Taking a quick-hit look at the Dec. 29 bowl menu, which features three games in which all six participants hail from Power Five conferences.
WHO: Texas A&M (7-5) vs. West Virginia (7-5)
WHAT: The 56th AutoZone Liberty Bowl
WHERE: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Tenn.
WHEN: 2 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: With starting quarterback Clint Trickett being forced to retire do to multiple concussions, most would think it’s be advantage Texas A&M. However, Trickett’s replacement, Skyler Howard, has performed well in taking over for the starter, throwing for nearly 500 yards, five touchdowns and, most impressively, zero interceptions the last two games. A&M will be looking to extend its bowl winning streak to four straight (last loss: 2010) while WVU will be trying to win its first postseason game since 2011. Neither team played particularly well down the stretch, with the Aggies going 2-5 in its last seven games while the Mountaineers closed out the regular season on a 1-3 run. The two teams ended up having one common opponent in Alabama, with both losing to the Tide. The respective scores, though, showed a showed a significant difference in margin of defeat as WVU fell by 10, 33-23, in Week 1 while A&M was rolled by the Tide in Week 8 to the tune of 59-0.
THE LINE: Texas A&M +3½
THE PREDICTION: West Virginia 31, Texas A&M 30
WHO: Oklahoma (8-4) vs. No. 17 Clemson (9-3)
WHAT: The 25th Russell Athletic Bowl
WHERE: Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Fla.
WHEN: 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.
WHO: Arkansas (6-6) vs. Texas (6-6)
WHAT: The 9th AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl
WHERE: NRG Stadium, Houston, Tex.
WHEN: 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: These are two teams entering this particular bowl game on very similar trajectories. Texas won four of its last six games to become bowl-eligible, while Arkansas won three of its last five. UA’s spurt, though, was far more impressive as two of the wins came over ranked teams (LSU, Ole Miss) by a combined score of 47-0, while its two losses were to ranked teams (Mississippi State, Missouri) by a total of 14 points. This game is one for the traditionalists in the crowd as it marks the renewal of an old SWC rivalry that’s been played 75 times, the first in 1906 and the last in 2008. The two teams have previously met one time in the postseason, a 27-6 Razorbacks win in the Cotton Bowl played after the 1999 season. One thing that doesn’t bode well for the Longhorns avenging that loss? UT is 63rd in run defense (162.1 yards per game) while UA is 28th in rush offense (220.3 ypg). Perhaps an even bigger question for the ‘Horns is which Tyrone Swoopes shows up, the one that tossed four interceptions in a regular season-ending loss to TCU or the one who completed nearly 73 percent of his passes for 305 yards in a win over Oklahoma State the week before. Incidentally, this is the Razorbacks’ third game in the state of Texas this season, and they are currently 1-1: a 49-28 win over Texas Tech in Week 3, a Week 5 35-28 overtime loss to Texas A&M.
THE LINE: Texas +6½
THE PREDICTION: Arkansas 24, Texas 17