Music City, Sun, Liberty and Chick-fil-A today
Four bowl games are whetting college football fans' appetite for the New Year's Day bowl extravaganza.
First up is the Music City Bowl in Nashville where Vanderbilt is rated about a touchdown favorite over N.C. State. Vandy is trying for its first nine-victory season since 1915. The 8-4 Commodores come in with a six-game winning streak that is longest in Southeastern Conference going into bowl season. N.C. State, which is 7-5, can make up for a season that cost coach Tom O'Brien his job by winning its third straight bowl and sixth in seven bowls.
The Sun Bowl from El Paso, Texas, pits 7-5 Southern California against a 6-7 Georgia Tech club that is bowl eligible for the 16th straight season, the fourth-longest streak in the nation. USC is coming off a two-year bowl ban after a season that began with the Trojans the preseason No. 1 in the AP rankings. All-American QB Matt Barkley's career at USC is over following a shoulder injury. He'll be replaced by freshman Max Wittek, whose favorite target figures to be Marqise (mar-KEES') Lee, who led the nation with 95 receptions.
The Liberty Bowl from Memphis has 10-3 Tulsa taking on 6-6 Iowa State. This is a preview of the 2013 season when these teams will meet again in the fourth week of the season. Tulsa could match a school record with its 11th victory. Tulsa is trying to avenge a 38-23 loss to Iowa State in the season opener on Sept. 1. A victory would give Iowa State its first winning season since 2009.
The Chick-fil-A Bowl will wrap up the 2012 calendar season. It's a matchup of two 10-2 clubs, LSU and Clemson. Clemson is trying to reach 11 wins for only the fourth time in school history and the first time since a 12-0 finish in its 1981 national championship season. LSU, which one year ago was preparing for the national championship game, is hoping for a top-five finish and to close with four straight wins after its 21-17 loss to Alabama on Nov. 3.
News 2's sports crew will have full coverage of the Chick-fil-A Bowl starting at 4 p.m.