

Beyond the fact it is being played in Arizona.

Wisconsin lost three of their first five game, fired head coach Paul Chryst after a 34-10 loss to Illinois, and are headed into this game with Graham Mertz at quarterback, who just announced he was entering the transfer portal. Expect the Badgers to get a look at their quarterback depth in this game. But in speaking with some friends who are Wisconsin fans, I’m not sure even they are going to be watching.

Oklahoma State started the year red-hot, winning their first five games to rise to 7th in the polls. But they lost five of their last seven games, tumbling out of the rankings.

Still, if you insist on watching, there is someone to keep an eye on. Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen ran for 1,126 yards and 10 touchdowns this year, and despite rumors that he would enter the transfer portal, he announced earlier this month he was staying with the Badgers. He suffered an injury late in the season, so his status for the game is up in the air.

37. Boca Raton Bowl

Liberty (8-4) vs. Toledo (8-5)
December 20, 7:30 p.m. ET

For a while it looked like Liberty was destined for an even bigger bowl game. The Flames were 8-1, were ranked 19th in the nation, and were coming off a win over Arkansas. But then word came out that Hugh Freeze was in the mix for the Auburn job, and the team lost three-straight games, including losses to UConn and New Mexico State, to limp to an 8-4 record.

They’ll square off with a Toledo team that lost their final two games of the regular season to limp into the MAC Championship game, but the Rockets rebounded to beat Ohio in that contest. Starting quarterback DeQuan Finn has been dealing with an ankle injury, but when healthy he is an electric player. He threw for 2,127 yards and 22 touchdowns this season, but added another 608 rushing yards, along with 8 touchdowns. He threw for a touchdown in the win over Ohio, and added another 86 rushing yards in the victory.

36. EasyPost Hawai’i Bowl

Middle Tennessee State (7-5) vs. San Diego State (7-5)
December 24, 8:00 p.m. ET

You might think at the outset that the EasyPost Hawai’i Bowl should be lower on this list.

But hear us out.

Sure, the NFL has shifted the bulk of their Week 16 schedule to this day, with 11 games slated for Christmas Eve. But the prime-time game that night? Raiders versus Steelers.

So you can gather the family around and watch these teams try and keep their slim playoff hopes alive, or watch a coaching battle between Brady Hoke and Rick Stockstill.

Sound enticing?

Okay maybe it should be lower. But look at some of the games we have already ranked. We’re doing the best we can here.

35. Quick Lane Bowl

New Mexico State (6-6) vs. Bowling Green (6-6)
December 26, 2:30 p.m. ET

Syndication: The Coloradoan

Michael Madrid / USA TODAY NETWORK

Monday December 26 offers just one bowl game.

A thrilling matchup of a pair of 6-6 teams.

However, both teams are probably very happy to be here. Bowling Green is going bowling for the first time since 2015, when they lost in the GoDaddy Bowl. The Falcons also have a chance to finish with a winning record for the first time since that year, when they finished 10-4.

As for the Aggies, this is just their fifth bowl game in school history, and their first since 2017. They needed wins against Lamar and Valparaiso to qualify for a bowl game, and while life as an independent has been difficult for New Mexico State, they have yet to lose a bowl game.

It’s true! They won the 2017 Arizona Bowl against Utah State, they won back-to-back Sun Bowls in 1959 and 1960, and tied in the 1935 Sun Bowl against Hardin-Simmons.

So, don’t you want to see that streak survive?

34. Arizona Bowl

Ohio (9-4) vs. Wyoming (7-5)
December 30, 4:30 p.m. p.m. ET

This game has potential to be a fun one, but Ohio is coming in banged up. Star QB Kurtis Rourke is out for the bowl game due to the knee injury he suffered in late November. CJ Harris threw for 163 yards, but also turned the ball over in the 17-7 loss in the MAC championship. Ohio’s defense is solid but unspectacular, giving up an average of 420 yards per game. In the MAC title game, they gave up 236 yards rushing.

