You can read up on our first set of bowl game questions - including those pertaining to the Poinsettia and Hawaii Bowls - here. Today we roll on with the games immediately following Christmas.
Motor City Bowl (Dec 26th, 7:30 PM ET, ESPN) Which quarterback will get the last laugh? If you're an avid college football fan you've undoubtedly heard of Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevourand Florida Atlantic quarterback Rusty Smith by now. But for being two of the more highly regarded non-BCS conference quarterbacks during the preseason both have fallen off the national stage quite a bit. Both had been expected to lead their respective teams to conference titles, but because of nagging injuries and upstart rivals neither accomplished just what they set out to do. Now matched up in a game which might as well feature five man defenses (CMU has given up 30.7 ppg this year while FAU has given up 29.3 ppg) both LeFevour and Smith will have chances to once again make their claim to being the non-BCS version of Tim Tebow.
Meineke Car Care Bowl (Dec 27th, 1 PM ET, ESPN) Does North Carolina have enough left in the tank? I'll be the first to admit that this Tar Heal team exceeded my expectations, but injuries - including a career-ending spine injury to linebacker Mark Paschal against NC State- took their tole on Butch Davis' sqauddown the stretch. With their biggest offensive playmaker in Brandon Tate long since lost to injury and their best defender in Paschal out the question now becomes whether or not Davis' team can find enough left in the tank to beat a talented WVU team in Pat White's final collegiate game.
Champs Sports Bowl (Dec 27th, 4:30 PM, ESPN) Can Wisconsin save the Big 10's reputation? Florida State may not be what they once were, but try telling that to the National media. Point is, even an ageing and I would argue increasingly senile Bobby Bowden got this team to one endzonefumble away from a berth in the ACC title, an accomplishment which has left the Seminoles on the cusp of the Top 25 and on many peoples' short list for a favorite in the ACC next year. Wisconsin on the other hand is coming off of a prolonged break after a 36-35 overtime win against FCS Cal Poly, a point which only cements the increasingly popular opinion that the Big 10 has sunk to the bottom of the BCS conferences. While some may argue a Penn State upset of USC or a Michigan State upset of Georgia will go the farthest towards saving the Big 10's reputation as a power conference, don't overlook Wisconsin's ability to help the conference deflect further criticism with a win over Florida State.
Emerald Bowl (Dec 27th, 8 PM, ESPN) Can Miami's defense bounce back? Back in he day the "U" was known for its fast, aggressive defenses which pundits used to like to claim transformed the very nature of college football as we knew it and more or less killed the option offense. After several less-than-impressive seasons it looked like coach Randy Shannon may have rebuilt that image going into this November, until Georgia Tech and NorthCarolina State thrashed the Miami defense for an average of 478 yards in the final two games. While Miami's run defense doesn't look that bad on paper, they've still allowed over 280 yards on the ground three times this season, and could have trouble defending the nation's fifth best rusher in Cal's Jahvid Best in the cross country matchup.
Independence Bowl (Dec 28th, 8 PM, ESPN) Which Louisiana Tech team will show up? I get the feeling a lot of casual fans are going with LA Tech in this game because they beat Mississippi State in the first game of the season. A quality win for a WAC team, no doubt, but you can't argue that the Bulldogs really benefited from a slumping conference slate that allowed them to get to seven wins. Case in point, he Bulldogs lost to Army 14-7 halfway through the year. It'll be interesting to see which team shows up against a 6-6 Northern Illinois team which lost close games to Minnesota and Tennessee.