KeKe Mingo. Possible Titans 1st Round pick? - Stacy Revere
The run up to the 2013 Bowl games after Christmas is quite a busy one with 16 bowls played in 7 days. A lot of interesting matchups in this one.
Belk Bowl - Cincinnati vs Duke Thursday Dec 27 6:30 PM EST ESPN
Volunteers fans get a sneak preview at the Butch Jones' offense in this one (Jones isn't coaching, however). Junior QB Munchie Legeaux leads the Bearcats offense with the help of senior RB George Winn (who led the Big East in rushing after sitting behind 2012 Rams draft pick Isiah Pead). The grandson and namesake of the famous civil rights leader and Georgia native Ralph Abernathy IV also is featured in the offense as a running back. Duke features potent senior WR Connor Vernon. Vernon is in the mold of a Wes Welker type. He holds the ACC record in career receiving yards. The Blue Devils are in their first bowl since 1994 and it's a home game, go figure.
Host City: Charlotte, NC Bank of America Stadium (home of the Panthers and rotating ACC Title game home)
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl - Baylor vs (17) UCLA Thursday Dec 27 9:45 PM ESPN
The Kendall Wright vs Akeem Ayers Bowl will feature a lot of offense and not so much defense. Baylor is led by senior WR Terrance Williams who pretty much shattered KW's records this year after being Wright's caddy last year. He has proven that he can excel without RG3. UCLA features a potent rusher in the form of RB Johnathan Franklin. The Bruins also have a good TE prospect in senior Joseph Fauria (nephew of the long time Patriot Christian). Senior DE Datone Jones is a good looking prospect and freak athlete. UCLA is another bowl team that gets a de facto home game.
Host City: San Diego, CA Qualcomm Stadium
Russell Athletic Bowl (formerly the Champs Sports Bowl) - Rutgers vs Virginia Tech Friday Dec 28 5:30 PM ESPN
These former Big East rivals meet once again with Rutgers buoyed by the news of escaping into the Big 10 and VT wallowing in the despair that is the ACC. Hokies QB Logan Thomas looks for a strong performance here that he can take into the 2013 season.
Host City: Orlando, FL Citrus Bowl
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas - Minnesota vs Texas Tech Friday Dec 28 9 PM ESPN
The honk if you've been screwed over bowl. Texas Tech is reeling from Tommy Tuberville being a douche and leaving them for Cincinnati in an unsavory manner. He left Lubbock not even bothering to finish dinner with recruits on their official visits. Tuberville just up and left from the table saying he had to take a phone call, without telling his dumbfounded assistants in the process.
Host City: Houston, Texas Reliant Stadium (home of the need you really ask who owns the place?)
New Era Pinstripe Bowl - West Virginia vs Syracuse Saturday Dec 29 3:15 PM ESPN
Another ex Big East member battle royale. The swan song for the latest batch of NFL ready Mountaineer studs, QB Geno Smith, WRs Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. Syracuse is led by senior QB Ryan Nassib in their last bowl game as a member of the Big East (joining the hapless ACC).
Host City: New York City Yankee Stadium (home of the "low" spending 27 time World Series champions, yeah I can't believe it either.)
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (formerly Emerald Bowl) - Navy vs Arizona State Saturday Dec 29 4 PM ESPN2
A certainly unique bowl that has both teams forced to mingle with each other on the same sideline in a baseball stadium. I'm pretty sure someone has walked to the wrong side once or twice in this bowl's history. Arizona State's stud DT Will Sutton will attempt to stop the powerful Navy option attack.
Host city: San Francisco, CA AT&T Park or whatever they're calling it these days (home of the defending World Series champion Giants)
Valero Alamo Bowl - Texas vs Oregon State Saturday Dec 29 6:45 PM ESPN
Texas comes home limping after a horrid finish to yet an unspectacular year that would get most coaches fired but since Mack Brown rules Austin with an iron fist, no such luck. The Horns are expected to bring back most of their juniors after terrible years/injury. These include: WR Mike Davis, DE Jackson Jeffcoat, LB Jordan Hicks, and CB Carrington Byndom. Oregon State senior CB Jordan Poyer has to be salivating about the game as both Texas QBs are likely to play and turn the ball over with stupid passes.
Host city: San Antonio, TX Alamodome (home of the UTSA Roadrunners and former Spurs home)
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl - NC State vs Vanderbilt Monday Dec 31 NOON ESPN
August's dearly beloved Commodores get another home game against a hapless NC State team that fired their coach. NC State senior CB David Amerson looks to rebound from a horrible 2012 and shut down Vanderbilt's passing attack. Vandy's offense features senior RB Zac Stacy and junior WR Jordan Matthews. I'm intrigued by Matthews as a late round prospect. He's a big body WR we need.
Hyundai Sun Bowl - USC vs Georgia Tech Monday Dec 31 2 PM CBS
A crestfallen USC travels to the Sun Bowl to take on the Yellow Jackets option offense that barely showed up in the ACC title game. You all know the toys on USC's offense so I won't rehash them here. The USC defense without its DC Monte Kiffin, will have its hands full with Ga Tech for at least a quarter or so. GT has some interesting late round prospects.
Host City: El Paso, TX UTEP's home stadium
Chik-Fil-A Bowl - (8) LSU vs (14) Clemson Monday Dec 31 7:30 PM ESPN
We've finally arrived at most likely the best pre New Year bowl match. Traditionally the Chik-Fil-A (I really want some typing this) Bowl has been very entertaining. LSU brings their stud defense while Clemson brings their big gun offense to match wits. DE Sam Montgomery, DE KeKe Mingo, S Eric Reid, CB Tharold Simon will attempt to slow down QB Tajh Boyd, WR Nuke Hopkins, WR Sammy Waktins and co.
Host City: Atlanta, GA Georgia Dome
Other Bowls of interest:
Advocare V100 Independence Bowl - Louisiana-Monroe vs Ohio Friday Dec 28 2 PM ESPN
the bowl that Louisiana Tech famously turned down and subsequently got left out with a 9-4 record. ULM were national darlings early on for nearly upsetting the SEC. Another home game for a Louisiana based team.
Host city: Shreveport, LA Independence Stadium (city owned for bowl games)
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (formerly the Insight Bowl) - Michigan State vs TCU Saturday 10:15 PM ESPN
Host City: Tempe, AZ Sun Devil Stadium