No. 25 Notre Dame vs. Rutgers
Records: Notre Dame is 8-4. Rutgers is 6-6.
Series: Notre Dame leads 4-0.
Favorites: Notre Dame by 14.
What’s at stake: The Fighting Irish are trying to avoid a third 8-5 season in four years under coach Brian Kelly — a season after reaching the BCS championship with a perfect regular season. The Scarlet Knights are trying to salvage a disappointing season with what would be one of their biggest upsets in recent years.
Players to watch: Notre Dame: DE Stephon Tuitt. The junior could be playing his final college game, with the NFL in his future. Tuitt wasn't quite as good this season as he was in 2012, but he still lead the team with six sacks and had 13 quarterback hurries. Rutgers: DE Darius Hamilton. The talented sophomore has improved as the season has gone on and leads the team with 10 tackles for loss.
Cincinnati vs. North Carolina
Time: 3:20 p.m.
Records: Cincinnati is 9-3. UNC is 6-6.
Series: UNC leads 2-0.
Favorites: UNC by 3.
What’s at stake: North Carolina has a chance to finish with a winning record after starting the season 1-5 and capture its first bowl victory under second-year coach Larry Fedora. Cincinnati is a bowl-tested team; this is the Bearcats' seventh postseason appearance in the last eight years.
Players to watch: North Carolina: DE Kareem Martin has been tough to slow down. He has 11 sacks and 78 tackles with 20 of those for a loss. Cincinnati: QB Brendon Kay, the game's MVP last year with four touchdown passes, has thrown for 3,121 yards and 22 TDs this season with 11 interceptions.
Russell Athletic Bowl
Miami vs. No. 18 Louisville
Time: 6:45 p.m.
Records: Miami is 9-3. Louisville is 11-1.
Series: Miami leads 9-1-1.
Favorites: Louisville by 3½.
What’s at stake: The 18th-ranked Cardinals missed out on their second straight BCS bowl berth, but can join the 2006 team as the only other squad to post 12 wins in a season. Louisville junior Teddy Bridgewater also has a chance to tie the school record of 27 wins for a starting quarterback.
Players to watch: Miami: The Hurricanes do have players capable of disrupting the Cardinals passing attack. It starts with LB Denzel Perryman, who leads the team with 104 tackles and DL Shayon Green, who has 10.5 tackles for a loss on the year. Louisville: It starts with Bridgewater who, in addition to posting his second straight 3,500-yard passing season, had a touchdown pass in all but one game in 2013.
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