Dec. 29 bowl games — Armed Forces, Russell Athletic, Arizona, Texas

North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams and the Tar Heels will take on Baylor in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Tuesday.

Joshua S. Kelly/Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Previewing the bowl games to fill up Dec. 29 as the clock ticks down to the national semifinal games.

Armed Forces Bowl

Matchup: California vs. Air Force

Kickoff time: 2 p.m. ET

Vegas odds: California minus-7

Players to watch: California: QB Jared Goff, 4,252 yards and 37 touchdowns; WR Bryce Treggs, 41 receptions, 19.8 yards per catch.

Air Force: QB Karson Roberts, 674 rushing yards and nine touchdowns, 1,446 passing yards and nine touchdowns; S Weston Steelhammer, 72 tackles and five interceptions.


California: The Golden Bears are riding the momentum of a massive comeback in the regular-season finale to beat Arizona State and get to 7-5 just two seasons after going 1-11. … This is Cal’s first bowl game since 2011. … Quarterback Jared Goff will likely be playing his final game. He could be the first QB taken in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Air Force: The Falcons narrowly missed beating San Diego State for the Mountain West title so they’ll want to prove they’re for real with a victory over an improving Pac-12 program. … Air Force lost all five of its games away from home.

Russell Athletic Bowl

Matchup: North Carolina vs. Baylor

Kickoff time: 5:30 p.m. ET

Vegas odds: North Carolina minus-3

Players to watch: North Carolina: QB Marquise Williams, 2,825 yards and nine touchdowns, plus 867 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns; RB Elijah Hood, 1,345 yards and 11 touchdowns. 

Baylor: RB Johnny Jefferson, 701 yards and five touchdowns; DT Andrew Billings, 15 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.


North Carolina: Coming off a hard-fought loss to No. 1 Clemson in the ACC championship game, the Tar Heels just missed a shot at making the College Football Playoff. They still mean business in seeking the program’s first 12-win season after going 6-7 in 2014.

Baylor: Injuries crushed the Bears’ playoff hopes and will have a major impact on this game with QB Jarrett Stidham, RB Shock Linwood and WR Corey Coleman all out. Baylor is looking to snap a two-game bowl losing skid and seeking to prevent a three-game losing streak to end this season.

Arizona Bowl

Matchup: Nevada vs. Colorado State

Kickoff time: 7:30 p.m. ET

Vegas odds: Colorado State minus-3

Players to watch: Nevada: RB James Butler, 1,156 yards on 6.3 yards per carry; RB Don Jackson, 1,025 yards and eight touchdowns.

Colorado State: WR Rashard Higgins, 66 catches for 933 yards and eight touchdowns; QB Nick Stevens, 2,369 yards and 21 touchdowns.


Nevada: The Wolf Pack got a dramatic comeback win in overtime against San Jose State to get bowl eligible, but then dropped consecutive games to end the regular season against Utah State and San Diego State. 

Colorado State: Coach Mike Bobo, who replaced Florida coach Jim McElwain, is the first in school history to reach seven wins in his first season. Things started slowly for the Rams, who have won five of their last six and will seek to end the season on a five-game winning streak.

Texas Bowl

Matchup: LSU vs. Texas Tech

Kickoff time: 9 p.m. ET

Vegas odds: LSU minus-7

Players to watch: LSU: RB Leonard Fournette, 1,741 yards and 18 touchdowns; DE Lewis Neal, 8.0 sacks, 9.5 tackles for loss.

Texas Tech: QB Patrick Mahomes, 4,283 yards and 32 touchdowns, plus 484 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns; WR/KR Jakeem Grant, 80 catches, 1,143 yards, plus two touchdown kickoff returns.


LSU: The Tigers had the Heisman frontrunner (Fournette) and were a popular pick to make the playoff before an ugly loss at Alabama on Nov. 7. It was the first of three consecutive losses that nearly cost coach Les Miles his job. He was reassured he was staying only after the regular-season finale victory against Texas A&M.

Texas Tech: An 8-5 season would be huge for coach Kliff Kingsbury in his third season. He’s built one of the nation’s most explosive offenses, and adding a second victory over an SEC opponent (Arkansas was the other) would propel the Red Raiders at least into the conversation of 2016 Big 12 title contenders.

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