College bowl season isn't letting up one bit. Today has five matchups, some of which have top talent that will be drafted early in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Military Bowl, 10 a.m. PT, ESPN: Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech will be playing in a bowl game for the 22nd consecutive season. Hokies head coach, Frank Beamer, will be coaching this game from the press box after undergoing throat surgery while his son will be the head man on the sideline. The big name to watch in this one is Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel. The 6'4" sophomore was one of the highest touted prospects coming out of high school, and has shown why in his time as a Bearcat. This season Kiel has passed for 3,010 yards, 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while completing 60 percent of his throws. For Virginia Tech, cornerback Kendall Fuller and Dadi Nicolas will be players to watch. Fuller had 14 pass breakups this year, 50 tackles and an interception while Nicolas had 17.5 tackles for loss, 9 sacks, and 34 quarterback hurries.
Sun Bowl, 11 a.m. PT, CBS: No. 15 Arizona State vs. Duke
This game will have one prospect on full display today, Arizona State wideout Jaelen Strong. This guy can do it all, be it contested catches in traffic, blowing past corners for long gains, and catching short passes while gaining yards after the catch. Strong will be a first round pick this year, and I doubt he slips out of the top 20 picks in the draft. On the year, the 6'3" 215 lb strong had 75 receptions for 1,062 yards and 10 touchdowns. I like his speed, and anticipate him having a sub 4.55 forty time with the potential to get below 4.49. Good hands and athletic ability, he's the kind of receiver the 49ers have needed for sometime, a receiver that can get down the field and make big plays.
Independence Bowl, 12:30 p.m. PT, ABC: Miami Hurricanes vs. South Carolina
Both prestigious programs are 6-6 going into the bowl. The Hurricanes record isn't a surprise but the mediocre mark of Steve Spurrier's Gamecock's is, as they were ranked #9 to start the year. Both teams will rely heavily on their running backs today. The Gamecocks have a one-two punch of Mike Davis and Brandon Wilds. Davis averaged 4.98 yards per carry, rushing for 927 yards and 9 touchdowns. Davis is also polished as a receiver, posting 30 receptions this season. For Miami, running back Duke Johnson had a tremendous year and will be a name to watch this draft season. Johnson ran for 1,520 yards and 10 touchdowns, showing good burst.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl, 1:30 p.m. PT, ESPN: Boston College vs. Penn State
Although this is a relatively new bowl game, the bowl name and the fact that it's played at Yankee Stadium makes it feel like it's been around awhile. This game features stout defense and horrible offenses. Expect a defensive touchdown or two. Boston College ranks 123rd in passing yards, Penn State ranks 115th in scoring offense. However, neither team allows many points, Boston college ranks 19th and Penn State ranks 7th in the nation. Penn State is known for their linebackers, Navorro Bowman anyone? Linebacker Mike Hull led the Big Ten with 134 tackles. Hull will be playing in the Senior Bowl in January.
Holiday Bowl, 5:00 p.m. PT, ESPN: Nebraska vs. No. 24 USC
The Holiday Bowl features multiple prospects that will be first round selections. Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory and USC end Leonard Williams could both be off the board in the top ten picks. Currently, both prospects are in the top five of Mel Kiper's Big Board. The game also features big time offensive players for both teams. USC quarterback Cody Kessler (3,505 passing yards, 35 touchdowns, 4 interceptions) will be looking to hook up with his receiver Nelson Agholor (97 receptions, 11 touchdowns). For Nebraska, how the game will go will have much to do with the success of their elite running back Ameer Abdullah. Early in the season Abdullah was considered a Heisman front-runner, but then Nebraska's season went in the tank. Abdullah rushed for 1,523 yards and 18 touchdowns this season, showing he can run between the tackles and play all three downs in the NFL.