Nebraska (8-4) vs. No. 23 Georgia (8-4)
■ Time: Noon (ESPN2)
■ Series: Tied 1-1
■ What’s at stake: Maybe a little momentum heading into 2014. Both coaches agree that a win would provide a feel-good atmosphere for a few weeks or a couple months, but Nebraska’s Bo Pelini adds that “whether you win, you lose, no matter how the game goes, the same challenges lie ahead as far as what we need to do as a football team to win a championship next year.”
■ Key matchup: Nebraska’s defense vs. Georgia RB Todd Gurley. The sophomore has 903 yards rushing and 10 TDs despite missing three-plus games with an ankle injury. He could become the third tailback in school history with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Herschel Walker (1980-83) and Knowshon Moreno (2007-08) also accomplished the feat. The Cornhuskers have allowed 161.2 yards a game on the ground.
UNLV (7-5) vs. North Texas (8-4)
■ Time: Noon (ESPNU)
■ Series: UNLV leads 4-0
■ What’s at stake: UNLV and North Texas, two of the most improved teams from 2012 to 2013, both end long postseason droughts in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. The Rebels are in their first bowl since 2000, and the Mean Green play in the postseason for the first time since 2004.
■ Key matchup: Brandin Byrd, who has 1,023 yards rushing, and the North Texas running game against the UNLV defense. The Mean Green are 7-0 this season when rushing for 150 yards or more. UNLV has allowed 222 yards rushing a game.
Capital One Bowl
No. 19 Wisconsin (9-3) vs. No. 8 S. Carolina (10-2)
■ Time: 1 p.m. (ABC)
■ Series: First meeting
■ What’s at stake: Both the Badgers and Gamecocks had a chance to be playing in the BCS before unexpected losses. Wisconsin was No. 15 in the BCS standings, but had its season stunted by early-season losses to Arizona State and Ohio State and lost to Penn State in the finale. The Gamecocks reeled off four straight wins following a loss to Georgia, but were upset by Tennessee before ending the season on a five-game win streak. Wisconsin will now try to end a three-game bowl losing streak. South Carolina has won two-straight bowl games over Big Ten foes.
■ Key matchup: South Carolina defensive line vs. Wisconsin offense. The Gamecocks have two of the nation’s most imposing threats up front in DE Jadeveon Clowney and DT Kelcy Quarles. Both were first team All-Southeastern Conference and lead a defense that ranked fourth in the SEC and tied for 14th in the country allowing 20.0 points per game. Wisconsin’s offense ranks 18th nationally at 486.8 yards per game.
No. 14 Louisiana State (9-3) vs. Iowa (8-4)
■ Time: 1 p.m. (ESPN)
■ Series: Iowa leads 1-0
■ What’s at stake: LSU, the only team that has beaten No. 2 Auburn, is looking to finish with at least 10 wins for a school-record fourth consecutive season. The Tigers won 11 games in 2010, 13 in 2011, 10 in 2012, and also had a stretch of three straight seasons with double-digit victories under coach Les Miles from 2005-07. Iowa finished the regular season on a three-game winning streak to get back to a New Year’s bowl for the first time in four seasons.
■ Key matchup: LSU freshman quarterback Anthony Jennings, who’s making his first college start, against an Iowa defense that ranked third in the Big Ten and seventh nationally in fewest yards (303.2) allowed per game. He replaced injured QB Zach Mettenberger.
No. 4 Michigan St. (12-1) vs. No. 5 Stanford (11-2)
■ Time: 5 p.m. (ESPN)
■ Series: Michigan State leads 3-2
■ What’s at stake: The 100th edition of the Granddaddy of Them All matches two appropriate throwback teams. Stanford and Michigan State have dominant defenses and run-first offenses capable of grinding out a victory, but the Cardinal also have the edge of experience from last season’s Rose Bowl victory and four straight BCS bowls overall.
■ matchup: Stanford RB Tyler Gaffney vs. Michigan State LB Kyler Elsworth. Gaffney rushed for 1,618 yards and 20 TDs behind the Cardinal’s dominant offensive line, and he’s facing a MSU defense missing LB Max Bullough, who is suspended. Elsworth will start and call defensive signals in Bullough’s place.
No. 6 Baylor (11-1) vs. No. 15 Central Florida (11-1)
■ Time: 10:15 p.m. (ESPN)
■ Series: First meeting
■ What’s at stake: Both teams are playing in a BCS bowl for the first time. Baylor has been building toward this in its six seasons under Art Briles after making appearances in smaller bowls the previous three years. A decided underdog, Central Florida is trying to cap off the best season in school history.
■ Key matchup: Central Florida’s defense against Baylor’s offense — all of it. The Bears led the nation in scoring at over 53 points per game and in total offense with 624.5 yards, which was second-most in FBS history — by percentage points — behind Houston in 1989 and 50 more than any other team this season.
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