The college football regular season is over and bowl season is upon us. This season features 35 games over a 17-day period beginning today and culminating January 6, 2014 with the BCS National Championship between No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Auburn.
Over the next two and a half weeks, Trevor Woods and I will preview each bowl game and highlight some potential draft eligible players to keep an eye on.
We kickoff bowl season with the following four game slate (all times Pacific):
Gildan New Mexico: Washington State (6-6) vs. Colorado State (7-6)
11 a.m. on ESPN from University Stadium, Albuquerque, NM
On paper this one looks like one you'd pass on in favor of Christmas shopping. But a closer look at these two teams and we might be in for a fun offensively dominated game. Mike Leach's (Michael Crabtree's former college coach) spread offense ranks fourth in the nation in passing and Colorado State QB Garrett Grayson average over eight yards per pass attempt.
Colorado State center Weston Richburg is a name to remember with the news the 49ers center Jonathan Goodwin may be contemplating retirement. Richburg reportedly received a fifth round draft grade from last year's NFL evaluation committee. After another solid season he may have improved on that grade a round or two.
Royal Purple Las Vegas: #20 Fresno State (11-1) vs. #25 USC (9-4)
12:30 pm on ABC from Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NV
The Las Vegas Bowl provides us with an intriguing intrastate matchup and our first matchup of ranked teams.
Fresno State is led by NFL bound QB Derek Carr, the younger brother of former number one overall pick and onetime 49er, David Carr. Derek has generated a lot of buzz this season and I really wouldn't be surprised if he surpassed Teddy Bridgewater in this classes top QB.
Also, keep an eye on Fresno State's Davante Adams. The draft eligible sophomore put up gaudy numbers this year including 122 receptions 1,645 yards and 23 touchdowns.
USC's Marqise Lee could be a first round target for the 9ers at wide receiver.
Famous Idaho Potato: Buffalo (8-4) vs. San Diego State (7-5)
2:30 pm on ESPN from Bronco Stadium, Boise, ID
Ah yes, the famous potato bowl. The most famous thing about this game might be that it's played on Boise State's blue field. If you haven't seen this yet, you should really tune in for a few minutes.
The blue turf may be upstaged today by one of the nation's most feared defensive players. Outside linebacker and future first round pick Khalil Mack. Mack owns the NCAA career record for tackles for loss with 75 and forced fumbles with 16.
All signs point to Mack being a top five or ten pick.
R+L Carriers New Orleans: Tulane (7-5) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4)
6 pm on ESPN from Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Niners fans should tune into this one and check out Joe Montana's son, Nick, quarterback Tulane. Montana, a junior, has struggled with injuries this season throwing for only 1,654 and 14 touchdowns.
Montana's top receiver at Tulane is Ryan Grant. Grant is a bit underrated and with a solid pre-draft season he could work himself into the top three or four rounds.