College Football: Bowl Schedule Set

December 7th, 2008

We now know who will be playing in the BCS National Championship Game, and it shouldn't be a shock that the champions of the two best conferences in college football will be involved. SEC champ Florida (12-1) takes on Big 12 champion Oklahoma (12-1) on January 8th in Dolphins Stadium in Miami. At first glance this is a game that matches up two teams that have been arguably playing the best football in the nation over the last month of the season. Quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Tim Tebow are two of the best in the game, and both should be on their way to New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation on Saturday night. Styles make fights, and unlike last night's Pacquiao/De La Hoya whipping this one has the makings of a thrilling contest. Below is the complete schedule for the upcoming bowl season, with the first games to be played on December 20th.

December 20th 

EagleBank Bowl 11 AM on ESPN
Wake Forest vs. Navy
RFK Stadium (Washington, D.C.)

The inaugural game for this bowl gets a local draw in the Midshipmen. It should be interesting to see just how up the Demon Deacons are for this game, given how their season ended. Keep an eye on turnovers in this one; Wake gave up the ball five times in their home loss to Navy earlier this season.

New Mexico 2:30 PM on ESPN
Colorado State vs. Fresno State                                                                                                     University Stadium (Albuquerque)

Steve Fairchild put together a solid season in his first year at Colorado State (his alma mater), while Pat Hill will have to motivate a disappointing team that went into 2008 with BCS aspirations.

magicJack St. Petersburg 4:30 PM on ESPN2
Memphis vs. South Florida
Tropicana Field (St. Petersburg, FL)

Another brand new bowl game hoping to cash in on the local draw (USF) in order to make some money. A final chance for the Bulls to salvage something from an otherwise disappointing season.  

Pioneer Las Vegas 8 PM on ESPN
BYU vs. Arizona
Sam Boyd Stadium

BYU fans tend to love the bowl trip to Las Vegas, but they may not be the more excited fan base heading into this one. Mike Stoops' Wildcats make the program's first bowl trip since 1998.  

December 21st  

R+L Carriers New Orleans 8:15 PM on ESPN
Southern Miss vs. Troy
Louisiana Superdome

Sun Belt champion Trojans make the trip to New Orleans to take on a Southern Miss team in its first season under Larry Fedora. Look for both coaches to use this game as a springboard into 2009, with both teams having a shot at their league titles next season.  

December 23rd  

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia 8 PM on ESPN
Boise State vs. TCU
Qualcomm Stadium

The showcase game before New Year's Day, with the undefeated Broncos taking on the toughest defense that they've seen all year. TCU "held" Oklahoma to 35 points back in September. Few knew then that the Sooners would fail to score less than that in any game this year.  

December 24th  

Sheraton Hawaii 8 PM on ESPN
Hawaii vs. Notre Dame
Aloha Stadium (Honolulu)

The Fighting Irish and their "subway alumni" will have to take to the friendly skies in this one, and upon landing they'll have quite a challenge. Greg McMackin's team put a scare into Cincinnati last night, and Notre Dame also has the nation's longest bowl losing streak (9 games) hanging around its neck.  

December 26th  

Motor City 8 PM on ESPN
Florida Atlantic vs. Central Michigan
Ford Field (Detroit)

Two of the better quarterbacks that few know about (FAU's Rusty Smith and CMU's Dan LeFevour) will be on display in this one. Both fell short of their goal of a conference title, so this game gives the seniors an opportunity to close out their careers on a good note.  

December 27th  

Meineke Car Care 1 PM on ESPN
West Virginia vs. North Carolina                                                                                                     Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, NC)

There will be a lot of talented athletes on the field in this one. What makes it even better for the organizing committee: both teams are within two hours by way of car from Charlotte, just about guaranteeing a sellout.

Champs Sports 4:30 PM on ESPN
Wisconsin vs. Florida State                                                                                                            Florida Citrus Bowl (Orlando, FL)

Inconsistent offensive play landed both teams in this bowl instead of a game with more prestige. Also an interesting matchup of speed vs. power.

