With two bowl games on the docket tonight your Christmas Eve-Eve football fix should be covered. The inaugural Boca Raton Bowl kicks off today at 3pm PT while the San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl is scheduled for a 6:30pm PT kickoff and both games will be televised by ESPN.
The first ever Boca Raton Bowl is the only other game besides the national semifinals to feature two conference champions as Marshall (12-1, Conference USA Champions) takes on Northern Illinois (11-2, MAC Champions).
Marshall DE James Rouse earned a sixth year of eligibility after missing two seasons with back and Achilles injuries. 2013 was his first year back in action after missing those two seasons and Rouse recorded 14 tackles for loss and six sacks. This season Rouse tallied 10.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks as he lined up all over line for Marshall. Rouse projects as 5-technique end is certain to draw the interest of several teams looking for depth in the mid to later rounds. It wouldn't shock me at all to hear Rouse's name called on day three.
The only draftable talent at Northern Illinois this year is safety Dechane Durante (former teammate of 49er 2014 first round pick Jimmie Ward). Durante has the size (6-2, 193lbs) and speed (reportedly in the 4.5 range) that will catch the eyes of scouts. He'll need to show fluidity and improved coverage skills to be any more than a day three pick.
In the nightcap the men of the United States Naval Academy (6-5) will bring their triple-option attack across country to face the Aztecs of San Diego State (7-5).
Of course, none of the Midshipmen are eligible for the NFL Draft given their much more important commitment to their country.
SDSU WR Ezell Ruffin is a potential sleeper in this year's WR class. At 6-1, 210lbs, Ruffin has ideal size and should post a respect forty-time in the neighborhood of 4.4. Ruffin was hoping to build off a solid 2013 campaign with a strong senior year but a broken collar bone cost him five games. Still Ruffin led the Aztecs with 26 receptions averaging 60 yards/game. He would benefit with time at one of the three post-season showcase games where NFL teams can get a head start on preparing him for the next level.
Enjoy the games!