Unfortunately, that’s all Wyoming enjoys doing. According to TeamRankings, the Cowboys are 13th in percentage of rushing plays they run and average 5.3 yards per attempt. Titus Swen has over 1,000 yards on the ground and eight touchdowns, and three other players have gone over 300 yards on the ground for the season. This game will be won or lost in the trenches.

33. Duke’s Mayo Bowl

Maryland (7-5) vs. N.C. State (8-4) (23)
December 30, 12:00 p.m. ET

We’re going to be honest here.

This could have been something special.

There was a time when the Duke’s Mayo Bowl was in the running for the top overall spot on these prestigious rankings. Which could have vaulted the Duke’s Mayo Bowl into contention for even bigger matchups in years to come. Mayo Bowl committee members could point to their top ranking on this list to entice some of CFB’s best teams to spend the end of the year in lovely Charlotte.

Not anymore.

Because you crushed the dreams of our dear friend James Dator. All he wanted was a chance to fulfill a life-long dream, and dump some mayonnaise on a football coach. This meant the world to him.

But you went in a different direction.

That was certainly your right. But it is also our right to rank this game as we see fit.

32. SERVPRO First Responder Bowl

Memphis (6-6) vs. Utah State (6-6)
December 27, 3:15 p.m. ET

A pair of 6-6 teams meet in the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl. Utah State overcame four-straight losses early in the year — including a loss to Weber State — to finish with three wins in their final four games to qualify for a bowl.

Memphis overcame a four-game stretch of losses as well, winning two of their last three to qualify for a bowl game. One of those wins came against North Alabama.

So what we are saying is … do not expect much from this one.

31. Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl

Syracuse (7-5) vs. Minnesota (8-4)
December 29, 2:00 p.m. ET

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Boston College

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

This game features two very talented running backs, in Mohamed Ibrahim from Minnesota and Sean Tucker from Syracuse.

Ibrahim bounced back from an early season injury a year ago to rush for 1,594 yards and 19 touchdowns, both of which were career-high numbers. That placed Ibrahim fourth among running backs, behind only DeWayne McBride from UAB, Chase Brown from Illinois and Brad Roberts from Air Force. He also led the Big Ten in touchdowns — for the second time — and was named a First-Team All-Big Ten selection.

Tucker could not duplicate his big numbers from a season ago, but still ran for 1,060 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Orange got off to a hot start, winning their first six games to rise up to 14th in the rankings, but five-straight losses saw them limp to a 7-5 finish.

If both Ibrahim and Tucker play, this could be fun. But something tells us one, or both, might decide to opt out. Would you want to play in a football game in Yankee Stadium at the end of December?

30. Wasabi Fenway Bowl

Louisville (7-5) vs. Cincinnati (9-3)
December 17, 11:00 a.m. ET

At the outset, this game is going to be played at historic Fenway Park in Boston. So it has that going for it.

But that is not all.

Cincinnati lost head coach Luke Fickell recently, as he was hired to take over the program at Wisconsin. He will also be coaching Wisconsin in their bowl game.

The new hire at Cincinnati?

Current Louisville head coach Scott Satterfield.

Satterfield announced that he is removing himself from the game, which might be a good thing, because the unique layout of Fenway Park for this game is going to have both teams on the same sideline. Former Louisville wide receiver Deion Branch — who played for the New England Patriots — will be the interim coach for Louisville for the game, while Kerry Coombs will coach Cincinnati.

29. Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl

Pittsburgh (8-4) vs. UCLA (9-3) (18)
December 30, 2:00 p.m. ET

The Bruins were a ton of fun this season. Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson vaulted into Heisman consideration earlier this season as UCLA piled up wins, and running back Zach Charbonnet improved on a strong 2021 season with an even better campaign this year, rushing for 1,359 yards and 14 touchdowns. The Bruins finished the season ranked fourth in the nation, averaging 246.3 yards per game on the ground.

