1. Discover BCS Title Game: Alabama vs. Notre Dame. Duh. Were he not a good person, we would love it if Manti Te'o went on the banquet tour, gained four hundred pounds, and forced Alabama into passing the ball simply by clogging the middle of the defense like a burning school bus in a street riot. But you know the funniest future five hundred pound man of the Alabama team is A.J. McCarron, mostly because the chest tattoo would spread into something resembling a medieval streetmap of imperial Moscow. He's from Alabama: you just need enough corn syrup and humid torpor, and if Alabama's got two things, it's corn syrup and humid torpor.
2. Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Kansas State vs. Oregon. Chip Kelly could be coaching his last game for Oregon here, but how you'll know is anyone's guess because Oregon will do what they always do: drop the hammer on the afterburners, snap the ball every five seconds, and do their best to profane every notion of Bill Snyder football. Then, they will have to watch Kansas State play, and the hives Chip Kelly may break out into watching cromagnon single-wing football alive on the field in front of him will be real, inflamed, and may require medical treatment. Sounds delightful.
3. Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl: Baylor vs. UCLA. FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! THE BAYLOR OFFENSE IS COMING AND SO IS THE DEFENSE AND FIIIIIIIIIIIRE---
UCLA is here to put that fire out, and no Jim Mora, no that is gasoline and why are you fine FINE just throw Brett Hundley and Johnathan Franklin on it. It'll just make more fire, but that's all we watch most bowl games for anyway: fire, violent hits made fifteen yards downfield, and offensive coordinators emptying the most shameful corners of their playbook in the name of IDGAF holiday festivity.
4. AT&T Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma. "God, Landry Jones sucks so hard," says every Sooner fan after they lose a thrilling 42-38 game to the Aggies because the Sooner defense couldn't get Manziel off the field, and not because Landry Jones threw for 400 yards and four TDs in a losing effort. Note: this will be exactly what happens here.
5. Discover Orange Bowl: NIU at Florida State. Les Miles' tenure at Michigan has been immensely successful, and since Kirk Herbstreit is clairvoyant about everything, this blowout will be the heartwarming return to form Florida State has been looking for since the beginnings of the late Bowden period.* MACTION FOREVER.
*Just watching to see if NIU somehow stays on the field with Florida State is worth the effort alone.
6. Chick-Fil-A Bowl. Les vs. Dabo can only mean the convergence of two totally random football weather patterns, and you, the viewer, benefit no matter what happens.
- Clemson victory: upend Clemsoning meme, incoherent, whaharlrgarbling Dabo postgame speech.
- Clemson loss: upset Daboface, chesty Les Miles postgame speech.
- LSU blowout: Barkevious Mingo wearing an unconscious Tajh Boyd like a mink stole in the trophy presentation.
There's really no way this goes bad, particularly since Les might say something like "YOU KISS THAT MAN ON THE MOUTH" under the banner of Chick-Fil-A sponsorship.
7. GoDaddy.com Bowl: Arkansas State vs. Kent State. The SunBelt/MAC firestorm that might as well be titled "The EDSBS Pants Embargo Bowl," featuring eight thousand yards of offense, at least five comical turnovers, a sparse crowd, a Gulf Coast location, and two announcers desperately trying to sell this as the undercard for the national title game. Heaven is a real place, and it has its own derelict battleship floating in the harbor.
8. Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl. CLANGA versus Northwestern is one of the more dramatic culture clashes on tap in bowl season, but this presupposed the existence of Northwestern fans who will deign to travel to Jacksonville for any reason. ("Breckinridge is calling, and Sea Island is booked anyway, dear.") A passing team versus a rushing team, two large-headed aggro-males at head coach, and the kind of desperation gambling on fakes and playcalls one can only get between two teams who really, really need this second-tier bowl money.
9. Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Arizona vs. Nevada. This game contains the nation's number one and number two rushers in Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey and Nevada's Stefphon Jefferson, and zero ability by either team to keep them from grotesque yardage against mediocre run defenses. Nevada has the excuse of being Nevada, while Arizona is suffering from the autoimmune disorder contracted by Rich Rodriguez in a loss to Dave Wannstedt's Pitt squad in 2007. (Please handle all Wannstedt contamination with appropriate biohazard measures.) Plague monkey of the Pac-12 or not, watching Arizona has been fun all season, and Nevada is basically that same plague monkey working out of the pistol.
10. R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Ragin' Cajuns vs. ECU
Rusty Whitt will be there, and that should be enough for you because Rusty Whitt knows where you live. Throw in two really fun, nasty teams, drunkass ECU fans in New Orleans, and Ruffin McNeil sweating his ass off in sixty degree indoor conditions in the Superdome, and you'll get the league leader in janked-up toy bowl season entertainment. Bonus: RAP GAME HARRY PEOPLES IS PLAYING. (AKA normal person Harry Peoples, wide receiver for the Cajuns.)
