Scouting report: Saturday's bowl games

December 17, 2010|By Tribune Newspapers

NEW MEXICO BOWL

BYU (6-6) vs. UTEP (6-6)

When: 2 p.m

Where: Albuquerque, N.M.

TV: ESPN

About BYU: After starting 1-4, the Cougars won five of its last seven games to become bowl eligible. This is the first time since 2005 BYU won't be playing a postseason game in Las Vegas.

About UTEP: The Miners return to the postseason for the first time since 2005 and get a matchup against a familiar foe. The former WAC rivals haven't meet since 1998 in a series mostly dominated by the Cougars. UTEP has the second-best defense in Conference USA, holding opponents to 25.4 points per game this season.

Watchability: 3 out of 5 stars

HUMANITARIAN BOWL

Northern Illinois (10-3) vs. Fresno State (8-4)

When: 5:30 p.m.

Where: Boise, Idaho

TV: ESPN

About Northern Illinois: The Huskies claimed the MAC West Division title and are headed to its first MAC Championship Game since the 2005 season. Northern Illinois is the conference's top offensive team led by Chad Spann, who leads the league in rushing.

About Fresno State: The Bulldogs are coming off another 8-5 season and find itself in the Humanitarian Bowl for the first time since 2007. Losses to conference powers Boise State, Hawaii, and Nevada along with Mississippi from the SEC are the only blights on this year's team. Sophomore RB Robbie Rouse rushed for 1,097 yards and eight touchdowns to power Fresno State's offense.

Watchability rating: 2 stars out of 5

R&L CARRIER BOWL

Ohio University (8-4) vs. Troy (7-5)

When: 9 p.m.

Where: New Orleans

TV: ESPN

About Ohio: This is the fourth straight year that the Bobcats have become bowl eligible under Frank Solich, and the third time in that stretch they've played in a bowl. Ohio won seven straight games at one point during the season.

About Troy: Troy finished in a first-place tie with Florida International in the Sun Belt standings. They won their last two games of the season to get bowl eligible.

Watchability rating: 1 star out of 5

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