That run game will be tested by Pat Narduzzi’s defense. The Panthers were one of the best run defenses in all of college football, allowing just 95.5 yards per game on the ground. That might lead to more opportunities for Thompson-Robinson in the passing game, which could make for a great game to watch.

28. Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl

Louisiana (6-6) vs. Houston (7-5)
December 23, 3:00 p.m. ET

NCAA Football: Tulsa at Houston

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

This could be a sneakily-good game this bowl season, and the schedule could make it even more enticing, as it comes on Friday afternoon on the 23rd, which might be the exact moment many of you are shutting things down for the holiday weekend. That fact alone could bump this up in the rankings.

But let’s talk about these teams. Houston has one of the most efficient passing games in the country, led by quarterback Clayton Tune, who threw for 3,845 yards and 37 touchdowns this year. Nathaniel Dell will be a slot receiver on Sundays, and led Houston with 103 receptions for 1,354 yards and 15 touchdowns.

As for Louisiana? They have one of the best pass defenses in the country. The Ragin’ Cajuns allowed just 117.53 passing yards per game this year, ranking 20th in the nation. According to Sports Info Solutions, they allowed an EPA/Dropback of just -0.188 this season, ranking 16th in the nation.

A style of contrasts to kick off the holiday weekend? Sign us up.

27. Frisco Bowl

North Texas (7-6) vs. Boise State (9-4)
December 17, 9:15 p.m. ET

There are some incredible storylines in the Frisco Bowl.

We can start with North Texas. The Mean Green lost to UTSA in the Conference USA Championship game, finishing the year with a 7-6 record. But that was not enough to save head coach Sean Littrell’s job, as he was fired ahead of the bowl game. Still, they will look to salvage the season with a win over Boise State, and that effort will be led by starting quarterback Austin Aune. Aune threw for 3,309 yards and 32 touchdowns, this season.

At the age of 29.

He was drafted by the New York Yankees in the second round of the 2012 MLB draft, but when the diamond did not work out, he returned to football in 2018.

Then there are the Broncos. They began this season with a 34-17 loss to Oregon State, followed by another loss to UTEP a few weeks later to start out 2-2. Starting quarterback Hank Bachmeier was benched after the UTEP loss, and offensive coordinator Tim Plough was let go, to be replaced by former NFL coach Dirk Koetter.

With Koetter at the helm of the offense, and redshirt freshman Taylen Green taking the snaps, the Broncos offense showed more potential after the change. Green completed 61.4% of his passes for 1,905 yards and 13 touchdowns, along with 6 interceptions.

26. Military Bowl Presented by Peraton

UCF (9-4) vs. Duke (8-4)
December 28, 2:00 p.m. ET

This game is going to be a throwback, and a true test of strength versus strength.

UCF probably had visions of a bigger game, but a loss in the AAC Championship game to Tulane sees them head to Annapolis for the Military Bowl. What do they do well? Run the football. They rank eighth in the nation, averaging 236.1 yards per game. They also rank 26th in the nation, according to Sports Info Solutions, with an EPA/rush of 0.010. Running backs Isaiah Bowser and R.J. Harvey, along with quarterback John Rhys Plumlee, are a big part of that effort.

What does Duke do well?

Stop the run.

The Blue Devils allowed just 121.8 yards per game this year on the ground, ranking 25th in the FBS. They were also 25th in EPA/rush, allowing an EPA of -0.122 this year according to SIS.

25. TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl

Coastal Carolina (9-3) vs. East Carolina (7-5)
December 27, 6:45 p.m. ET

This game seemed a lot more enticing a few weeks ago, but things have changed. Coastal Carolina head coach Jamey Chadwell is headed to Liberty, and starting quarterback Grayson McCall suffered a foot injury at the start of November. Coastal Carolina announced that defensive coordinator Chad Staggs will be the interim coach for their bowl game, and the school hired N.C. State offensive coordinator Tim Beck as their next head coach.

McCall’s status for the game has yet to be determined.

