Who to watch in college football bowl action
December 20

Louisiana -Lafayette (8-4) vs Nevada (7-5); New Orleans Bowl; 11 AM ET; ESPN ... You know your bowl is probably not a classic when the kick-off time is barely after breakfast. And that's pretty much the case in this year's New Orleans Bowl, although Louisiana-Lafayette did win 8 games to finish second in the Sun Belt Conference, while Nevada won 7 including a win over Washington State of the Pac-12. Both teams have a pretty good QB in Cody Fajardo (#17, 6-2, 215) who could get some third-day consideration at the upcoming draft, and ULL's Terrance Broadway (#8, 6-2, 225), an athletic two-way type , who could ultimately end up playing the CFL.  However, Fajardo is probably the only player in this game with a legitimate chance to be drafted this year, although each time has several potential free agent candidates including DE Brock Hekking (#53, 6-3, 255) and OT Kyle Roberts (#66, 6-5, 305) of Nevada and RB Alonzo Harris (#46, 6-0, 235), DT Justin Hamilton (#74, 6-2, 310), and OG Daniel Quave (#67, 6-3, 325) of Louisiana.

Utah State (9-4) vs Texas-El Paso (7-5); New Mexico Bowl; 2:20 PM ET; ESPN ... Maybe the best thing about this game is that neither team has to travel very far to get there, although Utah State is a better-than advertised 9-win team that had to overcome a slew of injuries, including the loss of its top 3 QBs, jst to get to then post-season.  Utah State also has a couple of possible late round prospects including active MLB Nick Vigil (#41, 6-1, 230) and OG Bill Vavau (#68, 6-3, 315), while DE B.J. Larsen (#99, 6-5, 275) and RB Joe Hill (#32, 5-11, 190) could be premium free agents. Meanwhile, UTEP is probably just happy to be anywhere this December as the Miners had their first winning season in a decade. UTEP also hasn't had a player drafted since 2008 and that likely won't change this coming spring, although TE Eric Tomlinson (#87, 6-6, 265) could be a bit of a sleeper.

Colorado State (10-2) vs Utah (8-4); Las Vegas Bowl; 3:30 PM ET; ABC ... This could be Exhibit A of what's wrong with the bowls as ten-win Colorado State certainly deserves a better post-season fate, but play in the wrong conference. Indeed, this would be a very representative game on December 31st if most of the good bowls spots weren't already divvied up among the 5-power conferences. This match-up is also features as much draft talent as any bowl outside the playoffs games. In particular, this game could feature one of the best one-on-one match-ups of the post-season when Utah DE Nate Orchard (#8, 6-4, 255), who had 17.5 sacks this fall, goes up against emerging CSU LT Ty Sambrailo (#51, 6-5, 310). Both are second-round prospects. Meanwhile, Colorado State also has one of the better second-tier QBs in the 2015 draft class in Garrett Grayson (#18, 6-2, 220) who threw for almost 3,800 yards and 32 TDs - against only 6 picks - this fall, while the Rams also have a numer of potential later round or post draft free agent targets including CB Bernard Blake(#23, 5-11, 180), OG Mason Myers (#50, 6-2, 300), TE Kivon Cartwright (#86, 6-3, 245), LBs Aaron Davis (#37, 6-0, 220) and Max Morgan (#40, 6-0, 225) and PK Jared Roberts (47, 6-, 205). Colorado State also has one of the most productive receivers in college football in WR Rashard Higgins (#82, 6-1, 185), who had 89 catches for over 1,600 yards and 16 TDs this fall, but the NFL will have to wait for at least another year as he is just a true sophomore. For its part, Utah has several later round prsopects of its own including CB Eric Rowe (#18, 6-0, 205), OG Junior Salt (#58, 6-2, 315) and TE Westlee Tonga (#80, 6-4, 255).

Air Force (9-3) vs Western Michigan (7-5); Idaho Potato Bowl; 5:45 PM ET; ESPN ... If the previous game has one of the deepest draft groups of any bowl, this game may have the fewest. Of course, as one of the academies, Air Force has an excuse, while WMU has one of the youngest rosters in the country.

Bowling Green (7-6) vs South Alabama (6-6); Camelia Bowl; 9:15 PM ET; ESPN ... This is what first night bowl games are supposed to be all about: two teams with a combined record of 13-12 battling it out! Pro scouts, though, will be tuning in to see South Alabama QB Brandon Bridge (#7, 6-5, 220), a transplanted Canadian with impressive size, mobility and arm strength, although he is still a very much a work in progress. South Alabama has a second potential mid-round prospect this year in veteran TE Wes Saxton (#13, 6-3, 245). On the other hand, the only way BGSU gets to the 2015 draft is to buy a ticket.


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