Thirty-five bowl games seems to many, but hey if you love college football then it is just fine; even though there are throngs of teams that sneaked in with 6-6 records and an unranked Connecticut team that is in a BCS game. The BCS bowl games are typically the most talked about games, but alas there are plenty of other bowl games of interest that are not of the BCS variety. Now, I could go through and make a compelling point in watching each game, but instead I will take a look at the most interesting non-BCS bowl games. This is part one so keep on the look out for part two later this week.
All times, mountain.
New Mexico Bowl Dec. 17th, 12:00 p.m. ESPN
Brigham Young Cougars (6-6) vs. UTEP Miners (6-6)
Odds: BYU -13
This bowl makes the cut because it kicks off bowl season. Plus, for those who are unaware there is a curse surrounding the winner of this game; ever since the inception of this game the winner has yet to have a winning record since. The curse currently has a tight grip on San Jose State (2006), New Mexico (2007), Colorado State (2008) and Wyoming 2009. So, if you strongly dislike UTEP or BYU then you should cheer for them to win this game and then enjoy the suffering they will have next year.
Las Vegas Bowl Dec. 22nd, 6:00 p.m. ESPN
No. 10 Boise State Broncos (11-1) vs. No. 20 Utah Utes (10-2)
Odds: Boise State -17
Boise State is bummed that they are not in a BCS bowl, but at least they avoided playing a MAC or low level ACC opponent. They get to face off against Utah who for a time was in the discussion for a BCS bid; that is until the Utes were blown out by TCU and Notre Dame. Utah will be without starting quarterback Jordan Wynn who underwent shoulder surgery this past week and will miss the game, so backup Terrance Cain be starting this game. Kellen Moore for Boise State is a Heisman finalist and will look to pick apart a suspect Utah secondary. Also, Boise is upset going into this game since Utah bought out their series due to their move to the Pac-12.
Poinsettia Bowl Dec. 23rd, 6:00 p.m. ESPN
San Diego State Aztecs (8-4) vs. Navy Midshipman (9-3)
Odds: San Diego State -5.5
This is the game that the country will be introduced to Aztec quarterback Ryan Lindley. He has been tearing up the Mountain West since his freshman year, and as a junior finally has the coach to get them to a bowl game. Plus, San Diego State has possibly the best freshman player in the country in running back Ronnie Hillman. Hillman was 12th in the nation in rushing and ahead of the more famed freshman, South Carolina Gamecock Marcus Lattimore. Everyone knows what Navy can do and that is run the triple option to perfection. Expect this game to feature a lot of points and a heated crowd since the Poinsettia Bowl is at the home of the Aztecs, and San Diego is a Navy town.
Hawai'i Bowl Dec. 24th, 6:00 p.m. ESPN
Hawai'i Warriors (10-3) vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (9-3)
Odds: Hawai'i -11
It is Christmas Eve and if you have all of your shopping down then sit in for a game that could feature 800 plus passing yards. Plus, living in a cold part of the country it is nice to see a glimpse of the tropical paradise that Hawai'i is. Hawai'i's Bryant Moniz to Greg Sales is a deadly combination between a quarterback and a receiver. Moniz leads the nation in passing with 4,629 yards and Sales led the nation in receiving yards at 1,675, so do not blink or you could miss a big play.
Independence Bowl Dec. 27th, 3:00 p.m. ESPN
Air Force Falcons (8-4) vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (6-6)
Odds: Air Force -2.5
This game will probably set a record time for bowl games. Both schools run the triple option and rarely pass, so the clock will be running nearly the entire time. There should be at least 500 yards of rushing yards alone between the two teams. Even though both schools run the ball a lot that does not mean they can not throw. When each of these teams do throw the ball it is usually when the defense is lulled to sleep -- or the safties move in to help on the run -- then strike deep with a big play. Two key injuries could play a factor in this game; Georgia Tech's quarterback Joshua Nesbitt and Air Force running back Jared Tew are recovering from injuries and their status are still undetermined at this time.
Alamo Bowl Dec. 29th, 7:20 p.m. ESPN
No. 16 Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-2) vs. Arizona Wildcats (7-5)
Odds: Oklahoma State -6.5
The Alamo Bowl moved up the bowl pecking order and is taking the place of the Holiday Bowl which means the scoreboard operator will be busy tonight. Even though Arizona is on a slide, they are still capable of slinging the ball around with quarterback Nick Foles and challenge most teams. On the Oklahoma State side this year was to be a rebuilding year, but had they beaten rival Oklahoma they would have gone to the Big 12 title game. The Cowboys were able to replace NFL-bound wide receiver Dez Bryant with another super star in Justin Blackmon who had 102 catches, 1,665 yards and 18 touchdowns. Plus, they have running back Kendal Hunter averaged 126 yards per game and scored 16 touchdowns.