On December 17th, the college football bowl season began with the New Mexico Bowl and will conclude with the College Football Playoff Championship on January 9th. During that stretch, plenty of good football will be played. Let’s take a look at some of the best games that aren’t being played to determine the national champion.
The Las Vegas Bowl
San Diego State Aztecs Vs. Houston Cougars
The Las Vegas Bowl features two teams that were hoping to be playing in a New Year’s Six game as the top ranked Group of Five team. However, San Diego State lost to South Alabama while Houston lost to SMU, Navy and Memphis to dash those hopes. The Cougars failed to score 30 or more points in a game just once this season while the Aztecs scored 20 or more points in all but of their games this season. This will also be Major Applewhite’s first game as Houston’s head coach.
The Holiday Bowl
Minnesota Vs. Washington State
Tuesday, December 27, 7:00 PM on ESPN
The Golden Gophers made some headlines this week by threatening to boycott the Holiday Bowl. This was in response to 10 players being suspended for the game stemming from sexual abuse allegations back in September. While it is unlikely that the team would actually follow through with it, the threat alone should provide intrigue for hardcore and casual fans alike. Also, don’t forget that Washington State is once again a relevant program that could use a victory in this game as a springboard to greater things in 2017.
The Rose Bowl
Monday, January 2, 5:00 PM on ESPN
USC Vs. Penn State
USC and Penn State both struggled to begin the season. The Trojans started the season 1-3 before winning eight straight games. The Nittany Lions started 1-2 before winning 10 straight games and a Big 10 title. USC is representing the Pac-12 in this game because fellow conference member Washington is playing in the College Football Playoff. Penn State is in this game because Ohio State was gifted entry into the CFP because of perceived reputation. Besides the National Championship game, tickets for the Rose Bowl are the most expensive on the secondary ticket market, higher than the two semifinal playoff games. The average ticket price is over $460, while the Chik-Fil-A Peach Bowl is just over $300 and the Playstation Fiesta Bowl is under $200.
The Cotton Bowl
Monday, January 2, 1:00 PM on ESPN
Western Michigan Vs. Wisconsin
Western Michigan was the highest rated team in the Group of Five, which means it gets to play in the Cotton Bowl against Wisconsin. This could actually be a fun game featuring Broncos quarterback Zach Terrell who only threw three interceptions all season. On the other side, the Badgers once again have an offense predicated on the run. Corey Clement rushed for 1,304 yards and 14 touchdowns while averaging 4.5 yards per carry. If he can average 4.5 yards per carry, Western Michigan may be rowing the boat back home in defeat.
As long as there are 40 bowl games, there will always be plenty of boring games featuring 5-7 teams or directional schools you’ve never heard of. However, the games on this list are the ones that both cause fans and those who can’t get enough of college football should circle on their calendars right now.
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