There are 39 bowl games and thankfully for college football fans, they’re spread out throughout the holiday season to offer a three-hour break from shopping, caroling, and stuffing ones face with trimmings.
Though the participants in the year’s biggest bowl, the National Championship Game (to be held January 12 in Arlington, TX) won’t be determined until the first round of the first ever college football playoff takes place on New Years Day, the rest of the matchups are ready to go. Here’s a look:
Saturday, December 20
New Orleans Bowl: Nevada (-1.5) vs. LA Lafayette, 11 a.m on ESPN
Senior Cody Fajardo leads the favored Wolf Pack vs the Sun Belt’s Ragin’ Cajunsin the first bowl game of the season.
New Mexico Bowl: Utah State (-11) vs. Texas El Paso, 2:20 p.m. on ESPN
UTEP’sAaron Jones has run for 1,233 yards and will have his hands full against Utah State’s No. 21-ranked scoring defense.
Las Vegas Bowl: Utah (-4) vs. Colorado State, 3:30 p.m. on ESPN
Both teams are much-improved from last season, Colorado State is 10-2 a year after going 3-9 and Utah is 8-4 after going 5-7.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Western Michigan (-3) vs. Air Force, 5:45 p.m. on ESPN
Western Michiganrunning back Jarvion Franklin, a freshman, helped his team win eight winsen route to a MAC offensive player of the year award.
Camellia Bowl: South Alabama vs. Bowling Green (-1.5), 9:15 pm. on ESPN
With just 13 wins between the two teams, both are happy to just earn a bowl appearance.
Monday, December 22
Miami Beach Bowl: BYU vs. Memphis (-1), 2 p.m. on ESPN
In the inaugural Beach Bowl, BYU will try and combat 6-foot-7 signal caller Paxton Lynch for the Memphis Tigers.
Tuesday, December 23
Boca Raton Bowl: Marshall (-11) vs. Northern Illinois, 6 p.m. on ESPN
Marshall saw it’s perfect season end in the final weekend of the regular season and it will seek revenge against the MAC’s top squad in Northern Illinois.
Poinsettia Bowl, Navy vs. San Diego St (-1.5), 9:30 p.m. on ESPN
The slightly favored Aztecs will have their hands full against college football’s second-best rushing attack in Navy, averaging 357.8 yards per game on the ground.
Wednesday, December 24
Bahamas Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky (-2) 12 p.m. on ESPN
The inaugural Bahamas Bowl will be the first FBS bowl game played outside of the U.S. or Canada since 1937.
Hawaii Bowl: Fresno State (-2.5) vs. Rice, 8 p.m. on ESPN
Both teams earnedbowl appearances after 0-3 starts, and both have potential NFL wideouts on their rosters: Fresno State’s Josh Harper and Rice’s Jordan Taylor.
Friday, December 26
Heart of Dallas Bowl, Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech (-4), 1 p.m. on ESPN
Louisiana Tech just missed a conference title and will face Big 10-tested Illinois, a team thankful to be in a bowl at all.
Quick Lane Bowl, Rutgers vs. North Carolina (-3), 4:30 p.m. on ESPN
It’s a battle of two teams without very good defenses — so it could be a slugfest. Both allow over 30 points per game.
St. Petersburg Bowl: North Carolina State vs. Central Florida (-3), 8 p.m. on ESPN
Central Florida has a tight defense and they could ruin the homecoming of Florida transfer Jacoby Brissett, NC State’s quarterback.
Saturday, December 27
Military Bowl: Cincinnati (-3.5) vs. Virginia Tech, 1 p.m. on ESPN
Cincy’sGunner Kiel threw for an AAC-leading 30 touchdowns whole the Hokiesfinished second in tackles for loss per game and ninth in defensive efficiency.
Sun Bowl: Arizona State (-9) vs. Duke, 2 p.m. on CBS
Both teams sports 9-3 records as Arizona State’s powerful offense will face off against the Blue Devils’ top 25-ranked defense.
Independence Bowl: Miami (FL) vs. South Carolina (even), 3:30 p.m. on ABC
Two key players to watch: Miami’s Duke Johnson (1,520 rushing yards) and South Carolina’s Brad Kayaa (ACC rookie of the year).
Pinstripe Howl: Boston College (-2.5) vs. Penn State, 4:30 p.m. on ESPN
PSU has the nation’s No. 2 defense while BC has the nation’s 12th. Don’t expect many points on the board in Yankee Stadium in this one.
Holiday Bowl: Nebraska vs. USC (-4.5), 8 p.m. on ESPN
Cody Kessler has 36 touchdowns and just two interceptions for the Trojans, the latest in a rich quarterback lineage for USC.