As for East Carolina, this is their first bowl game since the 2014 Birmingham Bowl, which they lost to Florida. They were set to play Boston College in the Military Bowl a year ago, but that game was canceled. Running back Keaton Mitchell is the player to watch. He finished 18th in the nation with 1,325 rushing yards, scoring 13 touchdowns.

24. Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl

Wake Forest (7-5) vs. Missouri (6-6)
December 23, 6:30 p.m. ET

We need to talk about Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman for a moment.

As last season wound down, Hartman was working his way into the draft conversation. Perhaps that was due to the overall strength — or lack thereof — of last season’s QB class, but many were sliding Hartman up draft boards a year ago.

However, Hartman decided to return to campus for one more season.

He then missed time early in the year for an undisclosed medical condition, but he recently opened up about his situation. He developed a blood clot in his subclavian vein that required surgery, and the removal of a rib.

That rib is now in Hartman’s freezer, and he is planning on turning it into a necklace.


As for Missouri, they are 6-6 on the season, and needed wins over New Mexico State and Abilene Christian just to get to .500.

Still, it is football on a Friday night to kickoff what might be a long holiday weekend. So, there’s that!

23. SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl

Florida (6-6) vs. Oregon State (9-3) (14)
December 17, 2:30 p.m. ET

NCAA Football: Oregon at Oregon State

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Once upon a time, this game was going to be an opportunity to evaluate Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson. However, Richardson has already declared for the draft, and will be skipping the SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl. However, there are still reasons to tune in, because Oregon State is seeking their first ten-win season since 2006. To do that, they’ll need to slow down a Florida rushing attack led by Trevor Etienne and Montrell Johnson, and that rushing attack might see even more work with Richardson opting-out of the game.

Speaking of running backs, the Beavers have a talented back of their own in Damien Martinez. Martinez won Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year, and was also named to the All-Pac-12 First-team. He ran for 970 yards and 7 touchdowns this season. He’ll be a player to watch for next year, and beyond.

22. Myrtle Beach Bowl

Marshall (8-4) vs. UConn (6-6)
December 19, 2:30 p.m. ET

Jim Mora deserves a ton of credit for the turnaround at UConn this season. The Huskies got off to a rough start, beginning the year 1-4, and it looked like this campaign would end up much like recent years, as the Huskies entered the season with a 4-31 record over the last three campaigns.

But they went 5-2 down the stretch to finish with 6 wins, and even defeated Mountain West Champions Fresno State along the way, along with a Liberty team that was ranked at the time.

On the other side of the field, Marshall put together a great first season in the Sun Belt, finishing with an 8-4 record. Running back Khalan Laborn, an All-Sun Belt selection, leads the way, as he ran for 1,423 yards and 16 touchdowns this year.

Also? This game is the only bowl game on Monday the 19th. So, adjust your schedules accordingly. That bumps it up a bit because, well, what else are you going to watch at 2:30 eastern?

Ok, so we are halfway home. Maybe take a break, stretch, and get some water before we close this out. It’s important to stay hydrated you know. You don’t want to be a selfish reader.

21. Cricket Celebration Bowl

Jackson State (12-0) vs. N.C. Central (9-2)
December 17, 12:00 p.m. ET

Deion Sanders was recently named the next head coach at Colorado. But before he leaves for the Pac-12, he has some unfinished business at Jackson State.

Coaching the SWAC champions against MEAC Champions N.C. Central.

It is also a chance to see his son, Shedeur Sanders, play quarterback one more time before moving with his father to Colorado. Shedeur Sanders was one more the most productive quarterbacks this past season at the FCS level, throwing for 3,409 yards and 36 touchdowns, against just 6 interceptions.

He’ll be squaring off with one of the best defenses in the FCS. N.C. Central ranked 13th in the FCS in scoring defense, allowing just 20.36 points per game this season.

20. Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

Baylor (6-6) vs. Air Force (9-3)
December 22, 7:30 p.m. ET

Are you a fan of the running game? This could be the game for you. Air Force is going to run the football, and then run it some more. They led all of college football with 734 rushing attempts this year, the only team to eclipse 700 attempts on the season. As a team they ran for 3,993 yards, the most in college football. They’re pretty good at it too, as they ranked 10th in the nation in EPA/Rush, according to charting data from Sports Info Solutions.

