10 great places for a parade of football: Bowl games

Tostitos Fiesta BowlGlendale, Ariz. "It's obvious why so many people winter in this area," James says. "It's a green oasis in the middle of the desert. The Fiesta Bowl committee knows how to put on a first-class event." The area is renowned for spas and meditation resorts, so try to sneak in some time to ease those game-day nerves. Date: Jan. 5. Opponents: Ohio State vs. Texas. (Tempe hosts the Insight Bowl on Dec. 31; Kansas plays Minnesota.) fiestabowl.org

Gaylord Hotels Music City BowlNashville Grab your cowboy hat and head to Nashville, country music capital of the world. "I did a regular-season game there this fall and was pleasantly surprised after the game with the nightlife scene," James says. "You can walk the streets of downtown and go door-to-door, and each restaurant and bar has live music." Also, don't miss the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Date: Dec. 31. Opponents: Boston College vs. Vanderbilt. musiccitybowl.com

Valero Alamo BowlSan Antonio "There's nothing more historical in football-rich Texas than the Alamo," James says. "Ride in a boat along the river, with the Christmas lights hanging in the trees. It's fiesta time." Date: Dec. 29. Opponents: Missouri vs. Northwestern. valeroalamobowl.com

Sheraton Hawaii BowlHonolulu For the ultimate bowl-game vacation, head to Hawaii. "I've announced two of these games, and it's almost silly to put in for a paycheck for working," James says. "Shopping, the beaches, you name it. It's Hawaii!" Date: Dec. 24. Opponents: Hawaii vs. Notre Dame. sheratonhawaiibowl.com

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