Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
Houston vs Air Force
This one is tied 17-17 at the half.
Houston QB Case Keenum threw for 362 yards and four touchdowns the last time these two teams met and he's thrown for more than 400 yards in three straight games. One of his greatest strengths is his willingness to spread the ball around and he should have plenty of favorable matchups to exploit in this game.
Air Force should be able to pull away with a superior ground game but they need to stop the Houston passing game in the second half to come away with a win.
Oregon State vs Pittsburgh
Freshman RB Jacquizz Rodgers is the key to Oregon State's offensive success. He is tiny but tough and he can carry a heavy load. The youngster runs behind an experienced offensive line that includes three seniors, one junior and one sophomore. The Beavers will look to grind it out on the ground versus a Pittsburgh defense that has shown some vulnerability defending the run.
The Panthers allowed only 10 points to Connecticut in their last outing but coordinator Phil Bennett must be concerned about the 186 rushing yards surrendered to Huskies RB Donald Brown. Granted, Brown is the nation's leading rusher and he carried the ball 34 times on the afternoon, but the Panthers cannot rely on Beavers QB Lyle Moevao to gift wrap five interceptions like the Connecticut quarterbacks did in that contest. The biggest challenge is for the Pitt defenders -- especially big MLB Scott McKillop -- to stay low and wrap Rodgers up in space. He's very difficult to tackle because of his pint-sized frame, shiftiness and center of gravity.
Boston College vs Vanderbilt
This one has to be downer for BC after blowing the ACC title and a chance to go to the Orange Bowl. for Vanderbilt it is a big shot for redemption after decades of terrible football.
Redshirt freshman QB Dominique Davis will start for just the third time in his career and he's yet to show he can make defenses pay for loading up against the run. As a result, true freshmen RBs Montel Harris and Josh Haden can expect to see plenty of eight-man fronts with 212-pound Commodores SS Reshard Langford frequently creeping up to the line of scrimmage. Langford is a relentless run defender with sideline-to-sideline range and he can deliver the big hit when he gets to the ball. That doesn't bode well for the Eagles' ground game because neither Harris nor Haden has ideal size or power. However, both backs change direction and speed well and Langford doesn't always take sound pursuit angles. If Langford underestimates their top-end speed and is too shallow on pursuit angles Harris and Haden could break into the open and both are fast enough to rip off big chunks of yards.
Kansas vs Minnesota
If you live in Minnesota or Kansas this is a great trip to make this time of year. Out of the sub zero temperatures and into the sun of Tempe.
QB Todd Reesing doesn't have elite size or arm strength but he's an excellent game manager and is capable of picking secondaries apart when he gets into a rhythm. It's important for Minnesota to force Reesing to get rid of the ball quickly and make it difficult for him to step into his throws by applying consistent pressure. The good news for Gophers fans is that the quickness and athletic ability of DE Willie VanDeSteeg should give Jayhawks redshirt freshmen OTs Jeremiah Hatch and Jeff Spikes some problems. The bad news is that Reesing has a quick release and Minnesota's corners are going to have a difficult time matching up with WRs Dezmon Briscoe andKerry Meier. Briscoe has the burst to separate from man coverage in a flash and he's dangerous after the catch. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Meier can use his wide frame to shield CBs Marcus Sherels (5-11, 166) and Traye Simmons (5-11, 175) from the ball. As a result, Reesing should help stunt the Gophers' pass rush by getting the ball out of his hands in a timely fashion.
Peach Bowl (Chick-a Fila)
LSU vs Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech was one of the hotter teams in the nation at the end of the season but they are playing a very talented LSU squad that can put some points on the board.
QB Jarret Lee is expected to return from a knee injury that forced him to miss the regular-season finale but true freshman Jordan Jefferson is still expected to start. Jefferson's above-average speed makes him dangerous when he's able to break contain so the Yellow Jackets defensive linemen can't get caught out of their rushing lanes when he drops back to pass. More importantly, LSU WRs Brandon LaFell and Demetrius Byrd form one of the most gifted starting receiver tandems in the nation. They face a Georgia Tech secondary that could be without its best corner Jahi Word-Daniels, who has missed the past five games with a hamstring injury and may not be able to play in this game. However, Jefferson has thrown just 48 passes this season and completed just 41.7 percent of them, he lacks experience and he holds the ball too long. As a result, a talented Georgia Tech front four led by DE Michael Johnson should still be able to get to him at times. Finally, it's important to point out that while Lee could replace Jefferson at some point, he has been an inconsistent passer as well so don't expect the Yellow Jackets to change their approach if he comes into the game.