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Ranking The 35 College Football Bowls

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The Coaches' Trophy, for the BCS National Championship Game (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Coaches’ Trophy, for the BCS National Championship Game
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

CBS SPORTS – The bowl season is referendum on the old cathode ray tube machine.

That’s the reason there are 35 bowl games featuring varying degrees of football excellence. Even one losing team. They televise. We watch. The math doesn’t add up sometimes, but apparently more people will watch a Beef O’Brady’s bowl than will actually eat at a Beef O’Brady’s. That’s why our annual ranking of the bowls includes a watchability index. Just to save you some time, and perhaps some indigestion.

Get yourself to a 72-inch LED HD TV

1. BCS title game (Notre Dame vs. Alabama): What most folks don’t know: ND’s defense is better than Alabama’s. Everett Golson’s feet bear a striking resemblance to a certain Johnny Football. Brian Kelly was as good an offensive play-caller this season as Nick Saban was a defensive play-caller. Cue the hologram of Bear Bryant at the coin toss. A classic for the ages.

2. Cotton (Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma): The Future vs. the Big 12 co-champs. Johnny Football’s first game since he became Johnny Heisman. His counterpart is the No. 3 passer in history (Landry Jones, whose first college game was at Cowboys Stadium three years ago). The Aggies want to prove the move from the Big 12 made sense. Check back with the Sooners on the worth of the Heisman finalists. They will have played all three.

3. Fiesta (Kansas State vs. Oregon): This was the BCS title matchup until the Wildcats and Ducks both lost on Nov. 17. Not a bad consolation. K-State won its third conference title in 99 years. Oregon is in its fourth straight BCS bowl. If none of that gets the juices flowing, tune in and see Chip Kelly’s last college game. Maybe.

4. Rose (Stanford vs. Wisconsin): Wisconsin not only is the first five-game loser playing in the hallowed Rose, it is also the first five-game loser playing without its head coach. Barry Alvarez adds some juice to this game having gone all Alexander Haig with the departure of Bret Bielema. Stanford is one foot (vs. Notre Dame) from being in the national championship discussion.

5. Chick-fil-A (LSU vs. Clemson): Tajh Boyd is the Heisman finalist you never saw — and never got invited. LSU’s only two losses were to top-10 teams (Florida, Alabama) by a total of 12. Both teams think they deserved better. Atlanta is the place to prove it.

6. Orange (Florida State vs. Northern Illinois): Please stop with the Northern Illinois hate. What you have to ask yourself is whether the Noles will be motivated against the MAC champs. If not, the embarrassment factor will be high. You have been warned: Watch out for Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch.

7. Capital One (Georgia vs. Nebraska): These are dangerous times for Bo Pelini. Word on the street is that he has fancied himself a candidate for high-profile openings in recent years. After having 70 hung on the Huskers by Wisconsin, Bo needs to develop some job security. Georgia has proven itself worthy of playing for a national championship. Is Nebraska worthy of playing in the Capital One?

8. Holiday (Baylor vs. UCLA): If these two schools play an average game, there will be 1,050 combined yards and almost 80 points. Baylor is No. 1 in total offense and 119th in total defense. For those of you who remember, the Holiday is getting back to its roots of wild, wacky shootouts. This is going to be one, book it.

9. Independence (Ohio vs. Louisiana-Monroe): You’re asking yourself right now why this game is in the top 10. Both teams won eight games. The Warhawks had a better SEC winning percentage (.500) than six SEC teams. The Bobcats won their first seven games, including beating Penn State. Kolton Browning and Tyler Tettleton are worth the price of admission — yes, that’s right.

10. Outback (South Carolina vs. Michigan): You can spell South Carolina without “Outback” but you can’t stage the game. The Gamecocks are here for the fourth time since 2001. Jadeveon Clowney begins his 2013 farewell tour by chasing Denard Robinson around Raymond James Stadium.

Worth meeting at a bar for a watch party

11. Alamo (Texas vs. Oregon State): Mack Brown can’t find/develop/get any consistency from a quarterback. Mike Riley can’t help from getting production out of Sean Mannion. The Horns have won six of their past seven bowl games.

12. New Mexico (Nevada vs. Arizona): What’s not to like about a meeting of the nation’s top two rushers, Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey and Nevada’s Stefphon Jefferson?

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