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15 good reasons to follow the college bowl season closely

in Sports/Top Headlines by

In college football, the stars are often the coaches.

This year, however, there is reason to look to the field during the college bowl season.

From the Las Vegas Bowl to the playoffs, there are players who will capture your attention.  From Alabama to Western Michigan, from FSU to Houston.

A glimpse at the top 15 (and a tie):

1. Lamar Jackson, Louisville quarterback, Citrus Bowl: Jackson returns to his home state with a Heisman Trophy against a tough LSU defense. Can you look anywhere else?

2. Deshaun Watson, Clemson quarterback, Fiesta Bowl: Watson keeps getting close to the Heisman and to a national championship.

3. Dalvin Cook, FSU running back: That fact that Cook was ignored by Heisman voters will be talked about as much as those who made it.

4. Baker Mayfield-DeDe Westbrook, Oklahoma quarterback-wide receiver, Sugar Bowl: Two Sooners in the top five of the Heisman voting? Why wasn’t this team in the title hunt?

5. Jabrill Peppers, Michigan linebacker, Orange: Peppers is a fine defensive player, and his personal match-up with Cook will be interesting.

6. Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State running back, Las Vegas Bowl: Pumphrey was second in the nation in running the ball, but did anyone see him? A chance for him to be spotlighted.

7. Quinton Flowers, USF quarterback, Birmingham Bowl: Flowers had more than 2,000 yards rushing and 1,000 receiving. How will he do against an SEC opponent?

8. Greg Ward Jr., Houston quarterback, Las Vegas Bowl: Ward didn’t have quite the season that many anticipated, but he’s a legit threat for the Cougars.

9. Brad Kaaya, Miami quarterback, Russell Athletic Bowl: Kaaya’s final game will come against a feisty West Virginia defense. Can Kaaya measure up?

10. Christian McCafferty, Stanford running back, Sun Bowl: Cook wasn’t the only player who rushed for more than 1,600 yards and was ignored by Heisman voters.

11. Jake Browning, Washington quarterback, Peach Bowl: Browning will be the best quarterback the Tide has faced. Will it matter?

12. Sam Darnold, USC quarterback, Rose Bowl: Darnold has caught fire since taking over with the Trojans. Against a strong Penn State team, will it matter?

13. Ryan Higgins, Louisiana Tech quarterback, Armed Forces Bowl: Higgins threw for more than 4,200 yards this year for Louisiana Tech, which was third in the country. Backup, safeties.

14. Jalen Hurt, Alabama quarterback, Peach Bowl: Hurt is still a freshman, and how he plays will tell if Alabama wins going away.

15. Corey Davis, Western Michigan wide receiver, Cotton Bowl: Davis was Western Michigan’s main threat, catching 91 passes for 1,327 yards. Can Wisconsin cover him?

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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