Just do not expect them to put the ball in the air too much. They attempted just 96 passes on the season.

Last year, Baylor had one of the best defenses in all of college football. But much has changed since last year. The Bears ranked just 65th in scoring defense this year, allowing 26.58 points per game. They were also 44th in run defense this year allowing 137.6 yards per game on the ground, and ranked 44th in yards allowed per rush, giving up an average of 3.83 yards per rushing attempt.

Long live the flexbone.

19. Cheez-It Citrus Bowl

LSU (9-4) (17) vs. Purdue (8-5)
January 2, 1:00 p.m. ET

A lot of this game revolves around the health of Jayden Daniels. If he’s healthy, the LSU offense is hard to stop both on the air and on the ground. Kayshon Boutte will be returning to the Tigers, and he gives LSU a ball winner on the outside. Purdue is up for the challenge, but head coach Jeff Brohm seems to be headed to Louisville. Could be something to monitor.

18. TaxSlayer Gator Bowl

Notre Dame (8-4) (21) vs. South Carolina (8-4) (19)
December 30, 3:30 p.m. ET

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Florida

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

If you look up the definition of momentum, it’s probably got a photo of Shane Beamer wearing sunglasses. The Gamecocks enter the Gator Bowl after beating both Tennessee and Clemson to end the regular season, and Beamer ball is in full swing. QB Spencer Rattler will be playing in the bowl game, which means that there’s bound to be explosive plays (whether they be for the Gamecock offense or against them is yet to be seen). Also, shoutout to the King of Punts Kai Kroger, who helped beat Clemson with some BOOMING punts.

Notre Dame is in a really interesting position. QB Drew Pyne is entering the transfer portal, leaving QB Tyler Buchner in the starting position. The Fighting Irish offense started off in a lull, but seemed to have found its’ stride behind a running game led by Audric Estime and Logan Diggs. The defense is still formidable, with Benjamin Morrison coming along strong at the corner position.

17. TaxAct Texas Bowl

Texas Tech (7-5) vs. Mississippi (8-4)
December 28, 9:00 p.m. ET

Lane Kiffin in a bowl game is always fun. We might get some Taylor Swift lyrics, fire extinguishers on the sideline, and more.

We will also get one of the best running games in the nation. Mississippi ranked third in college football, averaging 261.6 yards per game on the ground this year. Only Air Force and Army were better. Running back Quinshon Judkins is the player to watch there, as the freshman finished seventh in the nation with 1,476 rushing yards.

That run game will be tested, however, as Texas Tech allowed an EPA/rush of just -0.113 this season, ranking 31st in the nation according to Sports Info Solutions.

Yes, the two bowls sponsored by tax preparation companies are ranked right next to each other. This is a not-too-subtle reminder that tax season is nearly upon us dear friends.

Although if you have made it this far, diving into some W-2s is probably the last thing you feel like doing right now. So visit either TaxAct or TaxSlayer to take care of all your filing needs, or something.

16. R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Western Kentucky (8-5) vs. South Alabama (10-2)
December 21, 9:00 p.m. ET

Five points.

Five points were the difference between South Alabama finishing the regular season 12-0, and finishing the regular season 10-2. A one-point loss to UCLA in September — highlighted by a rather curious fourth-down play — and a four-point loss to Troy were their only hiccups on the season. The loss to Troy prevented the Jaguars from appearing in the Sun Belt Championship game.

But they have one of the best running games in the nation, as they rank 29th in yards per game, averaging 197.9 per game on the ground. La’Damian Webb is a big part of that effort, as the Florida State transfer gained 1,019 yards this year on the ground.

As for Western Kentucky, they do it through the air. The Hilltoppers throw early and often, as quarterback Austin Reed led the nation with 548 passing attempts. He threw for 4,249 yards — second most in the FBS — and 36 touchdowns, just behind a trio of passers who led FBS with 37.

