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Ranking the Mountain West bowl games

What bowl game ranks the best among the Mountain West matchups.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor

6. Heart of Dallas Bowl: UNLV vs. North Texas: This will be the New Year's Day bowl that will get left in the dust, but it does have the earliest kickoff at noon ET so some people could be watching the first half before bigger games begin. However, North Texas is hot winning six of their last seven games. The Mean Green do have the nation's 27th rated defense and could cause some trouble for UNLV's offense which is led by the trio of quarterback Caleb Herring, wide receiver Devante Davis and running back Tim Cornett.

5. New Mexico Bowl: Colorado State vs. Washington State: Both of these teams reached the minimum requirements to make a bowl game. Yet, both should be very excited to be there since this is the first bowl game for Washington State since 2003, and for Colorado State 2008. This is a game of contrasting offenses as Washington State has the nation's fourth-best passing attack behind Connor Halliday who has passed for over 4,000 yards. Then there is Colorado State's Kapri Bibbs who has rushed for  1,572 yards and 28 touchdowns.

4. Hawaii Bowl: Boise State vs. Oregon State: Maybe this game should be hire since Oregon State has a pretty good offense behind Sean Mannion, and Boise State can put up some points themselves. The coaching change does cause this game to lose some luster.

3. Idaho Bowl: San Diego State vs. Buffalo: Who does want to see Aztec running Adam Muema go up against MAC defensive player of the year in linebacker Khalil Mack. The Bulls did land five players to the first-team all-MAC with three on offense and two on defense. Had Buffalo knocked off Bowling Green they would have had a chance to go to the MAC title. This is only Buffalo's second ever trip to a bowl game.

2. Las Vegas Bowl: Fresno State vs. USC: This is a prelude to the 2014 opening season game between the two schools, but each version will be very different. What makes this game the second best is that USC has been on a roll of late by winning five of their last six games, and the defense that USC could be one of the toughest challenges the Bulldogs have seen all year. However, USC will have a new coach since Ed Orgeron resigned after the Trojans hired Steve Sarkisian, yet will be coached by Clay Helton in the bowl game.

1. Poinsettia Bowl: Utah State vs. Northern Illinois: What is there more to want in this game. Heisman finalist in Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch going up against possibly the best defense that NIU will have faced all year. Now, had Chuckie Keeton been under center for the Aggies this game would be even better, but even without Keeton this is one of the better games out of all of the bowl games, and not just the best among the non-AQ bowl games.

We will see if Utah State's defense can do what Bowling Green did against Lynch and Northern Illinois in the MAC title game.