The college football bowl season is upon us with a 35-game schedule that kicks off today in Albuquerque. It’s an odd slate of games from Miami to Boise.

The Bowl and the Rose Bowl have something in common — only one ranked participant.

The Pinstripe Bowl, Sun Bowl and Las Vegas Bowl look like more fun than the Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Capital One Bowl.

Many Clemson fans have added interest in the Compass Bowl, and some South Carolina fans will scout the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl.

A glance at all 35 bowl games, starting with potentially the five most entertaining:

Top 5 bowl games

(In chronological order)

Holiday Bowl

Teams: UCLA vs. Baylor

Where: San Diego

When: Dec. 27, 9:45 p.m.


Pick: Baylor

Grade: A

Note: UCLA’s Anthony Barr led the nation with 13.5 sacks (Jadeveon Clowney had 13.0)

Pinstripe Bowl

Teams: West Virginia vs. Syracuse

Where: New York

When: Dec. 29, 3:15 p.m.


Pick: West Virginia

Grade: A

Note: Nice matchup, atypical bowl site – Yankee Stadium. Watch Geno Smith go deep

Chick-fil-A Bowl

Teams: Clemson vs. LSU

Where: Atlanta

When: Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m.


Pick: LSU

Grade: A

Note: Clemson isn’t in the SEC but just played USC and opens 2013 with Georgia

Outback Bowl

Teams: South Carolina vs. Michigan

Where: Tampa

When: Jan. 1, 1 p.m.


Pick: South Carolina

Grade: A

Note: Michigan’s projected 1st-round OT Taylor Lewan (6-8, 309) vs. Jadeveon Clowney

BCS National Championship

Teams: Alabama vs. Notre Dame

Where: Miami

When: Jan. 7, 8:30 p.m.


Pick: Alabama

Grade: A+

Note: All the makings of a close, low-scoring throwback classic

Grading the bowls

Here’s the rest of the bowl games listed in chronological order:

Bowl Date/time/TV Matchup Pick Grade

New Mexico Today, 1 p.m., ESPN Arizona-Nevada Arizona A-

Note: The Fun Grade soars for the first bowl game, and Albuquerque backdrop.

Famous Potato Today, 4:30 p.m., ESPN Utah St-Toledo Utah St C-

Note: Rout alert. The Aggies’ only two losses were 16-14 at Wisconsin, 6-3 at BYU

Poinsettia Dec. 20, 8 p.m., ESPN BYU-San Diego St BYU B

Note: Home game for the Aztecs but don’t forget BYU’s 41-17 win at Georgia Tech

Beef O’Brady’s Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m., ESPN Central Fla.-Ball St UCF C-

Note: South Carolina plays George O’Leary’s Knights in Orlando next season

New Orleans Dec. 22, noon, ESPN UL-Lafayette-ECarolina ULL C+

Note: Ragin’ Cajuns gave Florida a tussle before losing 27-20 in Gainesville

Bowl Date Matchup Pick Fun grade

Las Vegas Dec. 22, 3:30 p.m., ESPN Boise St-Washington Boise St A-

Note: Two young teams hoping to make top 25 noise next season

Hawaii Dec. 24, 8 p.m., ESPN Fresno St-SMU Fresno St D

Note: Fresno State’s Derek Carr (David’s brother) has thrown 36 TD passes

Little Caesars Dec. 26, 7:30 p.m., ESPN W. Kent.-C. Michigan WKU C

Note: New Western Kentucky head coach Bobby Petrino will sit this one out

Military Dec. 27, 3 p.m., ESPN San Jose St-B.Green SJSU D

Note: Bowling Green and San Jose State, and a bowl spot the ACC was unable to fill

Belk Dec. 27, 6:30 p.m., ESPN Duke-Cincinnati Duke C+

Note: Duke, bowling for the first time since 1994, is good enough to pull the upset

