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10 Bowl Games You Won’t Want to Miss

  • FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2018, file photo, West Virginia quarterback Will Grier (7) scores the game-winning two-point conversion during an NCAA college football game against Texas, in Austin, Texas. Grier, a senior, will play in his final home game Friday night, Nov. 23, when No. 12 West Virginia hosts No. 6 Oklahoma. (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File)

  • Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey (2) breaks a tackle as he looks to pass during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Boston College, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, in Boston. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)



Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Thursday, December 06, 2018

College football’s postseason is here and it rarely disappoints. This year should be no different with marquee matchups and storylines abound in the 39 bowl games.

Here’s our Top 10:

1. Orange Bowl (Alabama vs. Oklahoma), Dec. 29, 4 p.m.

What more could you want in this semifinal matchup? Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray are two the must-see attractions in college football and each rightfully earned a distinction of being a Heisman finalist.

Alabama is heavy favorites going into the game, but OU’s offense has been one of the best in the history of the game.

This is the signature game of the bowl season. Let’s just hope it lives up to the hype.

2. Cotton Bowl (Clemson vs. Notre Dame), Dec. 29, 8 p.m.

Two undefeated teams. Two programs with rich history. This is why the College Football Playoff has such high approval ratings.

Nobody is complaining about this matchup. Clemson has an NFL-esque defensive line that will be fun to watch against Notre Dame RB Dexter Williams, who rushed for 941 yards and 12 TDs, and QB Ian Book, who threw for 2,468 yards with 19 TDs and six interceptions.

Offensively, watch out for Clemson RB Travis Etienne, an electric player who rushed for 1,463 yards and 21 TDs this season.

3. Sugar Bowl (Georgia vs. Texas), Jan. 1, 8:45 p.m.

Did Georgia get snubbed from the CFP? An argument has been made that the Bulldogs belonged among the final four.

But a questionable fake punt call and eventual loss to Alabama in the SEC title game left Georgia destined for the Sugar Bowl.

This is an intriguing matchup, though, with Texas making its best bowl appearance in years. The Longhorns showed they can hang with one of the best teams in the country (Oklahoma) twice this season, and will have an opportunity to do it once again.

4. Rose Bowl (Washington vs. Ohio State), Jan. 1, 5 p.m.

Urban Meyer added a layer of intrigue to this game by announcing his retirement, but it already had plenty.

Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins may be the hottest player in college football going into the bowl season, throwing 17 touchdowns in the last three games. Haskins made a late Heisman push and is certainly a must-see player in the country.

This could be Haskins final college game, too, if he decides to enter the NFL draft. His stock will rise even more if he puts on another impressive game against a Washington defense that ranks No. 12 in the country.

Offensively, the Huskies will try and keep Haskins on the sidelines by relying on their formidable rushing attack. Myles Gaskin is a 1,000-yard rusher this season, and Salvon Ahmed rushed for 604 yards.

5. Fiesta Bowl (LSU vs. Central Florida), Jan. 1, 1 p.m.

Central Florida has won 25 consecutive games, but that hasn’t been enough to get it in the CFP. Beating an LSU team that defeated Georgia earlier this season would be another signature win for UCF.

It’s unfortunate that UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton is out, but this offense is still potent and still the third-best in the country. It’ll be interesting to see how it fares against the nation’s 29th-best defense.

6. Camping World (Syracuse vs. West Virginia), Dec. 28, 5:15 p.m.

Get ready for a shootout. These are two of the best offenses in the country.

West Virginia QB Will Grier found himself in the Heisman conversation all season, and has several weapons in Gary Jennings and David Sills.

Syracuse, meanwhile, is led by quarterback Eric Dungey. Dungey has thrown for more than 9,000 yards in his college career, and will be looking to end it with a win.

7. Peach Bowl (Florida vs. Michigan), Dec. 29, noon

Points will be hard to come by in this matchup.

Michigan has the nation’s top-ranked defense. Florida is ranked No. 27.

With that being said, this should come down to whatever quarterback makes the most plays. Michigan’s Shea Patterson had a solid first season with the Wolverines (2,364 passing yards with 21 TDs and five interceptions), while Florida’s Feleipe Franks posted similar numbers (2,284 passing yards with 23 TDs and six interceptions).

8. Citrus Bowl (Kentucky vs. Penn State), Jan. 1, 1 p.m.

Mark Stoops is going for his first double-digit win season at Kentucky. It would be school’s first double-digit win season since 1977.

To get it done, Kentucky will need its defense to step up and slow down Penn State’s Trace McSorely. McSorely threw for more than 3,500 yards for a second consecutive season, and is looking to end his college career on a high.

Offensively for Kentucky, running back Benny Snell has to come through. The Wildcats are 6-0 this season when Snell rushes for at least 100 yards.

9. Alamo Bowl (Washington State vs. Iowa State), Dec. 28, 9 p.m.

This had a chance to be a top-five bowl game if Alamo Bowl execs would’ve opted for West Virginia. Who wouldn’t have wanted to see WVU’s Grier and Washington State’s Gardner Minshew square off? Or an offensive chess match between Dana Holgorsen and Mike Leach?

But this will do and still has plenty of intrigue. Minshew was a Heisman candidate all season, and led an offense that averaged 462 yards a game. Let’s see how he fares against the Big 12’s second-ranked defense.

Offensively, Iowa State has found a quarterback in Brock Purdy. Despite not playing in four games, the freshman has thrown for 1,935 yards with 16 TDs and five interceptions.

10. New Mexico Bowl (North Texas vs. Utah State), Dec. 15, 2 p.m.

Will this be a bowl game between two programs that have lost coaches to the Big 12? Utah State’s Matt Well is already locked in as Texas Tech’s next head coach, and North Texas’ Seth Littrell has been linked as a strong candidate for Kansas State.

Regardless, this is still a matchup between two smaller schools that play great offense.

North Texas QB Mason Fine has thrown a combined 58 touchdown passes over the last two seasons. Utah State’s Jordan Love, meanwhile, threw for 3,208 yards with 28 TDs and five interceptions this season.