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Bowl Game Rankings

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Ranking the top ten bowl games in the Southern Pigskin FBS coverage area.

Bowl season will be beautiful -- and it starts at the top with two dream matchups in the College Football Playoff semifinals. Ranking my top ten bowl games in the Southern Pigskin FBS coverage area: ACC, SEC, Sun Belt. 

1. AllState Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs Clemson
College football deserves this. The last two meetings between the Crimson Tide and Tigers have resulted in a total score of 76-75, with one championship a piece. Alabama-Clemson I and Alabama-Clemson II were absolute classics and that should be the expectation once again. Entering the postseason, the Crimson Tide and Tigers rank one-two in the nation in scoring defense.     

2. Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual: Georgia vs Oklahoma
A fascinating contrast of styles out west, the Sooners lead the nation in total offense at 583.3 yards per game while the Bulldogs rank fourth allowing just 270.9. Likely Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield will square off Butkus Award winner Roquan Smith in a great one-on-one pairing. This will be the first-ever meeting between the two power programs.    

3. Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Auburn vs Central Florida
After already playing four games against College Football Playoff participants, the Tigers will now face the nation's lone unbeaten team. Before heading to Nebraska, head coach Scott Frost will coach will coach the Golden Knights one more time. Auburn, even after losing in the SEC Championship Game, will play with the momentum of extending its head coach Gus Malzahn to a long-term deal.  

4. Camping World Bowl: Oklahoma State vs Virginia Tech
The top-ranked passing attack of the Cowboys will match up with a Hokies' secondary that is allowing the lowest completion percentage, 46.9%, of any defense in the country. Mason Rudolph versus the likes of Greg Stroman and Brandon Facyson will be compelling football. The offense-vs-defense pairing is one of the best of the entire postseason.        

5. Citrus Bowl Presented by Overton's: LSU vs Notre Dame
Two classic programs meet once again in a rematch of the 2014 Music City Bowl, a game the Fighting Irish won on a game-ending field goal. Since losing to Troy, the Tigers have gone 6-1. Conversely, Notre Dame has dropped two out of three. A number of future first round picks will be on display where the outcome of this game will be decided: at the line of scrimmage.   

6. TaxSlayer Bowl: Louisville vs Mississippi State
It what will likely be Lamar Jackson's final college game, the nation should pay complete attention as one of the all-time greats finishes his career. Defensively, the Bulldogs rank third in the SEC, behind only Alabama and Georgia; no power five team has allowed fewer plays of ten yards or more. If Nick Fitzgerald was healthy, this matchup would be even higher on the list.    

7. Capital One Orange Bowl: Miami vs Wisconsin
Both teams were within one win of the College Football Playoff, with the Badgers coming within a handful of plays. The Hurricanes' "Turnover Chain", as Miami has gained the most combined fumbles and interceptions of any power five team, will be on the big stage. Wisconsin leads all of college football, allowing just 253.2 yards per game.   

8. Dollar General Bowl: Appalachian State vs Toledo
Two of the top group-of-five programs around, this pairing will showcase teams combining to average over 72 points per contest. Mountaineer quarterback Taylor Lamb has compiled 11,618 total yards and 113 total touchdowns in his four-year career, while fellow senior signal caller Logan Woodsise has recorded 10,509 total yards and 97 total scores for the Rockets.    

9. Military Bowl: Navy vs Virginia
Refreshing an old series of relative neighbors, this meeting will be especially-intriguing when stars Micah Kiser and Quin Blanding, the top two tacklers in the ACC, and the Cavalier defense tries to slow down the vaunted triple-option offense of the Midshipmen. The two institutions are sepearated by just 150 miles.  

10. Texas Bowl: Missouri vs Texas
Can anyone slow the Tigers down? Missouri won six games in a row to finish the regular season, winning all but one of those contests by at least 28 points. The Tigers rank 7th nationally in total offense at 511.5 points per game. The Longhorns have had a penchant for wild, crazy clashes. These former conference foes have not met since 2011.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports