Otto Kitsinger III
A matchup between a power conference squad in Washington and MWC Champions in Boise State is the best of three weekend bowl games, starting Friday with two more Saturday.
The second weekend of bowl season rolls around, with three more games including arguably the best matchup of the season yet.
Friday, Dec. 21, Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Ball State Cardinals (9-3) vs. UCF Golden Knights (9-4)
It's not a marquee matchup, but these were two of the better non-AQ teams: Ball State's only losses were to No. 12 Clemson, and in conference to eventual championship game participants Northern Illinois -- now in the Orange Bowl -- and Kent State. The Golden Knights swept through their C-USA competition for the most part, but couldn't beat Tulsa, falling both in a regular season matchup by two points and losing in overtime in the conference championship game. They'll have somewhat of a home-field advantage, playing at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg while the Cardinals have to come all the way from Indiana. UCF are seven-point favorites.
Saturday, Dec. 22, R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, 12 p.m., ESPN
East Carolina Pirates (8-4) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns (8-4)
An even matchup between C-USA and the Sun Belt. Like Ball State-UCF, these teams did very well in their conferences, with ECU losing only one game -- against UCF -- and Louisana-Lafayette losing back-to-back ugly games against North Texas and Arkansas State, but otherwise sweeping through conference play. The Ragin' Cajuns will be playing right down the road from home, and are 4.5-point favorites.
Saturday, Dec. 22, Maaco Bowl Las Vegas, 3:30 p.m., ESPN
Washington Huskies (7-5) vs. No. 20 Boise State Broncos (10-2)
The first game featuring a ranked team this bowl season and second featuring a team from a power conference, this should be an entertaining matchup. The Huskies might have lost five games this year, but it's the games they won that show their potential: Steve Sarkisian's squad knocked off No. 8 Stanford -- the eventual PAC-12 Champions -- and then-No. 7 Oregon State. Boise State gets another shot at a power conference squad after losing 17-13 in their only game against one, a Michigan State team that ended up going 6-6. Their only other loss of the year was to San Diego State.