Wednesday's bowl previews
Matchup: No. 6 TCU (11-1) vs. No. 9 Mississippi (9-3)
Kickoff: 12:30 p.m., Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Line: TCU by 3.5
What's at stake: TCU will look for its fifth win against a ranked opponent, including its third against a top 10 team. The Horned Frogs want to make a point after getting left out of the inaugural four-team national playoff. Ole Miss, which snapped a three-game losing streak by beating Mississippi State to close the regular season, is looking to finish with a top-10 ranking.
Key matchup: Ole Miss defense vs. TCU QB Trevone Boykin. The Rebels have the nation's top scoring defense, allowing only 13.8 points per game. Led by Boykin, who finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting, TCU ranks second in the nation with 46.8 points per game. Boykin averages 309.5 yards passing per game.
Players to watch: TCU senior LB Paul Dawson has 128 tackles, five sacks and four interceptions. No other player in the nation has at least 100 tackles with as many sacks and interceptions. Ole Miss senior CB Senquez Golson leads the Southeastern Conference and ranks second nationally with nine interceptions. Golson, a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy given to the nation's top defensive player, had an interception in the end zone to protect the Rebels' 23-17 win over Alabama.
Matchup: No. 21 Boise State (11-2) vs. No. 12 Arizona (10-3)
Kickoff: 4 p.m., University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.
Line: Arizona by 3
What's at stake: Boise State is looking for another attention-grabbing win in the Fiesta Bowl — like in 2007 and 2010 — to cap a successful first season under coach Bryan Harsin. Arizona wants to shake off its disappointing loss to Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship game and win an upper-tier bowl for the first time since beating Miami in the 1994 Fiesta Bowl.
Key matchup: Boise State RB Jay Ajayi vs. Arizona LB Scooby Wright. Ajayi, playing his last game before heading to the NFL, tied for the national lead in scoring with 13.4 points per game and is the cog that makes the Broncos' offense go. Wright has a similar distinction for Arizona's defense after earning All-America honors and numerous national awards. Expect them to collide a lot.
Players to watch: Boise State QB Grant Hedrick led the nation by completing 70 percent of his passes, but also threw 13 interceptions. He'll need to be sharp to help take some of the pressure off Ajayi. Arizona QB Anu Solomon, a redshirt freshman, had a superb season after winning a four-way battle coming out of fall camp. Solomon threw for 3,458 yards and 27 touchdowns, including a Hail Mary to Austin Hill to beat California, with seven interceptions.
Matchup: No. 10 Georgia Tech (10-3) vs. No. 8 Mississippi State (10-2)
Kickoff: 8 p.m., Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
Line: Mississippi State by 7
What's at stake: Mississippi State is looking for the first 11-win season in school history, a major rallying cry for the team that spent much of the season in position for a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff. Georgia Tech is also looking for an 11-win season that would basically assure the ACC runners-up of finishing in the Top 10 of the national polls.
Key matchup: Georgia Tech QB Justin Thomas vs. Mississippi State DE Preston Smith. Thomas is obviously a two-way threat in Georgia Tech's triple option offense. Smith is almost certainly going to get put on the ground by Tech's offensive line, and how fast he gets back up in an effort to thwart plays is critical.
Players to watch: Georgia Tech RB Synjyn Days scored three touchdowns in the ACC championship game against Florida State, and if has another big night in a big game, Tech's chances will soar. … LB P.J. Davis has been a breakout player in 2014 for the Yellow Jackets, with more than 100 tackles and evolving into a true leader. Mississippi State RB Josh Robinson has run for 1,128 yards and rarely gets caught on a negative play. … QB Dak Prescott is on the cusp of becoming the first Mississippi State player with 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a season. … DT Kaleb Eulls will start his 52nd straight game, almost unheard of in the college game.