11. Valero Alamo Bowl: Texas vs. Oregon State. You know what the weirdest thing we can say about Texas' 2012 season is? That they're playing Oregon State in a bowl game, and that Oregon State has the better record and the advantage in a game being played in the world's largest aluminum garden shed?
12. Outback Bowl: South Carolina vs. Michigan. We feel confident in saying this: if South Carolina does not literally hand four touchdowns to Michigan, then they should pave the Wolverines and leave them as a happy memory in the roadbed for horrified archaeologists of the future to find. This being South Carolina, they could totally do this in a bowl game, though any and all losses in that department might be offset by Michigan's offense. Al Borges likes to work out his feelings in coordinated armored interpretive dance. This second down rollout play-action pass is him telling you that more than anything, Al Borges lives so that he can can die without regrets. (Translation: this will be an utter mess, but an entertaining one.)
13. Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Stanford. Stanford runs so many linemen on a given play that any offensive call looks like a fake field goal, and that has turned out to be way more entertaining than we previously thought it would be. Wisconsin will run the same play twenty times in a row. It will look like this.
Stanford is the American fighter Don Frye, Wisconsin is Yoshihiro Takayama, and tradition will be played by "the Big Ten losing a Rose Bowl."
14. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Toledo versus Utah State. Utah State QB Chuckie Keeton is fun, but would have been more fun had he and Utah State finished off the upset attempt versus Wisconsin and gotten a transitive Big Ten Championship out of the deal. (Jim Delany was this close to inviting them, and everyone else in the nation.) Fun fact: Gary Andersen turned down better jobs to stay in Logan Utah, thus proving Gary Andersen is "Big Deuce," gun-running contraband baron wanted by the ATF since 1999. Toledo coach Matt Campbell is 33 years old. You are a colossal failure at life and everything else.
15. Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Navy vs. Arizona State. Like many bowl games, this is clearly an XBox matchup you use while playing all-time offensive coordinator because lol, spread team versus flexbone for days. Navy will lose as it always does--on a last minute two point conversion--but even if you know the script the execution is undeniably compelling. ASU defensive tackle Will Sutton has a weird way of showing his patriotism. That weird way will be swallowing B-backs whole at the line of scrimmage, but we can't tell you how or how not to love America. (Especially if you are Willie Sutton.)
16. New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Syracuse vs. West Virginia. The first time these two teams have ever played, and that's pretty neat.* Prince-Tyson Gulley, Syracuse running back, should start every game with fifty yards rushing based on name alone, and thanks to facing the West Virginia defense in this game he basically does. Syracuse probably doesn't want to get into a shootout, and that is too bad because Dana Holgorsen just asked you to wait for a second while he went in the bank and whoops now you're the getaway car driver whether you like it or not.
*NEVER HAPPENED, says West Virginia fan holding us at musketpoint.
17. Capital One: Georgia vs. Nebraska. The Richt Bowl Game factor wipes out any guarantees of Nebraska splashing eight yards backwards at the snap like they did in the Big Ten title game. Then again, even if Bo Pelini's defense scatters like London orphans during the Blitz in the bowl game, it was still gripping viewing because my god what the hell happened to Nebraska. Taylor Martinez is entertaining, as well, mostly because there's at least three Taylor Martinez's, and they are all delightful to watch. (We prefer Ghastly Interception Taylor Martinez, but he hasn't made too many appearances lately.)
18. Russell Athletic Bowl: Rutgers vs. Virginia Tech. One of the better defensive-minded games of the bowl season, particularly if you want to see Logan Thomas play "how many kindergartners does it take to tackle Logan Thomas." <---this has been every offensive game plan in 2012 for Virginia Tech. Plus, it's in the Citrus Bowl, where the naturally occurring sinkholes in the turf already simulate the giant holes in Brian Stinespring's offensive gameplans. The short-form Hunger Games, and another time-traveling Big East conference game.
19. Allstate Sugar Bowl: Florida vs. Louisville. Florida has been one of the least photogenic dominant teams in college football in 2012, and playing a potentially coachless football team with a banged-up starter in the Sugar Bowl won't add to that rep. On the positive side, the game does feature a key matchup between the desperately burnable object and the wet lighter: Louisville's occasional atrocity of a secondary versus Florida's wingless pheasant of a passing attack. This could be bad for you, but it will be so much worse for Teddy Bridgewater.
P.S. Odds that Matt Elam tackles a police horse postgame: 1/1
20. Autozone Liberty Bowl: Tulsa vs. Iowa State. If you know what's going to happen between Tulsa and Iowa State, you are probably a person with too many definite opinions about silly things. The really important thing with the Liberty Bowl: the halftime show, which for the ninth and cruelest year in a row is NOT Three Six Mafia.
