ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 02: A detailed view of the trophy during the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl between the LSU Tigers and the Purdue Boilermakers on January 2, 2023 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fl.
Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Ranking Every College Football Bowl Game From Worst to Best

It's finally bowl season, and this year's bowl game rankings will help college football fans prioritize which games they need to watch over the holidays.

After a wild and exciting 2023 college football season, bowl games have arrived. The drama of the 2023 campaign went the distance from Week Zero all the way up to Selection Sunday and now we have our College Football Playoff Semi-Finals, the rest of the New Year's Six, and 35 other bowl games that are going to fill up your month of December with more college football.

Just like every bowl season, we have teams who have had stellar seasons while others are in a little bit of a down year. We will see Power Five matchups, Group of Five matchups, and my personal favorite, matchups between Power Five and Group of Five Opponents. The bowl games have ridiculous names and sponsors but it is a part of college football and has been for quite some time now and with the new 12-team playoff and all of the conference realignments, who knows how long bowl season will be around.

The 2023 Bowl Season slate has been set, so kick up your feet, put together your parlays, and get ready for some electric college football and if you are wondering which games are more watchable than the rest, then you came to the right spot. Here are the college football bowl games ranked from worst to best!

41. Quick Lane Bowl - Minnesota vs Bowling Green

The Minnesota Golden Gophers are the only bowl team entering the postseason with a losing record and take on the Bowling Green Falcons in the Quick Lane Bowl, a team that has their first winning record since 2015.

Prediction: Bowling Green

40. 68 Ventures Bowl - South Alabama vs Eastern Michigan

Despite a win over Oklahoma State, it was a tough season that had high expectations for the South Alabama Jaguars. In the 68 Ventures Bowl, the Jaguars take on the Eastern Michigan Eagles who ended the season on a two-game win streak to become bowl eligible.

Prediction: South Alabama

39. Boca Raton Bowl - South Florida vs Syracuse

After starting 2023 4-0, the Syracuse Orange lost five straight games but managed to finish the season with a .500 record. For their opponent, the USF Bulls, they are hoping to keep this game close after allowing 41 or more points in five of their games this season.

Prediction: South Florida

38. Camellia Bowl - Northern Illinois vs Arkansas State

After a 1-4 start, the Northern Illinois Huskies won five of their last six to become bowl-eligible while the Arkansas State Red Wolves provided inconsistency on offense scoring just three points on two occasions but also scoring 77 points in a game this season.

Prediction: Northern Illinois

37. Potato Bowl - Georgia State vs Utah State

The Georgia State Panthers were bowl-eligible after their seventh game of the season but haven't won a game since, losing five straight. For the Utah State Aggies, they were able to get six wins in a highly competitive Mountain West Conference.

Prediction: Utah State

36. Famous Toastery Bowl - Western Kentucky vs Old Dominion

The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers' three losses in conference play were to the teams that finished above them in the Conference USA Standings while the Old Dominion Monarchs were able to hand the Sun Belt East Champs a loss during their 6-6 season.

Prediction: Western Kentucky

35. New Orleans Bowl - Louisiana vs Jacksonville State

The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns were able to get their sixth win of the season in their final game after losing the three previous games. And while the Jacksonville State Gamecocks were not post-season eligible until 2024 because the NCAA sucks, not enough teams finished with six wins allowing the Gamecocks to get a bowl.

Prediction: Jacksonville State

34. Gasparilla Bowl - Georgia Tech vs UCF

Both the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the UCK Knights won three of their last four conference games with one of those wins being against a ranked opponent to end the 2023 season on a high note and with some momentum heading into their meeting

Prediction: Georgia Tech

33. Myrtle Beach Bowl - Georgia Southern vs Ohio

The Ohio Bobcats missed out on a second straight MAC title game appearance by one game but can still finish with a 10-win season with a win over the Georgia Southern Eagles who are looking to end a four-game losing streak after starting 6-2.

Prediction: Ohio

32. First Responder Bowl - Texas State vs Rice

The Texas State Bobcats started off hot with a Power Five win and a 4-1 start but quickly cooled off finishing 2023 with a 7-5 record. On the other sideline, the Rice Owls had to win their last two games to be bowl-eligible after losing three straight games.

Prediction: Texas State

31. Fenway Bowl - SMU vs Boston College

The SMU Mustangs won the AAC title game and finished with 10 wins but fell just short of a New Year's Six Bowl and will take on the Boston College Eagles in the Fenway Bowl who ended the regular season on a three-game losing streak after a 6-3 start.

Prediction: SMU

30. Military Bowl - Tulane vs Virginia Tech

The Tulane Green Wave were so close to a second straight AAC title and second consecutive New Year's Six Bowl Game and will match up against the Virginia Tech Hokies, a football program that is currently on the rise.