Emerald 8 PM on ESPN
Miami (Fla.) vs. California
AT&T Park (San Francisco)

The Hurricanes are back in the postseason, travelling across the country to take on a high-powered offense in San Francisco. Miami will need better quarterback play to keep up on the scoreboard, and they'll also have to contend with Cal RB Jahvid Best.

December 28th 

Independence 8:15 PM on ESPN
Northern Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech
Independence Stadium (Shreveport, LA)

Two head coaches building programs that could be on their way to bigger and better things in the near future. The Huskies have the MAC's best defense, but they'll need more from the other side of the football to win this one. Derek Dooley's team should enjoy a fan advantage as well.

December 29th
NC State vs. Rutgers
Legion Field (Birmingham, AL)

The Scarlet Knights will see a familiar face on the adjacent sideline, with Tom O'Brien having led Boston College during their final years in the Big East. NC State looking to build momentum into 2009, while Greg Schiano's team has been one of the nation's hottest teams after starting out 1-5.

Valero Alamo 8 PM on ESPN
Missouri vs. Northwestern
Alamodome (San Antonio)

Both teams will look to light up the scoreboard, but it's highly unlikely that the Wildcats have seen a playmaker the caliber of Missouri's Jeremy Maclin or an offense this potent in 2008.

December 30th  

Roady's Humanitarian 4:30 PM on ESPN
Maryland vs. Nevada
Bronco Stadium (Boise, ID)

Blue turf for the Terrapins and Wolf Pack, with two very good offensive weapons on display (Maryland RB Da'Rel Scott and Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick). 

Texas 8 PM on NFL Network  
Rice vs. Western Michigan
Reliant Stadium (Houston)

Quarterbacks Chase Clement (Rice) and Tim Hiller (WMU) will sling the football around the stadium all night long, but the best wide receiver on the field? That would be Rice's Jarrett Dillard.

Pacific Life Holiday 8 PM on ESPN
Oklahoma State vs. Oregon
Qualcomm Stadium (San Diego)

Two spread offenses that can rack up yards and points in a hurry. Even though the colors of the uniforms match, this OSU will roll into San Diego healthy and with a far more potent attack. Expect a lot of points to be scored in this one.

December 31st  

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Noon on ESPN
Houston vs. Air Force
Amon G. Carter Stadium (Fort Worth, TX)

Air Force will look to run the ball, while Houston does the majority of their work through the air with Case Keenum. Turnovers will be key in this one, given the option for Air Force and Houston's maddening ability to give up the ball at an alarming rate in some contests.

Brut Sun 2 PM on CBS
Oregon State vs. Pittsburgh
Sun Bowl (El Paso, TX)

Two great running backs will be on display in Jacquizz Rodgers and LeSean McCoy. Pitt has to hope that they don't get whipped in this one, which is exactly what happened to Big East brother USF last season.

Gaylord Hotels Music City 3:30 PM on ESPN
Boston College vs. Vanderbilt
LP Field (Nashville, TN)

A not-so-good reputation in regards to the travelling of their fans hurt Boston College again, but at the least this is a matchup between two of the best programs in regards to graduating their players. Vanderbilt makes their first bowl trip since 1982, so it'll be interesting to see how they handle this new phenomena.

Insight 5:30 PM on NFL Network
Kansas vs. Minnesota
Sun Devil Stadium (Tempe, AZ)

Tim Brewster has done a remarkable job in rebuilding the Minnesota program, and taking on a team that won the Orange Bowl last season will be quite a test for the Golden Gophers. Alternate name for this one: the Glen Mason Bowl, since he coached both programs at one point in his coaching career.

Chick-fil-A 7:30 PM on ESPN
LSU vs. Georgia Tech
Georgia Dome (Atlanta)

Paul Johnson's option attack has been a success in Atlanta this year, to the tune of nine wins. LSU's pride has been wounded just one year removed from a national title, so they need this one in the worst way to take something positive from a rough season.

