Bowl Week ... OK, Bowl Three Weeks ... can be confusing. From Dec. 15 to Jan. 7, the networks of ESPN (plus a couple of stray games on CBS and Fox) will be engulfed in bowl games. There will be no escape. And each time, you will ask the same question you do every year. "Who do I root for in this game? I don't have an allegiance to every NCAA team."

Have no fear. Your Bowl Season fan rooting guide is here. Find out why to root for each team in each game. Reasons include how a team's season is going, what the team's bowl history is like and what alumni went to the school.

Is it worth it to root for a school because everyone in Hootie & the Blowfish went there? You be the judge.

Your College Bowl Game Rooting Guide Slideshow


New Mexico Bowl:
Nevada vs. Arizona, 12/15

Why Nevada? For those Robert Griffin III fans enjoying the "Pistol Offense," the formation would not exist without Wolf Pack coach Chris Ault, who is credited with developing the attack in the mid-2000s. Why Arizona? Coach Rich Rodriguez can top off a respectable first year in Tuscon with a win. If that is not enough of a reason, reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian is an alum.


Famous Idaho Potato Bowl:
Toledo vs. Utah State, 12/15

Why Toledo? How often do you get to root for a football team called the Rockets? First-year coach Matt Campbell is looking to give the program 10 wins for the first time since 2001. Why Utah State? The Aggies swept conference play and lost to BYU and Wisconsin by a combined five points. Their reward: A mid-December trip to Idaho. A blowout of Toledo can ease some frustration.


Poinsettia Bowl:
BYU vs. San Diego State, 12/20

Why BYU? The leader of Mormon higher education is going for its fourth consecutive bowl game victory. Players will look to join the likes of Steve Young, Jim McMahon and Ty Detmer as Cougar legends. Why San Diego State? The Aztecs have home-field advantage at Qualcomm Stadium. Maybe actor Carl Weathers (Rocky, Happy Gilmore) will show up. He was an Aztecs letterman in 1968 and 1969.


Beef 'O' Brady St. Petersburg Bowl:
Ball State vs. UCF, 12/21

Why Ball State? Despite five previous bowl appearances, the Cardinals have never won in the postseason. If it is any consolation, alum David Letterman has won seven Emmy Awards. Why UCF? The UCF athletic department has a hearing set with NCAA officials in January to review recruiting violations, but until then, the school is bowl eligible. So root now while you still can.


New Orleans Bowl, 12/22:
East Carolina vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

Why East Carolina? Even the acting students breathe football. Sandra Bullock was a Pirate before winning an Academy Award for her role as Leigh Anne Tuohy in "The Blind Side." Why Louisiana-Lafayette? The Ragin' Cajuns are a hot football team on the rise. Louisiana-Lafeyette will be making its second ever bowl appearance (won 2011 New Orleans Bowl vs. San Diego State). And once again, their team name is the "Ragin' Cajuns."


Las Vegas Bowl:
Washington vs. Boise State, 12/22

Why Washington? The four-time national champion Huskies recorded upsets over Stanford (only Pac-12 team to beat the Cardinal) and Oregon State. A bowl victory would be a nice parting gift for an alumni network that includes soccer goaltender Hope Solo and Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon. Why Boise State? What does this team need to do to get some respect? The Broncos have not lost more than two games in a regular season since 2005, yet they get stuck in 2012 with a third consecutive trip to Las Vegas.


Hawaii Bowl:
Fresno St. vs. SMU, 12/24

Why Fresno State? Derek Carr, younger brother of former first overall pick and Bulldog David, leads the nation's 12-ranked passing offense. The Bulldogs can win 10 games for the first time since 2001, when David led Fresno State to 11 victories. Why SMU? Five years after leading Hawaii to the Sugar Bowl, June Jones returns to Aloha Stadium for the second time as Mustangs coach. Although the Obamas are known more for traveling to Hawaii, maybe Laura Bush makes the trip to Honolulu to watch her alma mater.


Little Caesars Pizza Bowl:
Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan, 12/26

Why Western Kentucky? The Hilltoppers are going bowling for the first time since the 1963 Tangerine Bowl. They beat the U.S. Coast Guard Academy 27-20 in Orlando that year. This time around, WKU looks for its first win as an FBS school before Bobby Petrino takes over. Why Central Michigan? A three-time veteran of this game when it was known as the Motor City Bowl, the Chippewas will be defending the Wolverine State. "The Newsroom" star Jeff Daniels and broadcaster Dick Enberg are former CMU students.


