Top 5 Non-BCS Bowl Games to Watch: A Fan’s Take

Yahoo! Sports writer Dan Wetzel has made it abundantly clear that the CBS is a broken system. With so many questionable bowl choices, especially those we get to play in a BCS bowl game, it adds intrigue to other notable matchups.

This Saturday marks the beginning of the bowl season. It was kicked off by an unexciting win by Temple. The Owls defeated the Wyoming Cowboys by a score of 37-15 and may be foreshadowing for some other underwhelming bowl games.

There are three contests that feature all 6-6 teams: the Music City Bowl (Mississippi State vs. Wake Forest), the Texas Bowl (Northwestern vs. Texas A&M) and the Gator Bowl (Ohio State vs. Florida). Can you hear the yawning already?

The most upsetting bowl game selection, from a hardcore football fan's perspective, is the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. This game features two teams who have a combined losing record; Illinois sits at 6-6 and UCLA sputtered to a 6-7 finish. The Bruins were awarded a bowl game waiver by the NCAA to remain eligible if they lost the PAC-12 Championship to the Oregon Ducks.

There are teams like Western Kentucky (7-5) and Ball State (6-6) who were just as deserving of a bowl game appearance who are sitting at home while a team with a losing record plays in the post-season.

In the end, the bowl selection committee has their reasons, both public and private, and fans live with their choices. Luckily for fans everywhere, the Liberty Bowl is played a the same time and features an entertaining Cincinnati Bearcats team.

Here are the Top 5 Non-BCS Bowls of 2011:

#5 - Capital One Bowl (Nebraska, 9-3 vs. South Carolina, 10-2)

The Nebraska Cornhuskers got a rude welcome in their first year in the Big Ten Conference, taking major beatings from Wisconsin and Michigan. This game is an opportunity to reassert themselves as a top team against a good ACC foe. South Carolina was one of many teams that some thought were snubbed by the BCS selection process and gets a chance to show the nation against a historically good Husker defense.

#4 - Las Vegas Bowl (Boise State, 11-1 vs. Arizona State, 6-6)

Boise State has lost a total of three games in four seasons and has been to only one BCS bowl game. Another season, another disappointing bowl selection. Boise State is the only BCS Top 10 ranked team to be playing before January 1st. It is another chance for the Broncos to beat a mediocre team and no matter how strong the message, it will fall on deaf ears. No matter the matchup, it's an unacceptable farewell for Kellen Moore.

#3 - Outback Bowl (Michigan State, 10-3 vs. Georgia, 10-3)

This may be the most exciting Non-BCS game being played if the best versions of each team shows up to play. Michigan State gets to compete against a good Georgia Bulldogs team in the national spotlight. For the Spartans, a good consolation game after falling by 3 points to the Badgers. For Georgia, a potential bounce back after getting dismantled by LSU in the SEC Championship Game.

#2 - Alamo Bowl (Baylor, 9-3 vs. Washington, 7-5)

How many touchdowns will the Heisman trophy winning Robert Griffin III have against the Huskies porous defense? Baylor comes into the game riding the momentum of a big win over Texas in the Big 12 Championship. Washington has lost four of its previous six games and is looking to prove themselves against one of the surprise teams of the season.

#1 - Cotton Bowl (Arkansas, 10-2 vs. Kansas State, 10-2)

Both teams have huge fans bases that were stunned when their teams didn't make it to a BCS bowl game. Arkansas lost only two games, each to #1 LSU and #2 Alabama; most disappointing given its significance. Kansas State lost two games as well, to two good #14 Oklahoma and #3 Oklahoma State teams in back-to-back weeks. A great game where both teams have a chance to prove they are one of the elite teams in the country.

Honorable Mention: Bowl (Northern Illinois, 10-3 vs. Arkansas State, 10-2)