15. New Mexico Bowl

SMU (7-5) vs. BYU (7-5)
December 17, 7:30 p.m. ET

If you like scoring, you are going to want to watch this game.

Because both offenses can put up points. BYU’s offense put up an average of 31.9 points per game this season, ranking 41st in the nation. SMU was even better, averaging 38.4 points per game to rank 13th in the nation.

If that’s not enough, consider this.

Both defenses struggled this season. BYU allowed an average of 30 points per game this season, ranking 100th in the nation, while SMU allowed 34.67 points per game this year, ranking 123rd.

So what we’re saying is hammer the over.

Also, there are some players in this game who might be playing on Sundays. BYU quarterback Jaren Hall is a name to watch, as he completed 66% of his passes for 3,171 yards and 31 touchdowns this year, against just 6 interceptions. SMU receiver Rashee Rice, who caught 96 passes for 1,355 yards and 10 touchdowns this year, is another name to know for the draft. Those 96 receptions were fourth most in the FBS. However, Rice opted-out of the game.

Points! Draft prospects! Saturday night in New Mexico! What could be better?

Well, 14 games, apparently.

14. ReliaQuest Bowl

Mississippi State (8-4) (22) vs. Illinois (8-4)
January 2, 12:00 p.m. ET

Watch this one for Coach Leach, and ask a ton of questions along the way.

That’s what he would have wanted.

13. Capital One Orange Bowl

Tennessee (10-2) (6) vs. Clemson (11-2) (7)
December 30, 8:00 p.m. ET

NCAA Football: ACC Football Championship-Clemson at North Carolina

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Hey look, it’s two orange teams that were beaten by South Carolina!

In all seriousness, this game should be a pretty fun battle between an explosive offense and dynamic defense. Tennessee, despite missing QB Hendon Hooker, hung 56 on Vanderbilt with QB Joe Milton. Milton is nowhere near as accurate as Hooker, but whoo buddy can he throw the ball over them mountains. Jalin Hyatt and Cedric Tillman haven’t discussed whether they will play in the bowl game or not, but if they do that offense will be hard to hold down for four quarters.

Clemson might have the defense to do it though, starting up front. This hinges on whether they choose to play or not, but Bryan Bresee, Myles Murphy, KJ Henry and Tyler Davis lead an imposing defensive line, but the linebackers are also impressive. Jeremiah Trotter Jr (yes, son of THAT Jeremiah Trotter) leads the team in sacks. Offensively for Clemson, it’s now the Cade Klubnik show. Klubnik starred in the ACC title game, but will have to repeat his method against an aggressive Tennessee defense.

12. Cheez-It Bowl

Oklahoma (6-6) vs. Florida State (9-3) (13)
December 29, 5:30 p.m. ET

The Brent Venables Era got off to a rough start for the Sooners. Oklahoma won their first three games and rose to sixth in the rankings, but Venables’ first foray into Big 12 play ended poorly, as the Sooners lost their first three conference games, including a blow out loss to Texas in the Red River Showdown. O

Oklahoma lost that game 49-0, and the Sooners’ defense — Venables’ calling card during his days at Clemson — ranked just 120th in the nation, allowing 450.5 yards per game.

But the main reason this game is so high on our list? The electric Jordan Travis. The Florida State quarterback announced his decision to return to campus for one more season, coming after an incredible performance in the Seminoles’ win over Florida. He could put up huge numbers against this Sooners’ defense later this month.

11. Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl Presented by Stifel

Washington State (7-5) vs. Fresno State (9-4)
December 17, 3:30 p.m. ET

One big reason to watch this game? Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener. Haener is one of the toughest players you will find in college football. Last season he gutted out a performance against UCLA, throwing two touchdowns in the closing minutes to lead the Bulldogs to a win over the Bruins while dealing with a painful oblique injury.

