No. 23 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl – December 26th on ESPN at 6:30 PT
Dec 6, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Northern Illinois Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch (6) rushes for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Bowling Green Falcons at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
No. 23 Northern Illinois (12-1) nearly ran the table this season, stumbling only in the MAC Championship game to end their regular season of play. Utah State (8-5) might have enjoyed a similar run until Heisman candidate Chuckie Keeton went down to injury. Devastated by injuries to their offense, the Aggies ended their regular schedule with a 5-win streak before losing a tough one to Fresno State in the MWC championship game. The Huskies Heisman candidate, Jordan Lynch, remained upright all season. He is a special talent and exciting to watch. He set a new NCAA record for quarterback rushing with 1,881 yards on the year while passing for another 2,676 yards. It will take a gritty performance by Utah State to slow down the NIU offense and emerge with a bowl win.
No. 22 BBVA Compass Bowl – January 4th on ESPN at 10am PT
Nov 9, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Houston Cougars wide receiver Deontay Greenberry (3) cant make the catch in the final seconds as UCF Knights defensive back Clayton Geathers (26) defends at Bright House Networks Stadium. UCF defeated Houston 19 to 14. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
Houston (8-4) and Vanderbilt (8-4) have both been rewarded for football programs heading in the right direction under relatively new head coaches. As their respective records indicate, this game promises to be a great matchup. The Cougars play aggressive, hard-hitting defense as proved by their 4o-takeaways which netted a +25 in the turnover department this year. Yes, that’s best in the country. The Commodores are right up there in total defense as well ranking 19th in the nation by holding opponents to just 334-yards a game. When Vandy has the ball, they look to get it into the hands of WR Jordan Matthews who set a school mark with 1,334-yards receiving. Matthews is an amazing talent. The Cougars have a fine WR in the person of Deontay Greenberry who had 76-catches for 1,106-yards and 10-TD’s in 2013.
No. 21 Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl – December 26th on ESPN at 3pm PT
Dec 6, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Bowling Green Falcons quarterback Matt Johnson (11) scrambles out of the pocket during the fourth quarter against the Northern Illinois Huskies at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
A number of teams will play bowl games without their head coaches. Bowling Green (10-3) Coach Dave Clawson has moved on to Wake Forest leaving a resurrected program behind. Pittsburgh (6-6) has issues of their own. The Panthers haven’t exactly lit up the scoreboard this year and face a massive challenge going up against the Falcon ‘D’. Coming off an emotional win in the MAC championship game over No. 23 NIU, Bowling Green should notch their 11th win of what has been a great season.