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Saturday Bowl Games Open Thread: Pinstripe Bowl, Russell Athletic Bowl, Belk Bowl, Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl

We give you the schedule of bowl games today and look at the notable prospects playing.


We've got a full day of bowl action with four on the schedule. Here is a rundown of each game and some notable prospects to watch.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl - Rutgers vs Notre Dame (9 A.M. PT)

Oh how the mighty have fallen. A year after playing in the National Championship game, Notre Dame is playing in one of the newest bowl games. At least it has a cool name and is played at Yankee Stadium.

The player to watch in this one is Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt. At 6'6 312 pounds, he is a player that needs to be respected and contained. Rutgers will have their hands full stopping him. At one point, Tuitt was expected to be a sure first round pick, but after an up and down year that has become uncertain. The draft advisory board gave Tuitt a second round grade. He has a high football IQ and when his motor is running he can hold his ground as well as wreak havoc on opposing lineman and quarterbacks. I do question his durability and motor and believe that is why he received a second round grade.

Belk Bowl - Cincinnati vs. North Carolina (12:20 P.M. PT)

The Belk Bowl has one of the top rated tight end prospects, North Carolina junior Eric Ebron. At 6'4 245 pounds, Ebron has the size to be a mismatch in the NFL. He also is a good route runner, flashes decent speed, and has a large catch radius. Ebron still needs to work on his blocking, as it's mediocre at best right now. And he also does drop the occasional easy catch. Ebron still projects to go in the first round or in the early second. It seems like having versatile tight ends is the new trend in the NFL, so someone will take a chance on him sooner rather than later.

SB Nation's Bill Connelly has a full breakdown of the game and why you should watch it. It's a good read.

Russell Athletic Bowl - Miami (FL) vs. No. 18 Louisville (3:45 P.M. PT)

Everybody likes watching quarterback prospects and this game features one of the best to potentially declare for the draft. Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater at one point this year was neck and neck with Jameis Winston in the Heisman race, and his numbers certainly warranted that conversation. Bridgewater completed 70 percent of his passes to go along with 3,523 yards passing, 28 touchdowns, and just four interceptions. He has good accuracy, solid mechanics, and goes through progressions well and decisively. The biggest concern may be his weight, as he is 6'3 but only 196 pounds. If Bridgewater does decide to turn pro, look for him to go in round one. He is a much more intriguing prospect than Geno Smith was last year.

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl - Michigan vs. Kansas State (7:15 P.M. PT)

The most notable prospect in this game is Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan. Lewan has won Big Ten offensive lineman of the year the past two seasons and is the driving force for a lot of what goes well on Michigan's offense. At 6'7 315 lbs, he's a mammoth, yet shifty for his size while providing a lot of torque on the offensive line. He projects to be a first round pick and CBSSports Rob Rang compares him to Jake Long. One thing that may hurt his draft stock is some off the field baggage. Lewan was interviewed this week in an investigation of the assault of an Ohio State fan. This story could go away or could turn out to be a big deal.

Also worth checking out is Kansas State safety Ty Zimmerman. He has good height for the position at 6'1" and good speed along with it. Zimmerman has shown he can be a ballhawk, intercepting 8 passes the last two seasons. With a good combine and pro day, Zimmerman could wind up being drafted in round three.