Prediction: Tulane

29. Pinstripe Bowl - Rutgers vs Miami

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are bowl-eligible for just the second time since 2015 and with a win over the Miami Hurricanes, will have their first winning season since 2014. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes hope to end a disappointing season with a win in the Pinstripe Bowl.

Prediction: Rutgers

28. Frisco Bowl - Marshall vs UTSA

The UTSA Roadrunners rattled off seven straight wins after a 1-3 start and missed a spot in the AAC title game by just one game. Their opponent, the Marshall Thundering Herd, had a polar opposite season, starting off hot but cooling very quickly, winning their last game to become bowl-eligible.

Prediction: UTSA

27. Independence Bowl - Cal vs Texas Tech

The Texas Tech Red Raiders had high expectations entering the season while the Cal Golden Bears had low expectations but the two teams meet in the Independence Bowl, each with a 6-6 record and a winning season on the line in this matchup.

Prediction: Texas Tech

26. Las Vegas Bowl - Utah vs Northwestern

With an offseason to forget, the Northwestern Wildcats surprised many with their bowl eligibility. The Wildcats take on the Utah Utes in the Las Vegas Bowl, where the Utes hope to end their season on a high note after losing three of their last five games.

Prediction: Northwestern

25. Hawaii Bowl - Coastal Carolina vs San Jose State

After a 1-5 start, the San Jose State Spartans won six straight games and were just a computer ranking away from making the MWC title game. The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers on the other hand are on a two-game skid and hope to close out the season with a win.

Prediction: San Jose State

24. Birmingham Bowl - Duke vs Troy

The Sun Belt Champs, the Troy Trojans, look to pick up win number 12 and take advantage of the Duke Blue Devils who have lost five of their last eight games and whose head coach and quarterback have both left the team.

Prediction: Troy

23. Tony The Tiger Sun Bowl - Notre Dame vs Oregon State

This game has many question marks surrounding especially when it comes to who will play quarterback for the Oregon State Beavers and if the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will also be with a different quarterback under center as well.

Prediction: Notre Dame

22. LA Bowl - Boise State vs UCLA

Despite firing their head coach in November, the Boise State Broncos won the Mountain West and hope to continue their win streak against the UCLA Bruins who could be in the market for a new head coach based on the outcome of this bowl game.

Prediction: Boise State

21. TaxAct Texas Bowl - Texas A&M vs Oklahoma State

The Texas A&M Aggies are entering a new era of their football program with the firing of Jimbo Fisher and take on their old Big 12 foe, the Oklahoma State Cowboys, who surprisingly made the Big 12 conference title game, in the Texas Bowl.

Prediction: Oklahoma State

20. AutoZone Liberty Bowl - Memphis vs Iowa State

This game just screams boring but don't be surprised if this matchup ends up being one of the best games we see all bowl season. The Memphis Tigers hope to get their third 10-win season since 2017 with a win over the Iowa State Cyclones who at one point were in the thick of the Big 12 title race.

Prediction: Memphis

19. DirectTV Holiday Bowl - Louisville vs USC

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 21: Head coach Lincoln Riley of the USC Trojans looks on in the second quarter against the Utah Utes at United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 21, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Image

This game was higher on the list but with no Caleb Williams, who is going to bail out the USC Trojans' defense against the Lousiville Cardinals' offense that is ready to put the ACC title game in the rearview mirror.

Prediction: Louisville

18. TaxSlayor Gator Bowl - Clemson vs Kentucky

After a dip in the stock market, the Clemson Tigers are trending upwards and hope to silence the doubters and Tyler from Spartanburg with a bowl win over the Kentucky Wildcats, who lost their head coach, but then they didn't after a cult-like fanbase took to the internet to prevent his departure.

Prediction: Clemson

17. Reliaquest Bowl - Wisconsin vs LSU

The LSU Tigers' offense is about as good as you can get but their defense is as bad as you get and will hope to pick up an expected win against a Wisconsin Badgers team that is about as inconsistent as you can get on both sides of the ball.

Prediction: LSU

16. TransPerfect Music City Bowl - Auburn vs Maryland

The last time the Auburn Tigers were on the field they had a bad taste in their mouth and are hoping to put that Iron Bowl loss behind them as they head to the Music City Bowl to face the Maryland Terrapins who have lost five of their last seven games after a 5-0 start.

Prediction: Maryland

15. New Mexico Bowl - Fresno State vs New Mexico State

The New Mexico State Aggies made the C-USA title game in 2023 and finished with 10 wins for the first time since 1960 and will look to beat the Fresno State Bulldogs to tie their program record for most wins in a season with 11.

