New Era Pinstripe Bowl, December 30, 3:20 p.m. ET, ESPN
What it is: A decision to ignore the common-sense conclusion that college football should never be played in New York City
The Sponsor: If you're wearing an official baseball cap, it's more than likely made by New Era
The Teams: Rutgers and Iowa State
How Rutgers got here: By quietly having the good-but-not-great seasons that we've come to expect from Greg Schiano. The Scarlet Knights went 8-4, but would have had a nine-win season were it not for the final-game upset at Connecticut. None of the other losses on the resume are particularly bad, but none of the wins are exactly the stuff of legends. Two of the losses -- at North Carolina and at Louisville -- were by two points each. In fairness, there were also some close calls against so-so competition: at Syracuse (in double overtime), against Navy and against South Florida (in overtime). Rutgers pounded out 245 yards a game on the ground but didn't have much in the way of a passing game on offense. But the defense was great, ranked in the Top 10 in terms of passing efficiency and the Top 15 in the other big-picture indicators. West Virginia and Connecticut (again) were the only teams to score more than 26 points in a game against the Knights.
How Iowa State got here: Two three-game winning streaks. The Cyclones started off the season by generating some Top 25 buzz with wins against Iowa in triple-overtime and at Connecticut after a narrow escape from Northern Iowa in the opener. Consecutive demolitions against Texas, at Baylor, at Missouri and against Texas A&M quickly dashed those hopes. The Cyclones turned around and shellacked Texas Tech and squeaked by Kansas before the season-altering, double-overtime stunner against Oklahoma State. Iowa State isn't particularly good at anything -- their best ranking is 25th nationally in kickoff returns, the only Top 25 ranking among the statistics that the NCAA tracks. Their success appears to be nothing more than a combination of scheduling, luck and being hot at the right time.
College football fans care because: It's a chance to watch a game being played at Yankee Stadium.
SEC fans care because: Iowa State did the conference a big favor this year and deserves something for its trouble.
Watch this game if...: Again, you're one of the lucky people who actually has the day off.
The result: Rutgers 35, Iowa State 13