Birmingham Bowl: East Carolina (8-4) vs. Florida (6-5) - January 3 - 9am PT - ESPN
Playing in a bowl game on or shortly after New Year's Day when you could have the stage to yourselves used to mean prestige, double digit wins, and maybe a shot at a national championship. Not anymore. Each year, more and more bowl games are added diluting the reward of post-season play.
But if you're like me and you love football (which I'll just assume to be true since you're reading) you'll watch or track this game today in addition to the the NFL playoffs since, you know it's...football.
The Gators haven't won a bowl game since 2011 and are seeking their first seven-win season since 2012. DE/OLB Dante Fowler, Jr. is the most pro ready prospect for Florida and is likely to be a first round pick. The 6-2, 261lbs pass rusher has incredible athleticism and bend around the edge. He boasts a long, lanky frame capable of adding more muscle which will help in the NFL. Fowler only recorded 11.5 sacks in his three years at UF but his upside is enough to earn him a first round selection.
ECU WR Justin Hardy broke the NCAA record for career receptions in 2014 with 376. Hardy (6-0, 188lbs) primarily lines up in the slot and projects to do the same in the NFL. A product of a pass happy system where Hardy is rarely asked to run a complete route tree, he'll need to prove to scouts he's versatile enough to play on the outside in a pinch. He seems to catch the ball well with his hands and will earn a higher grade due to his kick/punt return ability.
GoDaddy Bowl: Toledo (8-4) vs. Arkansas State (7-5) - January 4 - 6pm PT - ESPN
Yeah, it's football...but in terms of NFL draft eligible talent: you might have better chance finding it in one of tonight's NBA games.