As always, get prepared and plan your schedule with Pat Forde's omnibus article: Dashing through the college football bowl season
Forde's survey is packed with all you need:
- analysis of motivation:
AdvoCare V100 Bowl (22): Arizona vs. Boston College, Dec. 31.
Motivation Meter: Who doesn't want to spend New Year's in Shreveport? OK, so neither team spent the summer running gassers with the goal of playing in this game – but it beats being home watching other teams play. Both teams should be moderately motivated.
assessment of watchability:
Sun Bowl (24): UCLA vs. Virginia Tech, Dec. 31.
Watchability (scale of 1-5): 3.5. Much like the Advocare/Independence/Weed Eater Bowl above, you have to respect the longevity of a mid-level bowl like this in an out-of-the-way locale like El Paso. It has carved out a niche in the college football landscape. Long live the Sun Bowl. Take time to watch it.
Belk Bowl (15): North Carolina vs. Cincinnati, Dec. 28.
Watchability (scale of 1-5): 2.5. This game gets the garden-spot, mid-afternoon time slot on a Saturday. During the regular season that means a major SEC showdown on CBS; during bowl season that means the fifth-place team in the ACC Coastal Division against the third-place team in the AAC. Oh well.
and, with a straight face this time, games not to be missed:
Rose Bowl (31): Stanford vs. Michigan State, Jan. 1.
Watchability (scale of 1-5): 5. In terms of pure aesthetics, it's the most watchable game of the year. Every year. It wins in terms of tradition, too. And this year's matchup is the second-best bowl game, for The Dash's money.
Orange Bowl (35): Ohio State vs. Clemson, Jan. 3.
Watchability (scale of 1-5): 5. Urban Meyer coaches again in the state of Florida. How have he and his team handled the devastating loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten title game? And Clemson returns to the scene of its January 2012 bowl crime, where it surrendered 70 to West Virginia.
Motivation Meter: Buckeyes talked a good game after the loss to the Spartans about being ready and finishing the season right in Miami, but that’s far easier said than done given what was lost. For Clemson, the motivation should be very high – especially after another damning loss to South Carolina.
Best Orange Bowl Ever: Miami 31, Nebraska 30 in 1984. A massive upset that spawned the Miami dynasty and derailed one of the greatest teams in college football history. Cornhuskers scored late and Tom Osborne gamely opted for a two-point conversion, when playing to tie (in the pre-overtime days) likely would have cemented the national title. When Turner Gill’s pass fell incomplete, we had a new world order in college football for the next decade.
Well, at least it's something to do when you suddenly find yourself with three hours while everyone else is at the mall, on airport runs, or asleep.