Today's bowl games

December 29, 2010

Armed Forces Bowl

SMU (7-6) vs. Army (6-6)

When: Noon

Where: Dallas

TV: ESPN

About SMU (6-2 C-USA): The Mustangs have completed a remarkable turnaround under coach June Jones. The SMU program went 25 years without earning a bowl bid and suffering some of the most severe sanctions in NCAA history. Jones, who is in his third season at SMU, is leading the program to its second consecutive bowl bid. The Mustangs are coming off a 17-7 loss to UCF in the Conference USA championship game. Sophomore quarterback Kyle Padron and sophomore running back Zach Line are among a wave underclassmen leading SMU's resurgence.

About Army: The Black Knights are 6-5 and close out the college football regular season against rival Navy Saturday. Army has clinched bowl eligibility for the first time since 1996. The Black Knights have relied on a strong rushing attack this season, ranking ninth nationally with 260.3 yards per game. Army's potent offensive line and steady play of sophomore dual-threat QB Trent Steelman has helped the Black Knights lead the nation in fewest sacks allowed, giving up four in 11 contests.

Watchability rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Pinstripe Bowl

Syracuse (7-5) vs Kansas State (7-5)

When: 3:20 p.m.

Where: New York

TV: ESPN

About Syracuse (4-3 Big East): The Orange will be making its first bowl appearance since the 2004 Champs Sports Bowl. For the third time in its program's history, the Orange will face Kansas State in a postseason bowl (1997 Fiesta, 2001 Insight).

About Kansas State (3-5 Big 12): The Wildcats are back in a postseason bowl for the first time since 2006. RB Daniel Thomas leads the Kansas State attack. The senior running back rushed for a career-high 1,495 yards and 16 touchdowns this season.

Watchability: 3 out of 5 stars

Music City Bowl

Tennessee (6-6) vs. North Carolina (7-5)

When: 6:40 p.m.

Where: Nashville, Tenn.

TV: ESPN

About Tennesse (3-5 SEC): The Vols struggled through the first two months of the season but went unbeaten in November to become bowl eligible. Along the way, freshman Tyler Bray replaced Matt Simms at quarterback and helped Tennessee rank fourth in the SEC in passing.

About North Carolina (4-4 ACC): An NCAA investigation linking former assistant coach John Blake to agent Gary Wichard as well as academic violations at the school have depleted the Tar Heels roster and crippled an otherwise promising season. Quarterback T.J. Yates has been a bright spot in his senior year, passing for 265.33 yards per game. This could be Butch Davis' last game as coach of the Tar Heels.

Watchability: 3 out of 5

Holiday Bowl

Nebraska (10-3) vs. Washington (6-6)

When: 10 p.m.

Where: San Diego

TV: ESPN

About Nebraska (6-2 Big 12): In its last season in the Big 12 Conference, the Cornhuskers played for the league title, but lost Saturday to Oklahoma, 23-20. That puts them in this game, where they'll be playing a team that will likely become one of their chief rivals because of location.

About Washington (5-4 Pac 10): The Huskies posted an 0-12 record during the 2008 season, prompting Washington administrators to make a coaching change. Second-year coach Steve Sarkisian's team completed its comeback from college football's cellar with a 35-28 last-minute win over rival Washington State in the Apple Cup to claim bowl eligibility. Quarterback Jake Locker, a strong NFL prospect, opted to remain at Washington for his senior season and is leading the program to its first bowl game since the 2002 season. The Huskies haven't been especially strong in any phase of the game, but Washington has displayed a strong will to win. Four of its six victories have been by a margin of no more than seven points.

Watchability: 1 of 5 stars

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