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College Football Bowl Season Begins As BYU Tops UTEP

BYU's 52-24 thrashing of UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl officially kicked off the college football bowl season - which lasts for 23 days when it culminates in the BCS Championship game between Oregon and Auburn. 

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Most of the bowl games worth watching won't come until after Christmas day, but there's still one prior to Christmas worth watching. No. 19 Utah takes on No. 10 Boise State on Wednesday in the Maaco Bowl. Both Utah and Boise State had aspirations of playing in a BCS bowl game, but late season losses thwarted those dreams for both the Utes and the Broncos. Still, this could prove to be an entertaining game on Wednesday night.

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Bowl season starts to pick up after Christmas. Illinois will take on Baylor in the Texas Bowl on the 29th, Baylor's first bowl game since the 1994 Alamo Bowl. SMU will take on Army in the Armed Forces bowl on the 30th.  The Sun Bowl on New Year's Eve between Notre Dame and Miami should be interesting as well - two former powers looking to remain somewhat relevant. 

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New Year's Day is when bowl season really kicks off, though. Northwestern and Texas Tech kick off the 2011 slate of bowl games with the TicketCity Bowl before the TCU Horned Frogs take on Wisconsin in the much anticipated Rose Bowl. UConn will make their first ever BCS bowl appearance later that night in the Fiesta Bowl as they take on the heavily favored Oklahoma Sooners.

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It may seem like bowl season is too long - and it is - but enjoy it while it's here. These next 23 days will go by quickly, especially with Christmas and New Year's smack in the middle of bowl season. College football will be gone before you know it, so enjoy watching even the lower tier bowl games.

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Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.