Military Bowl, 12/27:
San Jose State vs. Bowling Green

Why San Jose State? The Spartans have 10 wins for the first time since 1987, and their two loses came to ranked teams Stanford and Utah State. An 11th win would be celebratory, but it would be less than a sixth of former student Joey Chestnut's world record at the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. He ate 68 franks in the 12-minute contest. Why Bowling Green? Figure skater Scott Hamilton is an alum, but do not expect a graceful team. The Falcons play a bruising-style, allowed just 15.8 points against (ninth in the nation).


Belk Bowl:
Cincinnati vs. Duke, 12/27

Why Cincinnati? Interim coach Steve Stripling will go for his second career win in as many games. He won the 2009 GMAC Bowl as interim coach of Central Michigan. As with that bowl game, he will be filling in for Butch Jones, who jumped for Tennessee this past week. Why Duke? Always root against Duke, right? Wrong. Not this time. The Blue Devils football team has not made a bowl game since the 1995 Hall of Fame Bowl, and they have not won a bowl game since the 1961 Cotton Bowl. With the basketball team off, the Cameron Crazies have no excuse not to make the trip to Charlotte.


Holiday Bowl:
Baylor vs. UCLA

Why Baylor? In the post-RGIII Era, a new star emerged. Senior Nick Florence has passed 4,121 yards for the nation's third-ranked air attack. Both quarterbacks have made the Bears a fan favorite over the past couple seasons. Why UCLA? One of the nation's most storied programs is back. In Jim L. Mora's first season in Westwood, the Bruins won nine games and beat rival USC for the first time since '05. A missed field goal in the final minute of the Pac-12 championship game would have give UCLA an overtime shot at the Rose Bowl.


Independence Bowl:
Ohio vs. Louisiana-Monroe, 12/28

Why Ohio? A promising 7-0 season turned sour when the Bobcats lost four of their last five games. Still, Ohio has a chance to shine in its state's spotlight with the 12-0 Ohio State Buckeyes serving a one-year bowl ban. Why Louisiana-Monroe?In September, ULM was the darling of the nation. The team upset No. 8 Arkansas in overtime, took Auburn to overtime and came within five points of beating Baylor. Country singer and alum Tim McGraw will likely be among those rooting for the Warhawks in their first bowl appearance.


Russell Athletic Bowl:
Rutgers vs. Virginia Tech, 12/28

Why Rutgers? The Scarlet Knights brought an undefeated Big East record into the final two games of the season before losing to Pittsburgh and Louisville. You have to feel for Rutgers missing out on the BCS. Okay, may not after signing that big, fat Big Ten deal. Why Virginia Tech? The Hokies were down and out at 4-6 before an overtime thriller over Boston College and a three-point victory over Virginia sent them bowling. Ranked No. 16 before the season, Virginia Tech is now an attractive underdog to root for, as it tries to salvage its season.


Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas: Minnesota vs. Texas Tech, 12/28

Why Minnesota? The 2012 Golden Gophers battled adversity and won. The team went through three starting quarterbacks, its best player quitting and the head coach battling seizure issues. When all was said and done, six wins were grinded out for bowl eligibility. Why Texas Tech? On the other side, everything seemed to be going well for the Red Raiders, who won seven games, including two against ranked opponents. Then coach Tommy Tuberville jumped to Cincinnati at the end of the season. This is a team battling adversity who could use a real pick-me-up with a win.


Armed Forces Bowl:
Rice vs. Air Force, 12/29

Why Rice?The Owls powered through the final four games of their schedule to make a last-month dash at bowl eligibility. The Cinderella season moves from Houston to Fort Worth. Maybe a few of Rice's 12 Rhodes Scholars will show up. Why Air Force? The second-ranked rushing team in the nation, Air Force brings a punishing ground attack. Ironically, the school is second in producing astronauts with 39.


Pinstripe Bowl:
West Virginia vs. Syracuse, 12/29

Why West Virginia? Just when the Mountaineers thought they clear of the Big East, WVU's first Big 12 bowl game pits them against a former conference foe. If you like passing, be prepared for Geno Smith to light up the sky. Hopefully he can keep passes from going over the right field porch at Yankee Stadium. Why Syracuse? There is a sign in the stadium that deems Syracuse "New York's college team." The Orange, who played at Giants Stadium earlier this season, will feel pressure to live up to that slogan. Odds are Carmelo Anthony will stop by with the Knicks off that night.


Fight Hunger Bowl:
Navy vs. Arizona State, 12/29

Why Navy? The obvious reason to root for Navy is patriotism. But there's more to this team. Navy is exciting and talented, grinding out over 275 yards per game on the ground. Three of their four losses came to Notre Dame, Penn State and San Jose State. Why Arizona State? The military presence is sure to be emotional for the Sun Devils, as the late Pat Tillman was a former player. Tillman died in service in 2004 as a member of the army.


