Joe Knows

It’s the way it’s meant to be. It’s the way the Gipper, the Bear and everyone who appreciates history wants it.

This year’s BCS National Championship game between Notre Dame and Alabama will be steeped in tradition like few title games have.

But three weeks of bowl games should produce some new history.

In the case you’re a college football expert — or you’re me —  you can watch all 35 bowl games. Or just these five intriguing ones.

Alamo Bowl —  6:45 p.m. Dec. 29, ESPN

This year’s Alamo bowl should serve as a suitable appetizer for the more high-profile bowl to follow. A matchup of two evenly matched teams, it’s the first bowl to feature two ranked squads.

No. 23 Texas is coming off a two straight losses, including an atrocious second half collapse to Kansas State in the Big 12 championship game. Similarly, Oregon State started the season off 7-0 before losing three of its next five Pac-12 games.

Chick-fil-A Bowl — 7:30 Dec. 31, ESPN

The only greater contrast of styles than the two teams in this game, LSU and Clemson, would be finding a Chick-fil-A in Provincetown.

No. 8 LSU and No. 14 Clemson both carry 10-2 records and have legitimate BCS cases, but the similarities end there. LSU will take as few shots down the field as possible and let its 11th ranked defense take over the game, while Clemson’s spread offense can put up points at the drop of Les Miles’ hat.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say the Tigers take this one.

Orange Bowl — 8:30 p.m. Jan. 1, ESPN

What better way to begin your 2013 than with one of the most unique Orange Bowls ever as MAC champion Northern Illinois will carry its sling shot to Miami to face the Philistine Seminoles.

No. 15 Northern Illinois barely qualified for the BCS and will be rewarded by having to face ACC champion Florida State, which features one of the most balanced attacks in the country

If the Huskies are to pull off an upset a la Boise State over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, they’ll have to do so without head coach Dave Doeren, who left to coach North Carolina State.

Fiesta Bowl — 8:30 p.m. Jan. 3, ESPN

Two weeks ago, Kansas State and Oregon thought they’d be meeting each other—albeit for the National Championship. But the Fiesta isn’t a bad consolation prize for the Wildcats and Ducks, who each suffered a hiccup down the stretch.

Each team employs up-tempo spread offensive attacks and features dynamic offensive players. Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein will be among the Heisman finalists in New York Saturday, while the Ducks’ Kenjon Barner can rack up 100 yards faster than you can insult Oregon’s uniforms.

Cotton Bowl —  8 p.m. Jan. 4, FOX

After narrowly missing out on BCS bowls, former Big 12 rivals Texas A&M and Oklahoma will take their case to Dallas.

The ninth-ranked Aggies come into the game riding a five-game win streak, which includes a win over then-No. 1 Alabama a month ago. Oklahoma, ranked 11th in the BCS standings, has lost only to No. 5 Kansas State and top-ranked Notre Dame.

With Johnny Manziel and Landry Jones slinging the ball around, don’t be surprised to see a couple records broken by the end of the game.



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