Bowl season starts on Dec. 20 with Nevada vs. Louisiana-Lafayette in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl and ends Jan. 12 with the first College Football Playoff championship game.
There will be 39 bowl games before it’s all over in Arlington, Texas. The bowls from A to Z:
A Amari Cooper. Alabama’s junior receiver is the best player in college football, just ask Auburn. Cooper leads the country in both catches (115) and receiving yards (1,656).
B Bahamas. You might not think much of the football programs at Central Michigan or Western Kentucky, but they couldn’t care less. They’re playing in the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl on Dec. 24. (No, for real, college football on a Caribbean island).
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C Camellia Bowl. Or the not-exactly-Bahamas Bowl, the Camellia is one of five new bowls this season and one of three to be played in the state of Alabama (Montgomery).
D Dave Doeren. Doeren’s second season at N.C. State saw the Wolfpack improve from 3-9 to 7-5. The Wolfpack gets a shot at an eighth win against Central Florida in the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl on Dec. 26.
E El Paso, Texas. That’s where Duke will attempt to win its first bowl game since 1960. The Blue Devils have been close the past two seasons under coach David Cutcliffe, whose team will take on 15th-ranked Arizona State in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 27.
F Fridge, The. North Carolina thought it had seen the last of Ralph Friedgen, former Maryland coach and general UNC scourge. But the Tar Heels’ opponent in the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit is Rutgers, whose offense is run by The Fridge.
G Gerod Holliman. The Louisville safety tied a 46-year old NCAA record with 14 interceptions this season. With one more in the Belk Bowl, vs. Georgia on Dec. 30 in Charlotte, he’ll pass Washington’s Al Worley, who set the national mark in 1968.
H Hardy, Justin. The senior East Carolina receiver owns the NCAA record for career receptions with 376. He has 110 this season with a chance to add to his total in the Birmingham Bowl on Jan. 3 vs. Florida.
I Illinois, Iowa. Both Big Ten schools made bowl games, but not Indiana, which beat SEC East champion Missouri in September but finished 1-7 in the Big Ten.
J “Jaboowins.” That’s not just Jameis Winston’s Twitter handle, the sophomore quarterback is 27-0 as a Florida State’s starting quarterback, including two ACC titles and the 2013 national title.
K Kiffin, Lane. Nobody falls upwards like the Alabama offensive coordinator. But no team has ever won a national title with Kiffin calling the plays, either.
L Losing record. Fresno State (6-7) has one but will play Rice in the Hawaii Bowl (Dec. 24) anyway.
M Marcus Mariota. The superb Oregon quarterback, who will likely bring the Heisman Trophy with him to the Rose Bowl date with Florida State on Jan. 1.
N Not Chip Kelly. Seriously, without the help of Google, can you name Oregon’s current coach? Here’s a hint: It’s not Chip Kelly.
O One true champion. The Big 12’s slogan, despite declaring Baylor and TCU conference champions. Both were left out of the CFP. Baylor gets Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl as a consolation and the Horned Frogs get Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl.
P Playoff. Despite decades of threats to the contrary, a playoff didn’t devalue the regular season or kill the bowl games.
Q “Quise” or UNC quarterback Marquise Williams. Battered in a 35-7 loss to N.C. State on Nov. 29, Williams should be healthy for the Tar Heels’ matchup with Rutgers. Williams, who led the ACC with 32 total touchdowns, should shine against Rutgers’ leaky defense.
R Rams, Colorado State. Interim coach Dave Baldwin will lead the 10-2 Rams, who lost coach Jim McElwain to Florida, into the Las Vegas Bowl against Utah. Baldwin’s one of three interim coaches (D.J. Durkin at Florida and David Gibbs at Houston are the others) this bowl season.
S Saban, Nick. For all his greatness at Alabama and LSU (four national titles in 13 seasons), Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban is 8-4 in bowl games as an SEC head coach. He’s 0-2 in the Sugar Bowl with Alabama.
T Thornton, Shadrach. N.C. State’s leading rusher has put together back-to-back 100-yard games and needs 189 against UCF to become the Wolfpack’s first 1,000-yard rusher since T.A. McLendon in 2002.
U Urban Meyer. The Ohio State coach gets another shot at Saban, his old rival, and Alabama in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1. The former Florida coach was 1-2 against Saban when the two coaching legends were in the SEC together.
V Virginia Tech. The Military Bowl against Cincinnati will be the 22nd straight for the Hokies, who have the best win of any team outside the CFP (a 35-21 win at Ohio State on Sept. 6).
W Weed Eater. Change the sponsor all you want, Independence Bowl and good people of Shreveport, La., but you’ll always be the Weed Eater Bowl.
X Xzavier Dixon. The senior linebacker leads No. 1 Alabama’s defense with eight sacks.
Y Yawn. There will be a lot of those in College Park for Maryland’s 10 p.m. kickoff with Stanford in the Foster Farms Bowl.
Z Zane Gonzalez. Duke will get a close-up look at the Arizona State kicker, who ranked second in the Pac-12 in scoring with 105 points.