Alamo Bowl: Texas vs. Oregon State, 12/29

Why Texas? Yankees fans, Lakers fans, Cowboys fans, here's your college brethren. With their long tradition and private network, Texas is the big money team of college football. Why Oregon State? After a decade of mediocrity, the Beavers returned to the national spotlight in 2012, reaching as high as No. 7 in the rankings. OSU looks reminiscent of the teams Pro Bowlers Chad Johnson and Steven Jackson once played for.


Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: TCU vs. Michigan State, 12/29

Why TCU? With six bowl wins in the past seven seasons, odds are strong in the Horned Frogs' favor. If the competition gets heated on the field, journalist Bob Schieffer, a TCU grad, could serve as a moderator. Why Michigan State? Here’s a team who could use a hug. The Spartans' five Big Ten losses came by a combined 13 points this season. A win in Tempe would soothe some of the pain.


Music City Bowl: N.C. State vs. Vanderbilt, 12/31

Why NC State? In September 2010, NC State made a wolf-like tamaskan dog named "Tuffy" its live mascot. Since then, the Wolf Pack is 2-0 in bowl games. Dog people, this is your team. Why Vanderbilt? Wouldn't it be wrong to root against a team from Nashville in the "Music City" Bowl? Plus Vandy has been a nice story this year, going 6-0 in the second half of the season. Jordan Rodgers, younger brother of the Packers' Aaron, leads the way.


Sun Bowl:
USC vs. Georgia Tech, 12/31

Why USC? After two seasons of bowl ineligibility for infractions stemming from the Reggie Bush-Pete Carroll Era, the Trojans' upperclassmen return to the postseason. Show them some love for hanging tough. Why Georgia Tech? On the other side, the Yellow Jackets have spoiler written all over them. Despite a six-loss regular season, Georgia Tech got a shot at the ACC title and came within a touchdown of BCS-busting. Now below .500, if you want to hear postseason critics complain, pull for the Yellow Jackets.


Liberty Bowl:
Iowa State vs. Tulsa, 12/31

Why Iowa State? Here's a fun tradition: a victory bell. The bell, originally built to signal class period changes and student curfews now sits inside Jack Trice Stadium and is rung after home wins. A New Years' Eve win could signal the bell once last time in 2012…and not to send the students home. Why Tulsa? One of Tulsa's only three losses this season came in Week One in Ames. Ten wins later, the Golden Hurricane can get redemption and score big points for mid-majors with a win in Memphis.


Chick-Fil-A Bowl:
LSU vs. Clemson, 12/31

Why LSU? The 2012 season has been a ride for the Tigers. It has included the dismissal of 2011 Heisman finalist Tyrann Mathieu and losses to current No. 2 and No. 3-ranked teams, Alabama and Florida. Maybe the Tigers would have won those games with Mathieu. With Les Miles at the helm, LSU followed integrity over possible wins. Keep that in mind on New Years' Eve. Why Clemson? The Tigers were a win over South Carolina away from a BCS bid. Pity should not cause rooting interest though. Support Clemson for those orange and purple jerseys. It's a bold move.


Gator Bowl:
Mississippi State vs. Northwestern, 1/1

Why Mississippi State? The Bulldogs have not played one game decided by less than six points in 2012. It's ironic considering acclaimed legal thriller author John Grisham is an alum. Why Northwestern? It's been 64 years since Northwestern won the 1949 Rose Bowl. Since then, the Wildcats have lost all nine of their bowl game appearances. If you want to see a cursed Chicago-area team make history, this is your chance.


Heart of Dallas Bowl:
Purdue vs. Oklahoma State, 1/1

Why Purdue? It wasn't pretty, but Purdue won its last three games to go bowling. Now playing New Years' Day, the sky's the limit. Actually, outer space is. Neil Armstrong, who died earlier this year, was an alum. Why Oklahoma State? The Cowboys stumbled to the finish line, losing their final two games. But the finish line is in Dallas, home of OSU alum and current Dallas Cowboy, Dez Bryant.


Outback Bowl:
South Carolina vs. Michigan, 1/1

Why South Carolina? A 10-2 SEC team deserves better. Unfortunately for the Gamecocks, five other teams in the conference finished with 10 wins. Steve Spurrier can calm his frustrations by listening to some Hootie & the Blowfish before the game. The entire band went to South Carolina. Why Michigan? The nation's all-time most victorious team did not make wins come easy this season. The Wolverines are the only team to play both national championship game foes, Alabama and Notre Dame. If you want to root for tradition, there is nothing like the Maize and Blue.


