Bowl game breakdown: What bowls should you watch?

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As the final seconds ticked off the clock on the regular season, many college football teams began thinking about the post season.

This is the first year for the ‘playoff series’ involving college football games.

While many fans are prepared for their favorite teams to take the field, others just want to watch the most exciting matchups.

Here’s a breakdown of the bowls:

  • R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl on ESPN: Nevada vs Louisiana-Lafayette on Dec. 20 at 10 a.m.
  • Gildan New Mexico Bowl on ESPN: Utah State vs. UTEP on Dec. 20 at 1:20 p.m.
  • Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl on ABC: Utah vs. Colorado State on Dec. 20 at 2:30 p.m.
  • Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on ESPN: Western Michigan vs. Air Force on Dec. 20 at 4:45 p.m.
  • Raycom Media Camellia Bowl on ESPN: South Alabama vs. Bowling Green on Dec. 20 at 8:15 p.m.
  • Miami Beach Bowl on ESPN: BYU vs. Memphis on Dec. 22 at 1 p.m.
  • Boca Raton Bowl on ESPN: Marshall vs. Northern Illinois on Dec. 23 at 5 p.m.
  • San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on ESPN: Navy vs. San Diego State on Dec. 23 at 8:30 p.m.
  • Popeyes Bahamas Bowl on ESPN: Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky on Dec. 24 at 11 a.m.
  • Hawaii Bowl on ESPN: Fresno State vs. Rice on Dec. 24 at 7 p.m.
  • Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl on ESPN: Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech on Dec. 26 at 12 p.m.
  • Quick Lane Bowl on ESPN: Rutgers vs. North Carolina on Dec. 26 at 3:30 p.m.
  • Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl on ESPN: NC State vs. UCF on Dec. 26 at 7 p.m.
  • Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman on ESPN: Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech on Dec. 27 at 12 p.m.
  • Hyundai Sun Bowl on CBS: Arizona State vs. Duke on Dec. 27 at 1 p.m.
  • Duck Commander Independence Bowl on ABC: Miami vs. South Carolina on Dec. 27 at 2:30 p.m.
  • New Era Pinstripe Bowl on ESPN: Boston College vs. Penn State on Dec. 27 at 3:30 p.m.
  • National University Holiday Bowl on ESPN: Nebraska vs. USC on Dec. 27 at 7 p.m.
  • AutoZone Liberty Bowl on ESPN: Texas A&M vs. West Virginia on Dec. 29 at 1 p.m.
  • Russell Athletic Bowl on ESPN: Oklahoma vs. Clemson on Dec. 29 at 4:30 p.m.
  • AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl on ESPN: Arkansas vs. Texas on Dec. 29 at 8 p.m.
  • Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl on ESPN: Notre Dame vs. LSU on Dec. 30 at 2 p.m.
  • Belk Bowl on ESPN: Georgia vs. Louisville on Dec. 30 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Foster Farms Bowl on ESPN: Maryland vs. Stanford on Dec. 30 at 9 p.m.
  • Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on ESPN: #9 Ole Miss vs. #6 TCU on Dec. 31 at 11:30 a.m.
  • VIZIO Fiesta Bowl on ESPN: #20 Boise State vs. #10 Arizona on Dec. 31 at 3 p.m.
  • Capitol One Orange Bowl on ESPN: #7 Mississippi State vs. #12 Georgia Tech on Dec. 31 at 7 p.m.
  • Outback Bowl on ESPN2: Auburn vs. Wisconsin on Jan. 1 at 11 a.m.
  • Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on ESPN: #8 Michigan State vs. #5 Baylor on Jan. 1 at 11:30 a.m.
  • Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl on ABC: Missouri vs. Minnesota on Jan. 1 at 12 p.m.
  • Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual on ESPN: #2 Oregon vs. #3 Florida State on Jan. 1 at 4 p.m.
  • Allstate Sugar Bowl on ESPN: #1 Alabama vs. #4 Ohio State on Jan. 1 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Lockhead Martin Armed Forces Bowl on ESPN: Houston vs. Pittsburgh on Jan. 2 at 11 a.m.
  • TaxSlayer Bowl on ESPN: Iowa vs. Tennessee on Jan. 2 at 2:20 p.m.
  • Valero Alamo Bowl on ESPN: Kansas State vs. UCLA on Jan. 2 at 5:45 p.m.
  • TicketCity Cactus Bowl on ESPN: Washington vs. Oklahoma State on Jan. 2 at 9:15 p.m.
  • Birmingham Bowl on ESPN: East Carolina vs. Florida on Jan. 3 at 12 p.m.
  • GoDaddy Bowl on ESPN: Toledo vs. Arkansas State on Jan. 4 at 8 p.m.
  • Playoff National Championship on ESPN: TBD 

With so many bowls to choose from and so-little storage space on your DVR, it can be difficult to pick which ones to watch or record.

We asked our sports experts at NewsChannel 4 which games they wouldn’t dare miss.

Besides the OU and OSU games and the playoff series games, here were sports reporter Nate Feken’s picks:

Peach Bowl: Ole Miss vs TCU: Will TCU be fired up to play after being left out of the college football playoff?  TCU head coach Gary Patterson is known for his impressive defensive game plans.  On the opposite sideline, Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze is known for being an up-and-comer on the offensive side of the ball.  TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin is one of the most exciting players in college football.  On the offensive side of the ball, the Horned Frogs’ running backs and receiver Josh Doctson are very talented.  TCU’s defense has also come up with some huge plays this year, like Paul Dawson intercepting Trevor Knight for a touchdown.  However, Ole Miss has one of the faster and more talented defenses in the country.  The Rebels can struggle offensively when Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace makes risky decisions and turns over the ball.  For that reason, I think TCU’s explosive offense and opportunistic defense will overtake Ole Miss.