This season, Haener suffered a high ankle sprain early in the season against USC and needed to be carted off the field. There was a thought that he might be sidelined for the year, but he missed just five games, and led Fresno State to a victory over Boise State in the Mountain West Championship game, throwing for a touchdown in the win.

Another big reason? Washington State QB Cameron Ward. The transfer from Incarnate Word has eye-popping traits, and during his first season at the FBS level he completed 64.1% of his passes for 23 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.

Both of these quarterbacks have a shot at playing on Sundays, and with Haener just accepting an invitation to the Senior Bowl, you will want to tune.

10. San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl

Oregon (9-3) (15) vs. North Carolina (8-4)
December 28, 8:00 p.m. ET

This is another game to keep an eye on, particularly if you have an interest in scouting college quarterbacks.

After three years at Auburn, Bo Nix transferred to Oregon and suddenly looked like the quarterback we thought he would be. Nix completed 71.5% of his passes for 3,388 yards and 27 touchdowns this season, all of which were career-high numbers. That success put him in the Heisman conversation for a time, and has some draft evaluators thinking he could go early on Day 2 next spring.

If he decides not to return to school, as he does have a final year of eligibility remaining.

Then there is UNC’s Drake Maye. The redshirt freshman took over as the starter for the Tar Heels, and also played himself into the Heisman conversation with an incredible first season. Maye completed 67.2% of his throws for 4,115 yards and 35 touchdowns, against just 7 interceptions.

He will not be draft eligible until 2024, but this is a great opportunity to get some baseline work in on him now.

9. Valero Alamo Bowl

Texas (8-4) (20) vs. Washington (10-2) (12)
December 29, 9:00 p.m. ET

NCAA Football: Washington at Washington State

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Quinn Ewers.

Michael Penix, Jr.

Two of the more intriguing quarterbacks for the 2023 college football season square off later this month. Ewers was a high-profile recruit to Ohio State, but transferred to Texas prior to last season. A sprained clavicle early against Alabama cost him some time this season, but in 9 games he completed 56.6% of his passes for for 1,808 yards and 14 touchdowns, against just 6 interceptions. He flashed the traits for Texas that made him such a highly-regarded recruit coming out of high school, and could make some serious noise next season.

Then there is Penix, who put himself into the Heisman mix this season with a great campaign for Washington. His outing against Oregon showed NFL scouts almost everything you want to see in a draft prospect, so his decision to return to school for one more season adds another name to what is shaping up to be a strong 2024 NFL draft class at QB.

8. AutoZone Liberty Bowl

Kansas (6-6) vs. Arkansas (6-6)
December 28, 5:30 p.m. ET

Wait. A game between a pair of 6-6 teams gets this high a ranking? Really?

Yes? Because of the quarterbacks.

We can start with Kansas. The Jayhawks started the year 5-0, and were one of the most enjoyable teams in the nation to watch. But then quarterback Jalon Daniels suffered a shoulder injury, and they lost 1-6 games down the stretch. If Daniels is healthy — and he did return in late November for games against Texas and Kansas State — this offense is a joy to watch. This season Daniels completed 65.7% of his passes for 1,470 yards and 13 touchdowns, against just 2 interceptions, and ran for another 404 yards and 6 scores.

Then there is Arkansas. After rising to 10th in the rankings, they lost three-straight games to crush any hopes of SEC glory. But K.J. Jefferson is a reason to watch the Razorbacks. The QB completed 68.3% of his passes for 2,361 yards and 22 touchdowns this year, with just 4 interceptions. Jefferson added another 510 rushing yards and 7 scores.

If nothing else, watch this game for those two.

Yes, the last four games all received high billing due to the quarterbacks. QBs move the needle, as they say.

7. Rose Bowl Game

Penn State (10-2) (11) vs. Utah (10-3) (8)
January 2, 5:00 p.m. ET

Utah is back in the Rose Bowl again after losing to Ohio State last year. This team isn’t as strong as it was last year, but with QB Cam Rising still at the helm he should give the Utes offense a fighting chance.