DAMMIT WHERE IS EDDIE MONEY HE PROMISED ME NOT ONE BUT TWO TICKETS TO PARADISE AND WE ENDED UP IN MEMPHIS GAAAHHHHH YOU ARE FULL OF LIES EDDIE MONEY--
21. Hyundai Sun Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. USC. Middle Tennessee beat this Georgia Tech team, but the Blue Raiders do tend to think of themselves as "the USC of Rutherford County." The Georgia Tech defense has to defend Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. The Georgia Tech defense will have their severed head attached to a turtle rigged with explosives by the end of the second quarter. Tortuga!
22. Belk Bowl: Cincy vs. Duke. A headless Cincy team (assuming Butch Jones is hired away by Colorado or Purdue) and a Duke team that lost its last four and skidded onto the runway of bowl season on fire and leaking gasoline onto the deck? We're not saying it will be "football." But accidental entertainment involving footballesque events, and a frowning David Cutcliffe? You could do worse, particularly when LEVITICUS PAYNE will be present.
23. Military Bowl: San Jose State vs. Bowling Green. Remember when SJSU almost beat Stanford in week one, and the college football world was like, LOL STANFART? San Jose State won ten games after that, and will now finish the season in the same place a Rick Neuheisel UCLA team once staggered to the finish in when it was called "The EagleBank Bowl." Bowling Green has a lovely defense, and the combination of the two beneath leaden DC skies means this game is basically the sunless discount version of the Buffalo Wild Wings bowl.
24. Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl. Vanderbilt's exciting take-out dinner of a bowl! NC State, going into this game with an interim head coach, has nothing to lose in this bowl game, and that makes them really dangerous since they might just swap out the bowl bid and let LA Tech play in their uniforms. (And shit, wouldn't that be confusing as hell since you're spent a month watching film of Dana Bible's three yard crossing patterns and third and draw plays.)
25. Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl: Rice vs. Air Force. ETHICS BOWL. Air Force is always entertaining triple-option grittitude. Rice lost to Memphis this season, and be honest: much like the person who marries a disastrous, criminally insane ex, you want to see what that looks like for all the wrong reasons, but still have see it nonetheless. (P.S. Losing to Memphis should disqualify you from getting a bowl game, and also affect your school's credit rating.)
26. Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky. The good news for the Chips: they're probably only going to get slaughtered in front of fifty or so people, max. This bowl game is in Detroit, so you might receive the deed to an abandoned public school in your gift bag.
27. Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl: Fresno State vs. SMU. All an elaborate plot by SMU to leave June Jones in the hands of Hawaiian triad members who would really, really like to discuss a few business deals left undone with Mr. Jones prior to his departure to the mainland.
28. Heart of Dallas Bowl: Purdue vs. Oklahoma State. "I like to watch things die."
29. MAACO Las Vegas Bowl: Washington vs. Boise State. Boise's least entertaining edition in memory plays a Washington team that a.) beat Stanford, and b.) lost to Washington State. Boise will win, but how that happens probably shouldn't be any of your business, along with how the scared body of Keith Price's terrifying 2012 season gets buried in the desert.
30. San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: San Diego State vs. BYU. BYU played not one, but two games where neither team reached double digits in points: that 7-6 loss to Boise State, and a 6-3 win over Utah State. San Diego State cannot pass the ball to any degree beyond that which may be considered "accidental." Watch this at your own risk, including the halftime show which is "holiday themed" and involves unnamed performers. It's probably Kenny Chesney, college football's tiniest and most persistent camwhore, because it is always Kenny Chesney.
31. Advocare V100 Independence Bowl: Ohio vs. ULM. The 2012 War Damn Hawk movement meets an unfortunate end in the Independence Bowl against Ohio, the FBS team bold enough to ask: can every categorical ranking of ours be exactly average? (Answer: almost!) Could be a very competitive game for the fans and the team on the field, because feral cats own Shreveport, and will guard their prime territory inside the stadium jealously.
32. BBVA Compass Bowl: Pitt vs. Ole Miss. Just watch this instead. Trust us. If it helps, imagine the oncoming cars are Ole Miss football.
33. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: TCU vs. Michigan State.
"Hey guys, whaddya think? Is that a game-clinching safety to end this miserable assheap of a football game at 4-2? Or do you want overtime?"
"We were wondering if you could just flood the room with deadly Sarin nerve gas, killing all of us who just lost all will to live by watching this game, and indeed any other game involving Michigan State this year."
34. Beef O'Brady's Bowl: UCF vs. Ball State. We stayed in the team hotel for this bowl game once. Memphis players spent the whole night trying to fuck drunk middle-aged ladies straying away from a sorority reunion, and we sneaked onto the field for USF's celebration without security saying a word to us. This has nothing to do with this game, and frankly neither should you.
35. Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas: Texas Tech vs. Minnesota. Nope.