Liberty Bowl: Texas A&M vs West Virginia:  This bowl could have plenty of fireworks and has some interesting story lines.  This game also has several Oklahoma ties to it.  Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin used to be a Bob Stoops assistant, while Dana Holgorsen was the one-time offensive coordinator for Mike Gundy.  Both coaches have had pretty explosive offenses this year.  West Virginia has one of the best receivers in the country in Kevin White.  The junior college transfer has put on a show several times this year.  A&M started the year with a very impressive win at South Carolina but finished the year on a downslide.  Kenny Hill lit up the Gamecocks in that first game but was eventually overtaken at the quarterback position by Kyle Allen.  The Aggies did play LSU to within a touchdown in their regular season finale.  Given how much the Aggies have been up and down this year and how talented a coach Holgorsen is, I’m picking WVU to take this bowl.

Texas Bowl: Arkansas vs Texas: This game should bring back old memories of the Southwest Conference for plenty of people. Texas has had an interesting first year under Charlie Strong.  The first year Longhorn head coach has been working to change the culture of his football team.  Former OSU assistant Vance Bedford has the Longhorn defense playing some impressive ball.  Their defense has often kept them in games this year.  Offensively, this isn’t anything like the Vince Young or Colt McCoy days.  However, outside of a couple games, Tyrone Swoopes has managed the offense as best he could.  Prior to their regular season finale loss to TCU,  the UT offense seemed to improve a little each game.  After going winless in the SEC in his first year at Arkansas, Brett Bielema reeled off two shut-out conference wins against LSU and Ole Miss teams in November.  The Hogs then played Missouri to a touchdown in a loss in their final regular season game.  With how well Arkansas finished the season and Texas’ inability to gain much offensive consistency, I’m picking the Razorbacks to win this one.

Cotton Bowl: Michigan State vs Baylor:  Much like the Peach Bowl, this game will be a statement performance for Baylor.  Art Briles is one of the brightest coaches out there and the Bears have a very impressive offense.  Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty hasn’t exactly been the Heisman front-runner some people expected him to be.  When the Bears’ offense gets rolling, Petty can really throw the ball around the field to some talented playmakers.  Baylor definitely has some of the most explosive playmakers in the country.  The Big Ten Conference has a tendency to not always play well in big bowl games.  With all I’ve just said, I think Baylor will be ready and use their big playmakers to run away with the game.

Outback Bowl: Auburn vs Wisconsin:  This is another bowl that could feature some big plays and high scores.  Auburn has turned into one of the more exciting offenses in college football under Gus Malzahn.  Nick Marshall is a very dangerous weapon leading the Tigers’ offensive attack.  They are definitely able to put up a lot of points in a hurry.  Much like Holgorsen, give Malzahn a month to game plan and Auburn could be pretty powerful.  As for Wisconsin, the Badgers have one of the best players in the country.  Melvin Gordon was a Heisman finalist and ran for 408 yards against Nebraska just a week prior to Samaje Perine breaking the NCAA rushing record for a single game.  However, Ohio State shut out Wisconsin 59-0 in the Big Ten Championship Game.  After a bad ending like that adding Malzahn to the mix, I’m picking Auburn to take this one.

Sports Director Bob Barry Jr. created a similar “must watch” list. His is as follows;

New Orleans Bowl: Nevada vs. Louisiana/Lafayette: It’s the FIRST ONE of 41 and I *love* the bowl games.  As I’ve said on the radio, “a day with any football is better than a day without it.” 

Liberty Bowl: West Virginia vs. Texas A&M:  I want to see Dana Holgorsen, the West Virginia head coach, get the best of Kevin Sumlin, the Aggies head coach.  Both guys have probably matched wits before since Holgorsen was in the Big 12 at Texas Tech and OSU – and Sumlin was at OU for several years before going to Houston, where Holgorsen also spent some time.  These two “up and coming” coaches have similar history – producing exciting offenses, wherever they’ve been.

Music City Bowl: Notre Dame vs. LSU:  It’s two traditional teams of which I’ve always enjoyed.  I think Notre Dame is still a long way away from when Lou Holtz had the Irish winning a national title, but Brian Kelly is on the right path.  And this could very well be the end of the line for LSU head coach Les Miles, the former OSU head man.  I still think Miles’ alma mater, Michigan, will make a push to get Miles to return to Ann Arbor to coach the Wolverines. 

Texas Bowl: Arkansas vs. Texas:  It’s an old Southwest Conference rivalry renewed with two intriguing teams in 2014.  Arkansas has to be the best 6-6 team in the country, even scoring shutouts against LSU and Ole Miss at the end of the season.  NO ONE holds teams to 0 points in this day and age of pinball football.  And Texas definitely improved under first year head coach Charlie Strong.  A win over the Razorbacks would really give them a boost heading into the spring.  But if Texas loses, they’ll finish with a losing record (6-7) and it will be hard to say the Longhorns “are back” or even close to returning to elite.

Cotton Bowl: Baylor vs. Michigan State: I want to see if the now 2-time Big 12 champs from Baylor can move the ball and score a bunch of points against a Michigan State defense that’s suppose to be pretty stingy. I was *not* impressed with Baylor in the Bears’ final two games and Baylor embarrassed the Big 12 when they got blasted by Central Florida in last year’s BCS Fiesta Bowl. They should be more than motivated, especially after being left out of the first-ever College Football Playoff. 

Sports reporter Brian Brinkley’s picks are pretty similar to Bob Barry Jr.’s and Nate Feken’s.

Brinkley says he wouldn’t dare miss the Alamo Bowl, between UCLA and Kansas State. Also, he says he will be watching the Cotton Bowl, Peach Bowl, Texas Bowl and Holiday Bowl.

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