MY THIRD annual ranking of the bowls, from worst game to best game:
39. Hawai’i Bowl, Fresno State (6-7) vs. Rice (7-5) Any bowl that includes a team with a losing record automatically is the worst.
38. Advocare V100 Texas Bowl, Arkansas (6-6) vs. Texas (6-6) Does not get much worse than a matchup of 6-6 teams.
37. Duck Commander Independence Bowl, South Carolina (6-6) vs. Miami (6-6) Ditto.
36. Quick Lane Bowl, Rutgers (7-5) vs. North Carolina (6-6) Bad Big Ten team vs. .500 ACC team. Yikes.
35. Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, South Alabama (6-6) vs. Bowling Green (7-6) If average fan does not know team nicknames, it is a bad bowl.
34. Popeyes Bahamas Bowl, Western Kentucky (7-5) vs. Central Michigan (7-5) At least it is played in the Bahamas.
33. Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl, Central Florida (9-3) vs. N.C. State (7-5) The Wolfpack finished 3-5 in the ACC.
32. New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Boston College (7-5) vs. Penn State (6-6) The Nittany Lions were 2-6 in the Big Ten.
31. Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, Houston (7-5) vs. Pittsburgh (6-6) Cover your children’s eyes if you watch this one.
30. Taxslayer Bowl, Iowa (7-5) vs. Tennessee (6-6) How the Gator Bowl has fallen.
29. R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, Nevada (7-5) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4) Good thing this bowl has an instate team.
28. Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl, Louisiana Tech (8-5) vs. Illinois (6-6) Wins against Youngstown State, Western Kentucky and Texas State made Illinois bowl eligible.
27. Foster Farms Bowl, Maryland (7-5) vs. Stanford (7-5) From No. 11 in the preseason to this for Stanford.
26. AutoZone Liberty Bowl, West Virginia (7-5) vs. Texas A&M (7-5) Battle of the fallen teams.
25. San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, San Diego State (7-5) vs. Navy (7-5) One of few lower-level bowls that will sell out.
24. Gildan New Mexico Bowl Utah State (9-4) vs. Texas-El Paso (7-5). Wild, wild west shootout.
23. Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman, Cincinnati (9-3) vs. Virginia Tech (6-6) How did Virginia Tech defeat Ohio State?
22. Godaddy Bowl, Toledo (8-4) vs. Arkansas State (7-5) MAC vs. Sun Belt showdown.
21. Birmingham Bowl, East Carolina (8-4) vs. Florida (6-5) ECU’s outstanding offense vs. Florida’s outstanding defense.
20. TicketCity Cactus Bowl, Washington (8-5) vs. Oklahoma State (6-6) Promising by name-recognition only.
19. Russell Athletic Bowl, Clemson (9-3) vs. Oklahoma (8-4) Without Deshaun Watson, not much appeal.
18. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Western Michigan (8-4) vs. Air Force (9-3) Watch the Falcons abandon wings and run.
17. Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, Utah (8-4) vs. Colorado State (10-2) Old WAC showdown.
16. Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, LSU (8-4) vs. Notre Dame (7-5) Matchup of the seasons that might have been.
15. National University Holiday Bowl, Nebraska (9-3) vs. Southern California (8-4) Matchup of the seasons that might have been.
14. Valero Alamo Bowl, Kansas State (9-3) vs. UCLA (9-3) Matchup of the seasons that might have been.
13. Boca Raton Bowl, Marshall (12-1) vs. Northern Illinois (11-2) Non-Power Five conference national title game of sorts.
12. Miami Beach Bowl, Memphis (9-3) vs. Brigham Young (8-4) Could be most exciting game of the bowl season.
11. Belk Bowl, Georgia (9-3) vs. Louisville (9-3) Charlotte folks must be thrilled with this matchup.
10. Outback Bowl, Auburn (8-4) vs. Wisconsin (10-3) Which Auburn will show? Which Wisconsin will show?
9. Hyundai Sun Bowl, Arizona State (9-3) vs. Duke (9-3) Just a fun matchup.
8. Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl, Missouri (10-3) vs. Minnesota (8-4) SEC East champs vs. surprisingly strong Big Ten club.
7. Vizio Fiesta Bowl, Boise State (11-2) vs. Arizona (10-3) Chance for non-Power Five conference program to shine.
6. Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, Michigan State (10-2) vs. Baylor (11-1) Two teams that easily could have been in playoff.
5. Capital One Orange Bowl, Mississippi State (10-2) vs. Georgia Tech (10-3) Contrasting styles, plus top-level teams from SEC and ACC.
4. Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Mississippi (9-3) vs. TCU (11-1) Easily the best non-playoff bowl matchup.
3. Rose Bowl Presented by Northwestern Mutual, playoff semifinal, Oregon (12-1) vs. Florida State (13-0) An entire country pulls for Oregon.
2. All State Sugar Bowl, playoff semifinal, Alabama (12-1) vs. Ohio State (12-1) Dream matchup.
1. National Championship Game Enough said.