12/11/09 — Opinion -- Few non-BCS matchups are intriguing in own way

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Opinion -- Few non-BCS matchups are intriguing in own way

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on December 11, 2009 1:46 PM

The end of college football season is an event that annually haunts me like taxes and embarrassing pictures of my childhood.

The lone silver lining in the sport's nearly seven month departure is the 33 bowls that span 20 days. A few more 'thank-God-for-DVR" moments and jaw-dropping plays can make the long wait for the start of the 2010 season just a bit more tolerable.

While the BCS bowls are designed to be the crowned jewels of the bowl season, I would argue several other contests offer equally or in some cases more enticing matchups.

The following is a list of intriguing non-BCS bowls:

Sun Bowl

Oklahoma vs. No. 21 Stanford

Stanford makes its first bowl appearance since 2001, while Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops has lost five of his last six bowl outings.

The Sooners will face the challenge of slowing down the Cardinal and a rushing attack led by Heisman candidate Toby Gerhart that ranked 11th in the nation. Oklahoma finished the regular season seventh in the country in rushing defense allowing less than 90 yards a game.

Chick-fil-A Bowl

Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee

Virginia Tech is winless in two previous trips to Atlanta this season and just 2-3 in its last five bowl games.

Hokies freshman running back Ryan Williams has nine 100-yard games this season. This New Year's Eve showdown also features the nation's 14th- and 15th-ranked defenses.

Knocking off a quality opponent and finishing the year 8-5 would leave fans in Knoxville feeling good about year one of the Lane Kiffin era.

Gator Bowl

No. 16 West Virginia vs. Florida State

The "Bobby Bowden Bowl" will match the legendary Seminoles head coach against the school he coached from 1970-75.

The Florida State defense, which surrendered 30 or more points five different times this season, could have its hands full with the Big East's No. 2-ranked rushing offense. The Mountaineers have won four straight bowl games since losing the 2004 Gator Bowl to the Seminoles.

Capital One Bowl

No. 13 Penn State vs. No. 12 LSU

All three of LSU's losses were decided in the fourth quarter, while the Nittany Lions lost the only two games of significance (Iowa, Ohio State) on their schedule.

A win over Penn State would give the Tigers 10 wins for the fourth time in five years under head coach Les Miles. Joe Paterno could extend his mark of more bowl wins than any coach in history to 24.