Wednesday’s college bowl game previews
Auburn (6-6) vs. Memphis (9-3)
Kickoff: 12 noon, Legion Field, Birmingham, Ala.
Line: Auburn by 3
Series record: Memphis leads 2-0
What’s at stake: Auburn is trying to avoid finishing with a losing record two years after making the national championship game. Memphis can reach double-digit wins.
Key matchup: Auburn’s defense against the Memphis passing game led by QB Paxton Lynch, a potential No. 1 NFL draft pick. Auburn ranks 73rd nationally against the pass, giving up 232.2 yards a game through the air.
Players to watch: Memphis — Lynch has passed for a school-record 3,670 yards and 28 TDs with just three interceptions. He accounted for seven TDs to match an NCAA bowl record in last season’s Miami Beach Bowl. Auburn — RB Jovon Robinson (513 yards) became the offense’s best weapon late in the season, helping make up for the season-long shaky play at quarterback.
North Carolina State (7-5) vs. Mississippi State (8-4)
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m., Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C.
Line: Mississippi State by 7
Series record: North Carolina State leads 3-2
What’s at stake: Mississippi State hopes to send senior QB Dak Prescott out a winner in his final game after losing to rival Ole Miss, 38-27, in the regular-season finale. N.C. State looks for its best win of the season.
Key matchup: North Carolina State QB Jacoby Brissett vs. Mississippi State defense. Brissett has thrown for 2,448 yards and 19 TDs with just four INTs this year. He has the ability to improvise and keep plays alive with his feet.
Players to watch: North Carolina State — TE/RB Jaylen Samuels leads the Wolfpack with seven TD catches and has also run for 315 yards and seven TDs. He is averaging 5.9 yards per carry. Mississippi State — QB Dak Prescott does it all, throwing for 3,413 yards and 25 TDs while rushing for 541 yards and a team-high 10 TDs.
Texas A&M (8-4) vs. Louisville (7-5)
Kickoff: 7 p.m., Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tenn.
Line: Louisville by 4
Series record: Texas A&M 3-0
What’s at stake: Louisville is looking for its third win in the last four bowls and to give coach Bobby Petrino his 100th career victory. Texas A&M is trying to send home a second straight senior class with four straight bowl victories.
Key matchup: Louisville’s defense allows just 323.4 yards per game and led the ACC with 16 INTs. Christian Kirk is 75 yards shy of joining Mike Evans as the only Aggies wide receivers with 1,000 yards receiving as freshmen.
Players to watch: Louisville — Freshman QB Lamar Jackson ran for a school-record 734 yards and scored nine TDs, and has thrown for 1,613 yards with 10 TDs and eight INTs. Texas A&M — Sophomore QB Jake Hubenak was 12-of-27 for 92 yards and a TD in five games this season and is making his first start.
No. 23 Wisconsin (9-3) vs. USC (8-5)
Kickoff: 10:30 p.m., Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego
Line: USC by 3-1/2
Series record: USC leads 6-0
What’s at stake: The Trojans are in the Holiday Bowl for the second straight year while the Badgers are making their first trip to the bowl. USC won a pair of Rose Bowls against Wisconsin in 1953 and ’63.
Key matchup: Wisconsin’s defense, which leads in the nation in allowing only 13.1 points per game, against a Trojans offense loaded with offensive stars.
Players to watch: Wisconsin — OLB Joe Schobert was named second-team AP All-American after amassing 9-1/2 sacks, five forced fumbles and 18-1/2 tackles for loss. USC — QB Cody Kessler was 2014 Holiday Bowl Offensive MVP after throwing for 321 yards and three TDs in 45-42 victory against Nebraska. In 2015, he threw for 3,315 yards and 28 TDs.