Monday’s bowl previews
Matchup: Texas A&M (7-5) vs. West Virginia (7-5), at Memphis, Tennessee, 2 p.m. (ESPN)
Line: West Virginia by 11/2
Series record: First meeting.
What’s at stake: Texas A&M’s seniors are attempting to become the school’s first class to win four bowl games. The Aggies won the Chick-fil-A Bowl last season, the Cotton Bowl two years ago and the Texas Bowl in 2011. Texas A&M freshman quarterback Kyle Allen and West Virginia sophomore Skyler Howard are attempting to gain momentum they can carry into next season. Allen has four career starts, while Howard will be making his second Monday.
Key matchup: West Virginia WR Kevin White vs. Texas A&M CBs Deshazor Everett and De’Vante Harris. White is a Biletnikoff Award finalist and a second-team All-American who has caught 102 passes for 1,318 yards and nine touchdowns. White ended the regular season ranked fifth among all Football Bowl Subdivision players in yards receiving per game. At 6-foot-3, White has a height advantage over the 6-foot Everett and the 5-11 Harris.
Players to watch: Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett’s 11 sacks broke the Southeastern Conference freshman record formerly held by ex-South Carolina star Jadeveon Clowney. Garrett has 50 overall tackles and 11 tackles for loss. West Virginia sophomore QB Skyler Howard will be making his second career start in place of senior Clint Trickett, who is giving up football because of multiple concussions. Howard threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 69 yards while leading West Virginia to a 37-24 victory over Iowa State in his first start.
Russell Athletic Bowl
Matchup: No. 18 Clemson (9-3 ) vs. Oklahoma (8-4), 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Line: Oklahoma by 4
Series record: Oklahoma leads 2-1
What’s at stake: Clemson is looking for its fourth consecutive season with double-digit victories. The Tigers were 10-4 in 2011, 11-2 in 2012 and 11-2 in 2013. A win would give the Sooners double-digit wins for the 13th time in 15 seasons. The game is a rematch of the 1989 Florida Citrus Bowl, which the Tigers won 13-6
Key matchup: This game looks to be a matchup of the Tigers’ defense and the Sooners’ offense. Clemson comes in with a defensive unit ranked No. 1 in total defense, giving up 259.6 yards per game. Clemson is allowing 97.7 yards a game on the ground, seventh best in the nation. Oklahoma averages 38.9 points, 10th in the nation, and 480.5 yards in total offense (19th). Clemson allows 17.6 points a game, the seventh-best scoring defense nationally.
Players to watch: After losing freshman standout QB Deshaun Watson for the season with a torn left ACL, Clemson will need a solid game from Cole Stoudt. The senior is more than capable, throwing for 1,573 yards and six touchdowns in six appearances in 2014. Oklahoma sophomore RB Samaje Perine is ranked fifth in the nation with 21 rushing touchdowns and eighth with 1,579 rushing yards. That includes an FBS-record 427 rushing yards against Kansas.
Matchup: Texas (6-6) vs. Arkansas (6-6), at Houston, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
Line: Arkansas by 61/2
Series record: Texas leads 56-21.
What’s at stake: The game renews an old Southwest Conference rivalry. These teams played 60 straight years before the Razorbacks joined the SEC after the 1991 season. The Longhorns have won the last two games, including a 52-10 victory in the last meeting in 2008.
Key matchup: The Arkansas offensive line vs. the Texas defensive line. The starters on the Arkansas offensive line weigh 1,642 pounds combined, more than any in the NFL. They’ve allowed just 13 sacks this season, second in the SEC and tied for 11th in the nation. Texas tied for seventh in the country with 39 sacks, led by Malcolm Brown, who has 61/2.
Players to watch: Senior WR John Harris leads Texas with 64 catches for 1,015 yards and seven touchdowns. His 1,015 yards receiving are the eighth-most in school history. Harris, who had just nine career catches before this season, has averaged 84.6 yards receiving a game, which is fifth in the Big 12. Arkansas RBs Jonathan Williams (1,085) and Alex Collins (1,024) are the only teammates to each rush for more than 1,000 yards in the FBS this season. It is the second time two players on a team coached by Bret Bielema have accomplished the feat after James White and John Clay both did it at Wisconsin in 2010. Collins has 12 touchdown runs and Williams has 11, which are career highs for both players.