Top 5 Can’t Miss Bowl Games

Unless they're edible, don't waste time choosing between the Macaroni & Cheese Bowl and the Potato Bowl.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

If you're like me, this holiday season will be filled with a lot of spiked eggnog and countless hours of watching football. Ahh, just the way to spend the final days of the year.

If you're going to waste away on the couch, might as well do it with some informative decisions going in. Considering the games begin Dec. 15, now's the time to start planning ahead. Not sure about you, but I'm not interested in watching the 'Beef O' Brady Bowl,' 'Bourbon Bowl,' or anything that sounds like a satire from South Park.

Here are the top five can't miss college bowl games to catch this holiday season.

5. Baylor vs. UCLA – Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl
SAN DIEGO, CA – Dec. 27, 9:45 PM ET – ESPN

Let's begin with the game that won't be on many lists. UCLA head coach Jim Mora Jr. was one win away (twice) from leading his team to the Rose Bowl, virtually turning the program around 180 degrees in his first season. Baylor ranks No 1. in the country in total offense at nearly 600 yards per game, but are No. 119 in defense. This game should be an offensive explosion.

4. Northern Illinois vs. Florida State – Discover Orange Bowl.
MIAMI, FL – Jan. 1, 8:30 PM ET – ESPN

You'll be in the mood to root for any underdog after seeing a plethora of different versions of 'Tiny Tim' this Christmas. Look no further with Northern Illinois. NIU, a perennial powerhouse in an underrated MAC conference, will take their No. 9 ranked scoring offense (40.77 ppg) against FSU's No. 7 ranked scoring defense. NIU is the first MAC team to ever make a BCS bowl game, so a win against an 11-2 FSU would be monumental.

3. Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma – AT&T Cotton Bowl
ARLINGTON, TX – Jan. 4, 8:00 PM ET – FOX

Who doesn't want to watch the bowl game that features the current Heisman Trophy winner? Aggies quarterback Johnny "Football" Manziel became the first Freshman to ever win the award Saturday. On Jan. 4 he'll take his A&M squad against former conference foe, Oklahoma, in what's sure to be a huge shootout in Dallas. With A&M averaging 552 yards a game and Oklahoma averaging 507, this game will be electric.

2. Oregon vs. Kansas State – Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
GLENDALE, AZ – Jan. 3, 8:30 PM ET –  ESPN

Both teams were in the driver's seat to a national championship game just a few weeks ago. Now they're facing off in Arizona in what's sure to be one of the most exciting BCS matchups this year. The Ducks are ranked No. 4 in the nation while the Wildcats are ranked No. 5. Oregon averages over 50 points a game — absolutely insane. KSU has Heisman finalist Collin Klein. So what's to give?… Oregon is guaranteed to have the most electrifying jersey/helmet combo; that has to count for something.

1. Alabama vs. Notre Dame – Discover BCS National Championship
MIAMI, FL – Jan. 7, 8:30 PM ET – ESPN

And, finally, of course, the only game that truly matters: the BCS national championship.

Can the SEC really make it an incredible seven years in a row they've won the title? Can Nick Saban win his fourth championship and solidify himself as the greatest coach of our generation?

If the Crimson Tide pull off this victory it would be their third championship in four years. The last team to pull that off — Notre Dame from 1946-1949; however, every single one of those championships were shared with another school.

How fitting would it be for Notre Dame to end the Tide's and SEC's streak all at once? Or, how amazing would it be to see a school dominate the college football landscape unlike anything we've ever seen?

Alabama could be the first school to win three unshared championships in four years. Notre Dame is trying to play up to their epic reputation.

We all know one thing: it will come down to defense. Notre Dame ranks No. 1 in the country, only allowing 10.33 points per game. Alabama is No. 2 in the nation at only 10.69 points per game.

Josh Helmuth is the editor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JHelmuth or subscribe at

Photo Credit: Getty