Penn State is an interesting 10-2 team. They have the defensive talent (minus Joey Porter Jr., who is entering the NFL Draft), and the offense has young talent like Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen. Can they generate explosives on this Utah defense? It’s up to Sean Clifford.

6. Allstate Sugar Bowl

Alabama (10-2) (5) vs. Kansas State (10-3) (9)
December 31, 12:00 p.m. ET

This is shaping up to be a really fun matchup on paper. When Alabama has the ball, it’s the Bryce Young show. His ability to make plays outside of structure is why he was the 2021 Heisman winner. With Jahmyr Gibbs in the backfield as well, the Alabama offense is going to be hard to stop. Kansas State has some fun defenders though, with Felix Anudike-Uzomah manning the edge and Julius Brents at corner. This is a tough group to go against.

For Kansas State offensively, Deuce Vaughn will be one of the most fun RBs to watch this bowl season. His big play ability in the run game and receiving game drives the Kansas State offense. Will Howard will have to make the necessary throws, however. Against an Alabama defense that still has pass rushers Will Anderson and Dallas Turner will be difficult however.

5. Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic

Tulane (11-2) (16) vs. USC (11-2) (10)
January 2, 1:00 p.m. ET

Another game that should be one of the best to watch this bowl season. Caleb Williams and the USC offense will be facing off against a Tulane defense that was a lot better than the credit it was given this season. Dorian Williams is an NFL prospect at middle linebacker, and the defense could make it a fun game. One guy to watch on the Green Wave offense: RB Ty’Jae Spears. He is a menace on the ground, and the engine behind Tulane’s offense.

4. Duluth Trading Cure Bowl

USTA (11-2) (25) vs. Troy (11-2) (24)
December 16, 3:00 p.m. ET

One of two games on the docket for the first day of bowl season is the Duluth Trading Cure Bowl, between USTA and Troy.

And it this high in the rankings for a reason.

This is a battle of ranked teams, and two conference champions. Frankly, it might be one of the better games of the entire bowl season, and the fact that it helps kick off the slate of postseason games is a bit of a treat.

Why should you watch this game? UTSA’s offense versus Troy’s defense. UTSA has one of the best offenses in the nation, ranking 12th in scoring offense this season. Meanwhile, Troy sports one of the best defenses in college football, ranking 8th in scoring defense this season, ahead of teams like Penn State, Ohio State and Alabama.

3. CFP Semifinal at the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl

TCU (12-1) (3) vs. Michigan (13-0) (2)
December 31, 4:00 p.m. ET

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Texas Christian

Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

TCU has made their entire year off of winning close games, and stylistically this matchup could favor the Horned Frogs if it’s a shootout. Max Duggan is tough as nails, and his ability to hit big plays to WRs Quentin Johnston, Derius Davis and Taye Barber is going to be crucial against a Michigan defense that is 2nd in rushing yards allowed per game, but only 18th against the pass.

Michigan wants to run the ball, and they can run the ball well. The offensive line unit is a finalist for the Joe Moore Award as the best OL unit in the country, and Donovan Edwards is just as capable of running roughshod on defenses as Blake Corum. The key to this game will be JJ McCarthy, however. If he can create explosives through the air, the Horned Frog defense could be in for a rough day.

2. CFP Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

Ohio State (11-1) (4) vs. Georgia (13-0) (1)
December 31, 8:00 p.m. ET

On paper, this looks like the most star-studded matchup of all the bowl games this season. Ohio State has the star QB and receiver in CJ Stroud and Marvin Harrison Jr., and Georgia has Jalen Carter and Kelee Ringo. Those are four top prospects in this year (and next year’s) NFL Draft squaring off against each other in a battle CFB’s titans.

The question here is: can Ohio State rise to the challenge against the Georgia offense? The Buckeyes got throttled in the 4th quarter against Michigan, and Georgia is better than Michigan offensively. The Bulldog offense should cause problems.

1. CFP National Championship pres. by AT&T

January 9, 7:30 p.m. ET

Just the biggest game of the year, no biggie.

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