Bowl Season and the Coaching Carousel

This bowl season looks to be a real sleeper. I was intrigued by the Orange Bowl matchup of Florida State and Northern Illinois until the NIU coach bailed for NC State. Coachless teams tend to lose their bowl games. Bad. Ask Cincy how that went when Brian Kelly ditched them ahead of the Florida BCS game.

But there should be a few good matchups at least. Here are the games I’m looking forward to watching:

Toledo vs Utah State: The Aggies should in all reality be undefeated. The MAC had an up year and Toledo was a part of that. Of the non-BCS teams matched up in bowl games, this should be one of the better games.

Baylor vs UCLA: On paper this isn’t a sexy matchup. Baylor had two less wins than UCLA. But Baylor came on strong in the end of the season, beating Kansas State and Oklahoma State. UCLA lost their last two games. Granted, both were against Stanford. But a team on the rise against one declining a bit. Should be interesting.

Texas vs Oregon State: One team started with high expectations and didn’t live up to them. One started with no expectations and finished in the top 15. I also have a soft spot for Pac-12/Big 12 matchups, thinking of what might have been if it had become the Pac-16.

LSU vs Clemson: Well let’s see, Georgia Tech lost to Georgia, Clemson lost to South Carolina and Florida State lost to Florida. Seems the ACC can’t hang with the SEC. Except that the teams that gave LSU the hardest time this year looked just like Clemson. Should be interesting.

Georgia vs Nebraska: Who is more disappointed? If Georgia had just not played in the SEC championship they would be in the Sugar Bowl. If Nebraska had shown up for the Big Ten championship they would be in the Rose Bowl. Now they both play each other in the battle of who cares less. That means anything can happen, and those are the fun games to watch.

Oregon vs Kansas State: Probably the game I am most looking forward to. Remember when these two were #1 and #2?

Texas A&M vs Oklahoma: You knew the Aggies would be going up against a former conference foe in the Cotton Bowl. They were an easy choice from the SEC instead of LSU or South Carolina. This might show which conference was better top to bottom this year.

Alabama vs Notre Dame: It’s one against two, how can you not want to watch this one? I’ll say this, Notre Dame is modeled after Texas A&M, a team that gave Alabama fits. In fact, Alabama only played three good teams and they all gave them fits. LSU, Georgia and Texas A&M are all similar teams…and similar to Notre Dame. Should be a good matchup.

As far as coaching changes go, Arkansas has already picked up Bret Bielema from Wisconsin and Auburn has brought back former OC Gus Malzahn as their new head coach. Word is Cal is fighting very hard for Christ Peterson of Boise State and that Charlie Strong and David Shaw are names everyone is going after. Going to be fun to see how that all shakes out.