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Top 5 Fascinating Bowl Games

By Jim Johnson
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Here are the most fascinating (non-CFP) bowl matchups of the ‘16-’17 slate.

Bowl season is always interesting, watching as some of the better college football teams in the country square off against opponents they may not usually run into, during the run of regular season play. Here are the most fascinating (non-CFP) bowl matchups of the ‘16-’17 slate.

5. Florida v. Iowa: I said it was the most fascinating bowl matchups, not the most exciting. Who would be surprised if this game went to multiple overtimes, tied at 0-0? Only 14 FBS football teams averaged fewer than 350 yards of offense this season, Florida and Iowa are two of them. I’m going to go ahead and set the over/under for first downs at about seven in what promises to be a riveting Outback Bowl.

4. Arkansas v. Virginia Tech: The Belk Bowl pits two of the nation’s better quarterbacks against one another. Jerod Evans and Austin Allen are both one of their respective conferences’ best three or four signal callers, exceeding expectations greatly. Most importantly, however, Bret Bielema left Virginia Tech out of his final Top 25 Coaches’ Poll ballot. He later recanted, calling it an oversight, but can you say bulletin board material?

3. Auburn v. Oklahoma: Baker Mayfield enters the Sugar Bowl as the nation’s highest rated passer. Combined with DeDe Westbrook, Oklahoma has one of the most potent offensive duos in the country. That said, Auburn has a better defensive front than any conference team Oklahoma played, and possibly better than Houston and Ohio State, the two teams that the Sooners lost to. Mayfield has yet to overcome a truly great front seven yet, we’ll see if he can change that against Auburn.

2. Pitt v. Northwestern: James Conner. Yankee Stadium. What could be better? Conner, who scored 20 touchdowns amidst one of the most inspiring comeback campaigns ever, leads a Pittsburgh offense that averaged over 50 points per game in November against a Northwestern defense that ranked in the top 25 nationally, this season, for scoring defense

1. LSU v. Louisville: For those that question how well Lamar Jackson projects at the next level, this is a can’t-miss football game. The Heisman Trophy winner will have his hands full, lining up across from about the closest non-Alabama thing you can get to a NFL defense, within the collegiate ranks. Plus, this may be the last opportunity to watch Leonard Fournette suit up for the Tigers, although it’s yet to be confirmed that he will, in fact, play in the Citrus Bowl.

Jim Johnson - Editor of Southern Pigskin, Producer of "Three & Out", and host of "Explosive Recruiting" on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network. E-mail: Twitter: @JimJohnsonSP