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Prospects to watch in Saturday December 20 bowl games

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We take a look at the bowl games today and the notable storylines. They include the New Orleans Bowl, New Mexico Bowl, Las Vegas Bowl, and Potato Bowl.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Bowl season has finally arrived! Kicking things off today are five matchups, with one featuring a ranked team (#22 Utah). With two NFL games going on today, this is a good day for some football.

New Orleans Bowl: Nevada (7-5) vs Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4)

The Nevada Wolfpack will be looking to win their first bowl game since Colin Kaepernick was their quarterback in 2010. Louisiana Lafayette will get the luxury of playing in their homestate, where they have won the last three New Orleans Bowls. For Louisiana, the game will be decided with how their running back performs. The Sun Belt Offensive player of the year, Elijah McGuire, has rushed for 1,165 rush yards and 14 touchdowns on the season. Nevada features the pistol offense and a run heavy ideology, which features dual threat quarterback Cody Fajardo. The 6'2" Fajardo doesn't possess the strongest arm, but he makes up for that with his legs. Fajardo has passed for 2,374 yards this season, while running for 997 yards and 13 touchdowns. This could actually be an entertaining game to start the schedule off today.

Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Utah State (9-4)  vs. UTEP (7-5)

Stats can be deceiving, but after reviewing those of each time, I like UTEP's chances of pulling of an upset in this one. UTEP has been carried all year by running back Aaron Jones, who has rushed for 1,233 yards and 11 scores. The offensive line of UTEP is rock solid as well, allowing only 11 sacks this year, which was best in their conference. Protecting your quarterback and having a steady run game is usually a recipe for success.

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: #22 Utah (8-4)  vs. Colorado State (10-2)

Don't let the four losses from Utah fool you, this is a very good football team. Three of their losses were to top fifteen opponents such as Oregon, Arizona, and Arizona State. The quarterback matchup in this game is a good one, as both have the ability to put the team on their shoulders. Utah quarterback Travis Wilson has put together some clutch performances this season, passing for 17 touchdowns and throwing just four interceptions. For Colorado State, quarterback Garrett Grayson has had one of the best statistical seasons in 2014, throwing for 3,779 yards, 32 touchdowns with just six picks. Utah features a tremendous pass rusher in Nate Orchard. Orchard won the Ted Hendricks Award, which goes to the best defensive end in the nation. Recording 17.5 sacks this season, an NFL GM calls the 6'4" 255 pound Orchard a day three pick because he will need to be converted to an outside linebacker.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Western Michigan (8-4) vs Air Force (9-3)

Both teams improved their record by seven wins this season, a bowl game, even if it's a Potato Bowl is well deserved. The game should be run heavy for both teams. Western Michigan freshman running back Jarvion Franklin rushed for 1,525 yards and 24 scores. For Air Force, the eighth ranked rushing attacked in the nation has eight players who have rushed for over 100 yards.

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl: South Alabama (6-6)  vs.  Bowling Green (7-6)

If you enjoyed the Titans at Jaguars game Thursday, this game may be right up your alley. Both teams rank near the bottom of the barrel (100th or worse) in many categories. If you're that bored tonight you can come hang out with me instead. A preview of this matchup can be found here. Jokes aside, the fact South Alabama is in a bowl is very impressive, as this is just their third year in the FBS.

Happy Saturday and enjoy!

Game Schedule

Saturday, December 20
TIME (ET) MATCHUP TV
11:00 AM Nevada vs. Louisiana-Lafayette*
R+L CARRIERS NEW ORLEANS BOWL
ESPN
2:20 PM Utah State vs. UTEP*
GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL
ESPN
3:30 PM No. 22 Utah vs. Colorado State*
ROYAL PURPLE LAS VEGAS BOWL
ABC
5:45 PM Western Michigan vs. Air Force*
FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL
ESPN
9:15 PM South Alabama vs. Bowling Green*
RAYCOM MEDIA CAMELLIA BOWL
ESPN