No. 20 AdvoCare V100 Bowl – December 31st on ESPN at 9:30am PT
Nov 16, 2013; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats running back KaDeem Carey (25) runs the ball as he is pursued by Washington State Cougars defensive lineman Destiny Vaeao (97) during the second quarter at Arizona Stadium. The Cougars beat the Wildcats 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
Arizona (7-5) and Boston College (7-5) feature two of the best running backs in college football this year. Ka’Deem Carey has been a difference maker for the ‘Cats this year and was the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year. That says a lot considering the number of outstanding offensive players there are in the conference. Many are talking Heisman when mentioning the Eagles talented RB Andre Williams. Williams led the nation in rushing with 2,102-yards on the ground becoming just the 16th player in the history of the NCAA to gain 2000+ yards in a season. Both teams were inconsistent on the defensive side of the ball in 2013. If you love watching great running backs, this is the best bowl game for you to watch.
No. 19 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl – December 24th on ESPN at 5pm PT
Oct 26, 2013; Corvallis, OR, USA; Oregon State Beavers wide receiver Brandin Cooks (7) catches a pass while being covered by Stanford Cardinal cornerback Wayne Lyons (2) during the 2nd half at Reser Stadium. Stanford defeated Oregon State 20-12. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Oregon State (6-6) looks to end their season on a positive note after losing their final five games on the schedule. They may have picked the right time to face Boise State (8-4) who will begin their post-Chris Petersen era. It’s hard to figure out where the wheels came off for the Beavers who opened the year with a loss to an FCS opponent then rattled off six straight victories. OSU has one of the top passing combos in the nation with QB Sean Mannion playing pitch and catch to Brandin Cooks. Mannion amassed 4,403-yards through the air while Cooks logged 1,670-yards in receptions. The Bronco defense is anchored by Demarcus Lawrence who finished second in FBS in tackles for loss with 19.5 and eighth in sacks tallying 10.5. BSU RB Jay Ajayi ranks 19th nationally in rushing yards per game with 110.7 and seventh in rushing touchdowns with 17. Ajayi found himself watching from the sidelines too many times this year after coughing up the football. Where BSU holds an edge here is experience. This will be the 12th consecutive bowl appearance for the Broncos.
No. 18 Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl – December 21st on ABC at 12:30pm PT
Oct 19, 2013; South Bend, IN, USA; Southern California Trojans receiver Marqise Lee (9) is defended by Notre Dame Fighting Irish cornerback Bennett Jackson (2) at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Timing creates a unique opportunity for Fresno State (11-1) to make their statement about Bulldog football being a part of the college football elite conversation. USC (9-4) travels east to Las Vegas with their third head coach this season. If games were simply determined by athletic potential, this one is a mismatch in favor of the Trojans. Though depth is an issue for USC as they run out the clock on NCAA punitive sanctions, the men of Troy have a number of NFL-types including Marqise Lee who was hampered by nagging injury much of 2013. FSU has a few guys who will likely be playing at the next level as well, including Derek Carr who has enjoyed a phenomenal season passing for 4,866-yards and 48-touchdowns. The Trojans are playing for personal pride while Fresno State wants to elevate their program by toppling one of the most storied football histories in the college game.