>> JANUARY 7
BCS National Championship
At New Orleans | 6 p.m. Fox | Payout: $17 million
Ohio State (11-1) vs. LSU (11-2)
The Buckeyes hope to avoid a repeat performance of last year’s title game and prove they’re better than their soft schedule.
The Tigers will just look to finish the game in less than three overtimes. After all, they’re unbeaten in regulation.
>> JANUARY 1
At Pasadena, Calif. | 2:30 p.m. ABC | Payout: $17 million
Southern California (10-2) vs. Illinois (9-3)
USC might just be the best team in the land. A win over the Fighting Ron Zooks can only solidify that claim.
At New Orleans | 6:30 p.m. Fox | Payout: $17 million
Hawaii (12-0) vs. Georgia (10-2)
This is Hawaii’s time to shine. Some wonder if it can hang with an SEC team. I wonder if it can play before midnight EST.
>> JANUARY 2
At Glendale | 6 p.m. FOX | Payout: $17 million
West Virginia (10-2) vs. Oklahoma (11-2)
Late-season losses cost each a chance at playing for the
BCS championship. Instead they’ll play for chips and salsa.
>> JANUARY 3
At Miami, Fla. | 6 p.m. Fox | Payout: $17 million
Kansas (11-1) vs. Virginia Tech (11-2
The Jayhawks want to prove their loss was a fluke & beat a tough “D”. Coach Mark Mangino will try not to eat the Orange Bowl.
>> DECEMBER 20
At San Diego | 7 p.m. ESPN | Payout: $750,000
Utah (8-4) vs. Navy (8-4)
Navy QB Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada ran the triple option. Hope you found three other options to watch instead.
>> DECEMBER 21
New Orleans Bowl
At New Orleans | 6 p.m. ESPN2 | Payout: $325,000
Fla. Atlantic (7-5) vs. Memphis (7-5)
It’s tough being the third-best bowl game in your city. Perhaps it should be played in November instead.
>> DECEMBER 22
At Birmingham, Ala. | 11 a.m. ESPN2 | Payout: $300,000
Cincinnati (9-3) vs. So. Miss (7-5)
“Better Ingredients. Better Pizza.”
How about “Better Teams. Better Bowl.”
Can I opt for DiGiorno Bowl instead?
New Mexico Bowl
At Albuquerque, N.M. | 2:30 p.m. ESPN | Payout: $750,000
New Mexico (8-4) vs. Nevada (6-6)
Try planning “a nice little Saturday … go to Home Depot. Maybe Bed Bath & Beyond … if you have enough time.”
Las Vegas Bowl
At Las Vegas | 6 p.m. ESPN | Payout: $1 million
BYU (10-2) vs. UCLA (6-6)
Another wise pick by the Las Vegas Bowl committee. Because we all know how much Mormons love Sin City.
>> DECEMBER 23
At Honolulu | 6 p.m. ESPN | Payout: $750,000
E. Carolina (7-5) vs. Boise St. (10-2)
No Cinderella story. No surprise marriage proposal. No Statue of Liberty play. But the surfing’s great.
>> DECEMBER 26
Motor City Bowl
At Detroit | 5:30 p.m. ESPN | Payout: $750,000
C. Michigan (8-5) vs. Purdue (7-5)
The Boilermakers already annihilated Central Michigan once this year (45-22), but anything can happen in Detroit.
>> DECEMBER 27
At San Diego | 6 p.m. ESPN | Payout: $2.25 million
ASU (10-2) vs. Texas (9-3)
Finally, an exciting game to watch. ASU will play with a chip on its shoulder after missing out on a big BCS payday.
>> DECEMBER 28
Champs Sports Bowl
At Orlando, Fla. | 3 p.m. ESPN | Payout: $2.125 million
Boston College (10-3) vs. Mich. St. (7-5)
B.C. has a stout defense, but all eyes will be on QB Matt Ryan as he makes his case for becoming a Miami Dolphin.
At San Francisco | 6 p.m. ESPN | Payout: $1.575M (total)
Maryland (6-6) vs. Oregon St. (8-4)
The Beavers have something to prove while the Terps seem to be more focused on cable cars and sea lions.
At Houston | 6 p.m. NFL | Payout: $1.25M (total)
Houston (8-4) vs. TCU (7-5)
Houston’s offense versus TCU’s defense should be an interesting matchup … if you are from Texas.