Prediction: New Mexico State

14. Cure Bowl - Miami (OH) vs Appalachian State

The MAC Champion Ohio RedHawks finished with over 10-plus wins for the first time since 2010 and will meet up with the Appalachian State Mountaineers in the Cure Bowl, who is coming off a terrible loss in the Sun Belt title game.

Prediction: Miami (OH)

13. Pop-Tarts Bowl - NC State vs Kansas State

A team that is surprisingly looking to pick up a 1oth win in a bowl game are the NC State Wolfpack who will be going up against a Kansas State Wildcats team that fell short of a second straight Big 12 title game appearance.

Prediction: Kansas State

12. Armed Forces Bowl - Air Force vs James Madison

At one point during the 2023 season, the Air Force Falcons and the James Madison Dukes were both undefeated with both eyeing a potential New Year's Six Bowl but with the Flacons closing out the season on a four-game losing streak and the Dukes dropping their second to last game, both will just have to settle for the Armed Forces Bowl.

Prediction: James Madison

11. Arizona Bowl - Toledo vs Wyoming

After winning 11 games in a row, the Toledo Rockets lost in the MAC title game but are hopeful to close out the season with a win over the Wyoming Cowboys who were once a legit contender in the Mountain West earlier this season.

Prediction: Toledo

10. Duke's Mayo Bowl - North Carolina vs West Virginia

The West Virginia Mountaineers are one of the most slept-on teams in the country and have secured their first winning season in the Neal Brown era. West Virginia will be taking on the North Carolina Tar Heels and legendary coach Mack Brown in a game that will see the winning coach drenched in mayonnaise.

Prediction: West Virginia

9. Guaranteed Rate Bowl - Kansas vs UNLV

The Kansas Jayhawks and UNLV Rebels have combined for four bowl appearances since 2009 but both teams are currently on the rise with their high-scoring offenses leading the way in their head-to-head showdown in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl.

Prediction: Kansas

8. Vrbo Fiesta Bowl - Liberty vs Oregon

The amount of points that could be scored is astronomical as the undefeated Liberty Flames take on the Pac-12 runner-up, the Oregon Ducks in the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl. The biggest x-factor in this game is Bo Nix, who announced that he will be playing in this bowl game.

Prediction: Oregon

7. Cheez-It Citrus Bowl - Iowa vs Tennessee

The true definition of a good matchup of a good offense against a good defense will take place in the Citrus Bowl as the Tennessee Volunteers take on the Iowa Unders - I mean Hawkeyes, the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Prediction: Tennessee

6. Capital One Orange Bowl - Georgia vs Florida State

This game has all the talks of being a blowout but the Florida State Seminoles' defense is legit and is going to be able to keep things close against the Georgia Bulldogs, who are outside of the College Football Playoff for the first time since the 2020 season.

Prediction: Georgia

5. Valero Alamo Bowl - Oklahoma vs Arizona

The Valero Alamo Bowl could be one of the highest-scoring bowl games for this season. The Oklahoma Sooners will be without Dillion Gabriel but should be able to maintain the scoring ability while the Arizona Wildcats hope to win their seventh game in a row, securing their first 10-win season since 2014.

Prediction: Arizona

4. Goodyear Cotton Bowl - Missouri vs Ohio State

Here is a bowl game of two teams that were on opposite ends of the expectation spectrum. The Missouri Tigers were an afterthought for many but are here in the Cotton Bowl, a place where the Ohio State Buckeyes consider a failure given their high expectations for conference and national titles.

Prediction: Missouri

3. Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - Ole Miss vs Penn State

The Penn State Nittany Lions' offensive is finally opening up after firing Mike Yurcich but it is the Penn State defense that is going to perform like they have all season against the Ole Miss Rebels who have a well-balanced offense with the ability to pick up big plays in both the passing game and the run game.

Prediction: Penn State

2. Rose Bowl Game - Alabama vs Michigan

The first of the two semi-final matchups is going to be a hard-hitting slugfest. Both the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Michigan Wolverines have smothering defenses that are going to eliminate the ability to move the ball. For both teams on offense, it is going to be all about the play of quarterbacks Jalen Milroe and JJ McCarthy, and their abilities to not only make plays with their arms but by also making plays with their legs and athleticism.

Prediction: Alabama

1. Allstate Sugar Bowl - Washington vs Texas

The second semi-final matchup is the best bowl game we are going to get until the National Championship Game. The Texas Longhorns have an offense that can keep up with any team in the country but it is their defense that will determine if they win the Sugar Bowl. For the Washington Huskies, their offense is their strength and they are led by Heisman Finalist Michael Penix Jr. who has the clutch gene and performs when the pressure is on.

Prediction: Texas

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