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Ranking Pac-12 bowl games by 'entertainment value'

When we start getting into the realm of what’s entertaining, chances are opinions are going to differ greatly. Whether you like high-powered offenses, smashmouth defense, traditional triple-options or up-and-coming talent, the Pac-12’s bowl season has it all.

We present a (very subjective) ranking of the Pac-12’s season by entertainment value.

1. Valero Alamo Bowl

Oregon vs. TCU, Jan. 2, 3:45 p.m. (PT) on ESPN

Quarterbacks Vernon Adams Jr. (Oregon) and Trevone Boykin (TCU) are two of the most electric signal-callers in the game and they oversee offenses that can put up points at a furious pace. The teams average nearly 85 points per game combined. This game should provide plenty of OMG moments.

2. Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual

Stanford vs. Iowa, Jan. 1, 2:45 p.m. on ESPN

Here’s guessing Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey will be playing with a little extra motivation after his second-place Heisman finish. Iowa, meanwhile, needs zero motivation since the Hawkeyes are making their first trip to the Rose Bowl in 25 years. Expect a lot of defense, a lot of power running and a lot of ball control. It might not have the sizzle of the Alamo Bowl, but it will have the pop.

3. Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl

Utah vs. BYU, Dec. 19, 12:30 p.m. on ABC

I promise, I’m not going to make any references to Holy Wars and Sin City. But then again, it’s the Holy War in Sin City! I know Utah fans aren’t thrilled with this bowl placement, and their gripe is valid. But put all that aside and focus on the implications of this game as the Utes look to send Bronco Mendenhall off to Virginia with a fifth straight loss to Utah. Or the Cougars rally around a departing coach against a team that feels like it got snubbed. This has drama written all over it. And like it or not, Utah fans, the national media is watching.

4. Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

Cal vs. Air Force, Dec. 29, 11 a.m. PT on ESPN

This one might end up being a 42-10 blowout. Or it could be a fascinating study in contrasting offensive philosophies. The triple-option versus the Bear Raid could be great theatre, especially when you consider Air Force has completed 80 passes all season! That’s a game and a half for Jared Goff, who might be playing his final game for the Bears.

5. Holiday Bowl

USC vs. Wisconsin, Dec. 30, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN

This is the first meeting since 1966 and the first time they are in a bowl together since 1963. The Trojans have some dynamic playmakers on offense, but Wisconsin counters with one of the best statistical defenses in the country. If the Trojans are clicking, this is a game they should win. But then again, the loser of every Pac-12 championship game has gone on to lose its bowl game. And the USC defensive coaching staff is in flux.

6. Hyundai Sun Bowl

Washington State vs. Miami, Dec. 26, 11 a.m. on CBS

This is a good bowl for the Cougars, even though some of them felt like they deserved a better landing spot. But this will be a solid test against a Miami team that is buzzing following the hire of Mark Richt. Interim coach Larry Scott led the Canes to a 4-1 mark down the stretch and quarterback Brad Kaaya has played well. This is a great opportunity for the Cougs to show their progress on a national stage.

7. Foster Farms Bowl

UCLA vs. Nebraska, Dec. 26, 6:15 p.m. on ESPN

Mike Riley’s Nebraska squad has had more heartbreaks than a Taylor Swift song -- and it has a 5-7 record to show for it. Thing is, six of those seven losses have been by one possession. The Bruins haven’t had much recent success in this particular bowl, but if they can shake off losing the South in the final week (for the second straight season) and get a win, there should be some confidence in Westwood heading into the offseason.

8. Motel 6 Cactus Bowl

Arizona State vs. West Virginia, Jan. 2, 7:15 p.m. on ESPN

Here’s a couple of teams that ran really hot and cold this season. The potential is there for some big offensive numbers. West Virginia dropped 40 in four of its games this season and at least 30 in four more. It’s big whenever Power 5 teams get together in the postseason, and this is the second of two Pac-12 vs. Big 12 games being played that day (Oregon vs. TCU). Both teams should still be smarting after blowing their regular-season finales.

9. Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl

Washington vs. Southern Miss, Dec. 26, 11:20 a.m. on ESPN

The Huskies closed out the year with impressive wins over Oregon State and Wazzu (52-7, 45-10, respectively) to gain bowl eligibility. There is a ton of momentum in Seattle right now for the way the defense came together and the young potential on offense -- headlined by quarterback Jake Browning. Southern Miss turned things around in a big way this season, but will be facing the toughest defense it has seen against Washington.

10. Gildan New Mexico Bowl

Arizona vs. New Mexico, Dec. 19, 11 a.m. on ESPN

Arizona State did a pretty good job of limiting New Mexico’s triple-option variation in a 34-10 win back in September. Arizona should have similar success -- especially if all players are healthy and accounted for. Speaking of which, there are rumors of a Scooby Wright III comeback. Tune in, at the very least, for a chance to see him play in what could be his final game for the Wildcats.