>> DECEMBER 29
At Charlotte, N.C. | 11 a.m. ESPN | Payout: $750,000
UConn (9-3) vs. Wake Forest (8-4)
Aka the “We almost beat Virginia Bowl” (both lost 17-16 at UVA). The Huskies aren’t really overachieving, are they?
At Memphis, Tenn. | 2:30 p.m. ESPN | Payout: $1.75 million
Mississippi St. (7-5) vs. UCF (10-3)
UCF’s Kevin Smith goes for the single-season rushing record while George O’Leary “tweaks” his résumé.
At San Antonio | 6 p.m. ESPN | Payout: $2.225 million
Penn State (8-4) vs. Texas A&M (7-5)
81-year-old JoePa coaches his 500th game for the Nittany Lions in a matchup about 15 years past its prime.
>> DECEMBER 30
At Shreveport, La. | 6 p.m. ESPN | Payout: $1.1 million
Colorado (6-6) vs. Alabama (6-6)
Mmm, .500 football! Both teams have an upset & an upsetting season to their credit. Well, it’s this or Jets/Chiefs.
>> DECEMBER 31
Armed Forces Bowl
At Fort Worth, Texas | 10:30 a.m. ESPN | Payout: $750,000
California (6-6) vs. Air Force (9-3)
Shouldn’t the Armed Forces Bowl feature two Armed Forces programs? Cal isn’t even a force. Armed? Maybe.
At El Paso, Texas | Noon CBS | Payout: $1.9 million
So. Florida (9-3) vs. Oregon (8-4)
A game of the year candidate
in mid-October, now there isn’t even Dennis Dixon to watch.
At Boise, Idaho | Noon ESPN2 | Payout: $750,000
Fresno St. (8-4) vs. Georgia Tech (7-5)
What’s so humanitarian about having a couple of warm-weather teams play on blue turf on New Year’s Eve in Idaho?
>> DECEMBER 31
Music City Bowl
At Nashville, Tenn. | 2 p.m. ESPN | Payout: $1.6 million
Florida St. (7-5) vs. Kentucky (7-5)
A well-tested UK offense vs. the FSU junior varsity squad. Should be a thriller. Worth watching to see who’s not playing.
At Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe | 4 p.m. NFL | Payout: $1.25 million
Indiana (7-5) vs. Okla. St. (6-6)
IU, in its first bowl since '93, will win one for Coach Hoep in an emotional, heart-warming game you probably won’t see.
At Atlanta | 5:30 p.m. ESPN | Payout: $2.9 million
Clemson (9-3) vs. Auburn (8-4)
A betting man would put his money on the Tigers. Good old-fashioned Southern football before the midnight kissing.
>> JANUARY 1
At Tampa, Fla. | 9 a.m. ESPN | Payout: $3.1 million
Wisconsin (9-3) vs. Tennessee (9-4)
The SEC is superior to the Big Ten right now and this will be the first of three Big Ten bowl losses to the SEC.
At Dallas | 9:30 a.m. Fox | Payout: $3 million
Missouri (11-2) vs. Arkansas (8-4)
Two Heisman finalists, a team robbed
of a BCS berth and plenty of offense make this one a don’t-miss.
Capital One Bowl
At Orlando, Fla. | 11 a.m. ABC | Payout: $4.25 million
Michigan (8-4) vs. Florida (9-3)
Heisman-winner Tim Tebow’s bum thumb shouldn’t affect his passing or running. Neither will Michigan.
At Jacksonville, Fla. | 11 a.m. CBS | Payout: $2.25 million
Virginia (9-3) vs. Texas Tech (8-4)
TT will throw all day, all night & probably into the next day (not including chairs by hoops coach Bobby Knight).
>> JANUARY 5
At Toronto | 10 a.m. ESPN2 | Payout: $750,000
Rutgers (7-4) vs. Ball State (7-5)
Two good offenses, two bad defenses and an extra 10 yards of field length should make for some gaudy stats.
>> JANUARY 6
At Mobile, Ala. | 6 p.m. ESPN | Payout: $750,000
Tulsa (9-4) vs. Bowling Green (8-4)
Maybe this should be called the “BCS Eve Bowl.” The only college games after Jan. 1 should be BCS and basketball.