Capital One Bowl:
Georgia vs. #16 Nebraska, 1/1

Why Georgia? How can you not feel for the Bulldogs after losing the SEC championship game with the ball in the red zone as time expired? There is no doubt actor Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights, Super 8), who attended Georgia, went into angry Coach Eric Taylor mode after the loss. Why Nebraska? A win might be good for the economy. Business magnate Warren Buffett is part of Cornhusker Nation. Nebraska is also looking to redeem a Capital One Bowl loss to South Carolina last season.


Rose Bowl:
Wisconsin vs. Stanford, 1/1

Why Wisconsin? Want to make BCS officials' heads explode? Pull for BCS-unranked Wisconsin to capitalize on their arguably undeserved opportunity. The Badgers finished third in the Big Ten Leaders Division behind bowl ineligible Ohio State and Penn State. This gave them a path to a Big Ten championship game win. Why Stanford? Andrew Luck made two BCS appearances while at Stanford. Neither was a Rose Bowl. U.S. Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer and former justices Sandra Day O'Connor and William Rehnquist, all alumni, would probably say justice is served this year.


Orange Bowl:
Northern Illinois vs. Florida State, 1/1

Why Northern Illinois? No team will get more love than the Huskies. NIU is this year's main Cinderella storyline, as the MAC champs get a shot at the BCS. If they are not enough of an underdog, the game will take place in the state of the opposition. Why Florida State? Sure, they're Goliath. But they can also knock some sense into the BCS committee. Putting a one-loss NIU team that only beat Army by one point is questionable. The Seminoles can prove the Huskies were a glorified choice with a blowout.


Sugar Bowl:
Louisville vs. Florida, 1/2

Why Louisville? Coach Charlie Strong is staying put at Louisville despite an offer from Tennessee. Respect that loyalty by rooting for the Cardinals. Why Florida? Like Alabama, the Gators have just one loss. Unlike Alabama, they will not play for a shot at the national title. A playoff system is already on the way, but if you want to hear more complaining, pull for Florida. Fox will not broadcast any games before the Sugar Bowl, so Erin Andrews' Gator-bias will not be tested on-air.


Fiesta Bowl:
Oregon vs. Kansas State, 1/3

Why Oregon? How can you not love a team called the Ducks? And how about those jerseys? Nike, Inc. co-founder and chairman Phil Knight is an alum, and he tends to show off his top stuff in Eugene. Why Kansas State? Led by Heisman finalist Collin Klein, the Wildcats are making their first BCS appearance in nine years. You do not need to tell that to Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family), who expressed his pride on College Game Day earlier this year. Co-star Ty Burrell donned Oregon colors during the same broadcast.


Cotton Bowl:
Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma, 1/4

Why Texas A&M? Does we even have to say it? If you're not hoping to watch him put on a show, you must be from Oklahoma. Why Oklahoma? Then again, there are reasons to root for the Sooners. The Aggies have been riding high praise as a rookie competitor in the SEC. Old Big 12 foe Oklahoma can bring Johnny Football and A&M back to earth.


BBVA Compass Bowl:
Pittsburgh vs. Ole Miss, 1/5

Why Pittsburgh? It's been a season to remember and forgot for the Panthers, who lost to Youngstown State, beat #13 Virginia Tech and lost to #3 Notre Dame in triple overtime in South Bend. A win would satisfy Mike Ditka, Dan Marino and the rest of the alumni network. Why Ole Miss? It is only the third time the Rebels have reached the post-season since the Eli Manning Era. By the way, Archie and Olivia Manning met while both attending Ole Miss. Bowl:
Kent State vs. Arkansas State, 1/6

Why Kent State? It took two overtimes for NIU to knock the Golden Flashes out of BCS contention in the MAC Championship Game. Still, the university put itself on the map for reasons other than the 1970 Kent State massacre. A bowl win would be the school's first. Why Arkansas State? Who are the Red Wolves? They've been in an FBS team since 2005, but have not spread their name. Alum and Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe would like a boost to his state's publicity.


BCS national championship:
Notre Dame vs. Alabama, 1/7

Why Notre Dame? Fighting Irish football is back and the universe seems right. The NCAA recognizes 13 Notre Dame national championships (11 claimed), but none since 1988. Led by linebacker Manti Te'o, America's premier college football team can return to the top. The Irish faithful are ready to taste a title again. Nothing spells tradition like Notre Dame football. Why Alabama? Alabama claims 14 national titles, although some NCAA record books and polls slot the Crimson Tide below the Irish in championships. Either way, Alabama is another storied college football franchise that has returned to the top after a hiatus. The Tide had not won a title since 1992 before winning championships in 2009 and 2011. If Bama wins again, people can start saying they are witnessing a dynasty.

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