January 1st  

Outback 11 AM on ESPN
South Carolina vs. Iowa                                                                                                                Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, FL)

Musical chairs at quarterback for the Gamecocks, but they've hung in there thanks to a stout defense. Iowa RB Shonn Greene will be quite a test for Ellis Johnson's unit, and look for South Carolina to force QB Ricky Stanzi to make plays in the passing game.

Capital One 1 PM on ABC
Georgia vs. Michigan State                                                                                                            Florida Citrus Bowl (Orlando, FL)

A preseason number one, Georgia will have to navigate the emotions of a disappointing season and a few guys with big decisions regarding the NFL Draft in the days following this game. All the makings for Javon Ringer and the Spartans to pull the upset.

Konica Minolta Gator 1 PM on CBS
Clemson vs. Nebraska
Jacksonville Municipal Stadium (Jacksonville, FL)

Nebraska fans will flock to Jacksonville in droves, while Dabo Swinney looks to build on his progress heading into next season. Bo Pelini's Cornhuskers could lay down the foundation for a Big 12 North title run in this game.

Rose Bowl Game Presented by Citi 4:30 PM on ABC
Penn State vs. USC
Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA)

Joe Paterno vs. Pete Carroll. And we'll get to hear for three weeks that Penn State lacks the athletic ability to stay on the same field with the mighty Trojans.

FedEx Orange 8:30 PM on Fox
Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech
Dolphin Stadium (Miami)

Brian Kelly's Bearcats will look to cap the greatest season in the history of Cincinnati Football, while the Hokies return to the Orange Bowl looking to get rid of the bitter taste in their mouth from last year's loss to Kansas. Multiple quarterbacks have led both teams, making the play of their excellent defenses that much more important.

January 2nd  

AT&T Cotton 2 PM on Fox
Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech
Cotton Bowl (Dallas)

Houston Nutt's going to have his hands full with one of the country's most prolific offenses. Tough sledding for the Rebels. Then again, who expected Ole Miss to win eight game this season anyway? Another subplot will be the future of Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree and head coach Mike Leach.

AutoZone Liberty 5 PM on ESPN 
Kentucky vs. East Carolina
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium (Memphis)

The Conference USA champs take on an SEC opponent, and they'll have quite the challenge in going up against an underrated Kentucky defense.  

Allstate Sugar 8 PM on Fox
Utah vs. Alabama
Louisiana Superdome (New Orleans)

The undefeated Utes take on one of the blue bloods in college football. Motivation shouldn't be an issue for the Crimson Tide, given the fact that New Orleans was the annual goal of SEC teams before the BCS began. Both teams will look to run the football in order to control the flow of play.

January 3rd  

International Noon on ESPN2
Buffalo vs. Connecticut
Rogers Centre (Toronto)

Turner Gill's team looks to finish off one of the more remarkable turnarounds in recent college football history, but they'll have to stop the nation's leading rusher (Donald Brown) to do it. Interesting fact: Buffalo QB Drew Willy has thrown three or more touchdown passes in four games this season. UConn quarterbacks have four touchdown passes on the season combined.  

January 5th  

Tostitos Fiesta 8 PM on Fox
Ohio State vs. Texas
University of Phoenix Stadium (Glendale, AZ)

This game will have the mouths of both fan bases watering. They've met recently in the regular season, with the visiting team taking both of those games (2005 and 2006). The rubber match comes in the Valley of the Sun, and given the travelling reputation of both teams the Fiesta Bowl committee will be smiling all the way to the bank.

January 6th  

Tulsa vs. Ball State
Ladd-Peebles Stadium (Mobile, AL)

Quarterbacks Nate Davis (Ball State) and David Johnson (Tulsa) were the best players in their respective leagues this season, and there should be a lot of points scored in this one. But given the disappointing way in which their seasons ended, keep an eye on body language here. And let's hope that Ball State does better against Tulsa than Bowling Green did (63-7) last year.

January 8th  

FedEx BCS National Championship Game 8 PM on Fox
Florida vs. Oklahoma
Dolphin Stadium (Miami)

The two best teams from the two best conferences, two of the nation's best offenses piloted by two of the best quarterbacks. What more could you ask for? Well, if I were a Texas fan...