No. 8 Fight Hunger Bowl – December 27th on ESPN at 6:30pm PT
Nov 29, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies running back Bishop Sankey (25) rushes against the Washington State Cougars during the second half at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
BYU (8-4) will face one of the many bowl teams with an interim head coach on the sidelines, Washington (8-4). Among the fans in the stands intently watching this contest will be the Huskies new head man, former Boise State Coach Chris Petersen. Now if only the UW football team can match the emotional outpouring rained down on Petersen’s arrival in Seattle, the Huskies will do something they’ve failed to accomplish in their last three meetings with the Cougars…win the game. In an interesting twist, BYU defeated Petersen’s former team when they met this year. The Cougars have a talented quarterback running their offense in senior Taysom Hill. Hill passed for 2,645-yards while rushing for another 1,211. When he’s healthy, UW senior quarterback Keith Price can put up those kind of numbers. However, Price battled injuries the second half of this season which limited his stats. The Huskies have already defeated the Cougars once this season, but that win came in the Apple Cup over Washington State. The difference-maker in this one is talented Washington running back Bishop Sankey who rushed for 1,744-yards and 18 touchdowns, both Pac-12 bests in 2013. If BYU places too much focus on Sankey, UW has a host of other play makers to contend with. Treat Sankey like he’s just another running back and the defense will discover just how explosive the young man from Spokane is. Should be another bowl win for the Pac-12.
No. 7 Valero Alamo Bowl – December 30th on ESPN at 3:45pm PT
Nov 7, 2013; Stanford, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) looks to pass the ball against the Stanford Cardinal during the first quarter at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Both No. 10 Oregon (10-2) and Texas (8-4) began this season with reasonable expectations of getting into the national championship game. In the case of the Longhorns, the majority of gravity creating such lofty goals emanated from their fan base. Along the road to post season play, folks found ways to stop both teams. Looking at Oregon, promoting Mark Helfrich to head coach from offensive coordinator served to remind transitions from the booth to the sidelines can be tricky. That said, it is rare a first year head coach leads his team to a 10-win season. At this point, it’s not even clear if the Alamo Bowl will be the last game on the sidelines for UT Coach Mack Brown. There’s talk he will step down before this game is played. If that comes to pass, this game may be devoid of any emotion by either team. Duck players have been heard whining that they only want to play in the BCS championship game. Longhorn players have had to listen to public outcry that their head coach is well past his prime. It would be a shocker if the caliber of student-athletes on these teams allowed such silliness to become a reality. Expect a hard fought game until the fourth quarter when the tempo of Oregon takes it’s toll on the team from Austin.
No. 6 Capitol One Bowl – January 1st on ABC at 10am PT
Nov 30, 2013; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Melvin Gordon (25) rushes for yardage as Penn State Nittany Lions cornerback Trevor Williams (10) defends at Camp Randall Stadium. Penn State defeated Wisconsin 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports
No. 9 South Carolina (10-2) vs. No. 19 Wisconsin (9-3) is one of the more intriguing matchups this bowl season. Both teams seemed destined for a BCS bowl game when they inexplicably lost to opponents which should have been easily placed in the ‘W’ column. Both were left on the outside looking in when the BCS bowls were announced. Both teams have something to prove to their fans and themselves. And there’s more in common. Both teams have outstanding defensive units. South Carolina begrudgingly gives up just 20-points a game. Well, that looks like a lot of points when considering the Badgers allow just 15-points a game. Don’t be surprised with this one looks like a baseball score when it’s over. Both have a balanced offensive attack, but give the edge to the Gamecock receivers to make an explosive play to separate a winner from the loser in this one.