Just like a kid waiting for Christmas morning, college football bettors are counting down the minutes until New Year’s Day, when the BCS bowls kick off.
While you wait it out for the big boys to clash, don’t put blinders on to the rest of bowl season. Here are four great non-BCS bowls to watch and wager on this holiday season:
Holiday Bowl: Arizona State Sun Devils vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (+13.5)
Don’t let that near two-touchdown spread fool you. This could be one of the most entertaining bowl games – BCS or not – this entire bowl season.
The Red Raiders have the offensive weaponry to keep pace with ASU, averaging 35.7 points per game and airing it out for the second most yards in the country (392 yards per game). The Sun Devils come in deflated after a loss at home in the Pac-12 title game and could be walking into a shootout on Dec. 30.
Advocare V100 Bowl: Arizona Wildcats vs. Boston College (+7.5)
This New Year’s Eve bowl game will turn into a track meet between two of the most dynamic running backs in college football.
Boston College stud rusher and Heisman finalist Andre Williams – the nation’s top runner (2,102 yards) – takes on Arizona RB Ka'Deem Carey, who ranked fifth in the country with 1,720 yards on the ground. Many in the Tucson area believe Carey was snubbed by the Heisman folks and that the Wildcats will use the bowl stage to showcase their star player. Could be value in the Under with both teams looking to tear up the turf.
Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Duke Blue Devils vs. Texas A&M Aggies (-11.5)
There are a couple reasons why this spread sits at a brow-furrowing 11.5 points. The Blue Devils are one of the surprise teams this season, going 10-3 SU and ATS. While Duke did get rolled by Florida State in the ACC title game, you can’t discount the Blue Devils for losing to a team that’s favored by almost nine points in the BCS Championship.
And the other reason is actually more of a question: Where is Johnny Manziel’s head going to be in his final college game? The former Heisman winner will likely jump to the pros after this New Year’s Eve performance. Will he go all out to boost his draft stock or get caught looking past Duke after a disappointing season?
Capital One Bowl: South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Wisconsin Badgers (+1)
The nation’s most destructive defensive force – Gamecocks DL Jadeveon Clowney – runs into one of the most rock-solid offensive lines, with South Carolina and Wisconsin clashing at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
Clowney is another pro-ready talent likely making the leap to Sundays, but his stock took a knock this week when he was flagged for speeding – going 110 mph in a 70 zone. The Badgers consistently have one of the better offensive lines in the land. Wisconsin allowed only 15 sacks for a total of just 87 yards lost and averaged only five tackles for a loss allowed per game on the season. It’s a classic “unstoppable force meets immovable object” showdown.