Monday, December 29
Liberty Bowl: Texas A&M vs. West Virginia (even), 2 p.m. on ESPN
Both of these teams are in the top 12 in passing yards per game with more than 300 apiece.
Russell Athletic Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Clemson, 5:30 p.m. on ESPN
This is arguably the best matchup outside of the New Years Day six. Clemson has a stiflingdefense, while the Sooners average nearly 40 points per game.
Texas Bowl: Arkansas (-5) vs. Texas, 9 p.m. on ESPN
A fun matchup in Texas, but not a good one with both squads supplying just 6-6 regular season records.
Tuesday, December 30
Music City Bowl: Notre Dame vs. LSU (-7.5), 3 p.m. on ESPN
Both of these teams were ranked in the top 10 at some point this season before falling apart during the stretch run.
Belk Bowl: Georgia (-7) vs. Louisville, 6:30 p.m. on ESPN
These two teams have never met, but the Bulldogs and their 41.7 points per game make them a big favorite in Charlotte.
Foster Farms Bowl: Maryland vs. Stanford (-13), 10 p.m. on ESPN
Stanford has the home-field advantage, playing just 20 minutes from campus at Levi’s Stadium.
Wednesday, December 31
Peach Bowl: Mississippi vs. TCU (-3), 12:30 p.m. on ESPN
TCU was left out of the playoff picture and will have to settle with a pretty good matchup againstoverachieving Ole Miss.
Fiesta Bowl: Boise State vs. Arizona (-3.5), 4 p.m. on ESPN
Boise State is back in the Fiesta Bowl, site of their legendary 2007 victory.
Orange Bowl: Mississippi State (-7) vs. Georgia Tech, 8 p.m. on ESPN
Both of these teams have followed similar paths, improving from seven wins last season to 10 each this season — and into a marquee bowl game.
Thursday, January 1
Outback Bowl: Auburn (-5.5) vs. Wisconsin, 12 p.m. on ESPN2
Watch out for Wisconsin Heisman candidate Melvin Gordon against Auburn’s Cameron Artis-Payne, the SEC’s leading rusher.
Cotton Bowl: Michigan State vs. Baylor (-3), 12:30 p.m. on ESPN
The No. 5 Bears are not happy to be out of the playoff and will surely unleash their wrath against the Big 10’s Michigan State.
Citrus Bowl: Missouri (-6.5) vs. Minnesota, 1 p.m. on ABC
The run-heavy Minnesota offense will vie with the top defensive line in the SEC.
Rose Bowl Playoff Semifinal: Florida State vs. Oregon (-9.5), 5 p.m. on ESPN
Florida State has won 29 games in a row, and their leader –last year’s Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston — will face off against this year’s favorite, Marcus Mariota in a dream matchup in Pasadena.
Sugar Bowl Playoff Semifinal: Ohio State vs. Alabama (-10), 8:30 p.m. on ESPN
Nick Sabanand Urban Meyer meet again — their two most recent meetings were in the 2008 and 2009 SEC title games. Ohio State has its hands full with a third string quarterback against the Tide’s defense (allowing just 16.76 points per game).
Friday, January 2
Armed Forces Bowl: Houston vs Pittsburgh (-2), 12 p.m. on ESPN
Houston’s Efram Oliphant has 129 tackles, 10th in the country, and he could be a thorn in the Panthers’ side.
TaxSlayerBowl: Iowa vs. Tennessee (-3), 3:20 p.m. on ESPN
Two inconsistent teams face off in Jacksonville, each needing to stop the run to prevail.
Alamo Bowl: Kansas State (-2.5) vs. UCLA, 6:45 p.m. on ESPN
The Bruins saw their Pac-12 South hopes wither in a loss to Stanford, but they can end their season with double digit wins if they can slow down Kansas State and quarterback Jake Waters.
Cactus Bowl: Washington (-5) vs. Oklahoma State, 10:15 p.m. on ESPN
The Cowboys won five straight early and then lose five straight late. It’s anyones guess which Oklahoma State squad will show up against Washington’s potent pass rush.
Saturday, January 3
Birmingham Bowl: East Carolina vs. Florida (-7), 12 p.m. on ESPN
Florida will have to keep Shane Carden(4,309 passing yards) and the nation’s No. 2 passing attack under wraps to win this one.
Sunday, January 4
GoDaddy.com Bowl: Toledo (-1) vs. Arkansas State, 9 p.m. on ESPN
The teams in this matchup average a combined 70 points per game. There coule be fireworks in Mobile, Alabama.