Bowl Date Matchup Pick Fun grade

Independence Dec. 28, 2 p.m., ESPN UL Monroe-Ohio UL Monroe B

Note: Warhawks QB Kolton Browning has thrown 27 TD passes

Russell Athletic Dec. 28, 5:30 p.m., ESPN Virginia Tech-Rutgers Rutgers C

Note: Big fall from last year’s Sugar Bowl for the slumping Hokies

Meineke Dec. 28, 9 p.m., ESPN Texas Tech-Minn. Texas Tech C-

Note: This is why Tommy Tuberville bolted, for a shot at something better at Cincinnati

Armed Forces Dec, 29, 11:45 a.m., ESPN Air Force-Rice Air Force B

Note: Elite talent, if you combine the SAT scores

Fight Hunger Dec. 29, 4 p.m., ESPN2 Arizona St-Navy Arizona St C+

Note: Feisty Midshipmen will make it closer than the two-TD pointspread

Bowl Date Matchup Pick Fun grade

Alamo Dec. 29, 6:45 p.m., ESPN Oregon St-Texas Oregon St B-

Note: Beavers WR Markus Wheaton will add to his 11 touchdown catches

Buffalo Wild Wings Dec. 29, 10:15 p.m., ESPN TCU-Michigan St. TCU A-

Note: Admit it, you’ve never heard of this one (but a tasty clash in Tempe)

Music City Dec. 31, noon, ESPN Vanderbilt-N.C. St Vandy B

Note: Wolfpack opened the season losing to the other SEC team from Tennessee

Sun Dec. 31, 2 p.m., ESPN Ga. Tech-Southern Cal So. Cal A-

Note: Matt Barkley’s arm vs. the triple-option in old El Paso

Liberty Dec. 31, 3:30 p.m., ESPN Tulsa-Iowa St Iowa St C

Note: Supposed to include an SEC participant; blame Arkansas, Auburn and Tennessee

Bowl Date Matchup Pick Fun grade

Heart of Dallas Jan. 1, noon, ESPNU Okla. St-Purdue Okla. St D

Note: Ho-hum. 16.5 points is the largest spread among the bowl games

Gator Jan. 1, noon, ESPN2 Miss. St-Nwestern Miss. St B

Note: Dan Mullen’s Bulldogs whipped Michigan, 52-14, in this game two years ago

Capital One Jan. 1, 1 p.m., ABC Georgia-Nebraska Georgia C

Note: Bo Pelini said the better team lost after South Carolina’s 30-13 win last year

Rose Jan. 1, 5 p.m., ESPN Wisconsin-Stanford Stanford B+

Note: Wisconsin (8-5) is unranked, perhaps one of the reasons Bret Bielema bolted

Orange Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m., ESPN Florida St.-N. Illinois FSU D

Note: Well, at least South Florida gets the BCS National Championship tourist windfall

Bowl Date Matchup Pick Fun grade

Sugar Jan. 2, 8:30 p.m., ESPN Florida-Louisville Florida C-

Note: Should have been Gators vs. Oklahoma with Louisville in the Orange Bowl

Fiesta Jan. 3, 8:30 p.m., ESPN Oregon-Kansas St Oregon A-

Note: Collin Klein and the Wildcats, Kenjon Barner and the Ducks aim for redemption

Cotton Jan. 4, 8 p.m., FOX Texas A&M-Oklahoma Texas A&M A-

Note: Johnny Football vs. a Stoops Bros. defense in The House That Jerry Built

Compass Jan. 5, 1 p.m., ESPN Ole Miss-Pittsburgh Ole Miss C

Note: Strangely, the pageantry of this game figures in the Robert Nkemdiche sweepstakes Jan. 6, 9 p.m., ESPN Arkansas St-Kent St Arkansas St B+

Note: Hidden gem in Mobile; Kent St. (No. 25) is ranked, Arkansas St. is favored

Reach Gene Sapakoff at 937-5593 or on Twitter @sapakoff