Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl 1 PM ESPN
Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech
- Illinois barely made it into bowl eligibility by winning their last two games, thus saving coach Tim Beckhman's job in the process. Louisiana Tech just missed out on a Conference USA title with an agonizing 26-23 loss to Marshall. On a more positive note, Zaxby's has some good food.
Location: Cotton Bowl (the stadium in which the Red River Shootout is played in)
Illinois prospects to watch:
1. Wes Lunt 6'4 215 QB RS Sophomore
- Lunt was a transfer from Oklahoma State in 2013 after suffering an injury in Stillwater and subsequently struggling. He has all the physical tools to make it in the league but his injury history is scary. I expect him to come back to school for his junior season.
Louisiana Tech prospects to watch:
1. Mitchell Bell 6'3 354 OL Senior
- Bell is a road grader and might be better off playing inside at the next level instead of tackle.
Quick Lane Bowl 4:30 PM ESPN
Rutgers vs. North Carolina
- A Big 10 versus ACC matchup here. Rutgers has done pretty well for a debut season in the Big 10, going 7-5 in 2014. UNC, expected to contend for a weak ACC Coastal division title, faltered to a 6-6 record. Both defenses are horrid and this should be a shootout. UNC has typified coach Larry Fedora in that they struggled early, only to finish strong to get a bowl game invite.
Location: Ford Field (home of the Detroit Lions)
Matchup to Watch: Rutgers QB Gary Nova versus UNC QB Marquise Williams
- Nova is essentially Jake Locker without some of the physical tools. He's been very inconsistent in all facets of the game. Williams has been hurt some this year, but still managed to land a second team ALL-ACC spot.
Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl 8 PM ESPN
North Carolina State vs. UCF
- A de facto home game for the Golden Knights. UCF "won" the American conference with a 7-1 AAC record, which was good for a 3-way tie with Memphis and Cincinnati. George O'Leary has done a great job this year considering that he had to replace Blake Bortles and Storm Johnson. NC State slid into a 7-5 record but they did beat instate rival UNC.
Location: Tropicana Field (home of the Tampa Bay Rays)
Matchup to watch: UCF LB Terrance Plummer vs NC State QB Jacoby Brissett
- Brissett is a former transfer from Florida and possesses a big arm and ideal measurables for a QB (6'4 230). Plummer is the heart and soul of the UCF defense, playing middle linebacker. He's a bit undersized for the position (6'1 236) but makes up for it in instincts and intangibles.