College Football Bowl Preview: Nebraska Vs Washington In The Holiday Bowl & More
There are four bowl games on the schedule for Thursday December 30.
The festivities kick off around noon eastern time when Army and SMU collide in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.
Shortly after that it's a Big 12 vs Big East showdown when Kansas State battles Syracuse in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Kick off is scheduled for 3:20 eastern time.
The evening game features North Carolina and Tennessee in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee.
Finally, the night cap will see 10-3 Nebraska vs a .500 Washington Huskies team in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl. Arguably the day's most tantalizing match up.
All games can be seen on ESPN throughout the day as well as on ESPN3 on your computer. Continue on for some breakdown and predictions for today's bowl games.
Bell Holicopter Armed Forces Bowl
The Armed Forces Bowl kicks off from Dallas, Texas this afternoon with Army and SMU looking to finish 2010 on a positive note.
Both teams arrive with similar records. Army, 6-6, lost to Navy in their last outing, and SMU, 7-6, went 6-2 in conference this season.
Both teams are evenly matched which should provide for an excellent game.
The Black Knights have come into Thursday's match up with the 10th ranked rushing offense in the nation but also on a two game losing streak.
Their defense is middle of the pack statistically, allowing just over 25 points per contest in 2010.
Watch for sophomore Jared Hassin to make an impact for Army this afternoon. The running back has over 900 yards on the ground as well as nine rushing touchdowns this season.
Southern Methodist University
The Mustangs are coming off of a disappointing 10-point loss to UCF in the Conference USA championship game in which they could only muster up seven points.
Undoubtedly, the strength of SMU's offense lays in it's passing attack. The Mustangs rank 22nd in the nation in yards through the air with just over 273 per game.
Quarterback Kyle Padron will be a critical player in SMU's success today. The sophomore signal caller has thrown for over 3,500 yards this season and an astounding 29 touchdowns.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
The New Era Pinstripe Bowl will be held at Yankee Stadium this year. Kansas State's players enjoy a free trip to New York City while the Syracuse Orange don't even have to leave the state.
Both teams are finishing up solid seasons, however the Wildcats might like to forget their 2010 conference season. Kansas State went just 3-5 in the Big 12 while winning all four of it's non-conference games.
Syracuse may have more of a crowd in the Bronx this afternoon, but Kansas State should prove the better team on the field.
Prediction: Kansas State
The Orange competed well in the Big East this season, going 4-3 in conference and qualifying for a bowl game.
Syracuse doesn't stand out in one area particularly. Statistically they are not threatening on the surface, but underneath the national rankings running back Delone Carter tells a different tale.
The 23 year-old senior back rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2010 and averages over five yards per carry for the Orange.
Watch for Carter to make an impact today.
The Wildcats began the season 4-0 and in prime position to compete for the Big 12 crown. However Kansas State lost five of it's next seven games to drop to 6-5 before beating North Texas in the regular season finale.
Kansas State's rushing attack is likely their best weapon today vs Syracuse. The Wildcats rank 20th in the nation in rushing offense averaging over 200 yards on the ground per game.
Senior back Daniel Thomas has had a monster season behind Kansas State's big offensive line while rushing for nearly 1,500 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2010.
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
The Music City Bowl held in Nashville, Tennessee every December will feature two southern teams in North Carolina and of course Tennessee.
Both teams struggled this season, especially the Tar Heels who lost early to LSU while missing several key players due to suspension.
Tennessee enters today's match up at .500 with a losing record in conference. Both programs have much pride and the game should be a solid watch.
Prediction: North Carolina
The Tar Heels kicked off 2010 on the wrong foot by losing two straight games by an identical score of 30-24 to LSU and Georgia Tech respectively.
After that though they ripped off four straight wins which in turn changed their season for the better.
The nation's 25th ranked passing attack will be on display at LP Field this evening when senior T.J. Yates brings with him his 148.78 quarterback rating.
Yates has thrown for over 9,000 yards in his career as well as 57 touchdowns.
The Volunteers did well after dealing with the exodus of head coach Lane Kiffin this off-season. Tennessee began the season just 2-6 but rallied to finish at .500 winning four straight, including road wins over Memphis and Vanderbilt.
The Volunteers' passing attack is likely their biggest weapon in today's matchup. Two quarterbacks have thrown for over 1,400 yards this season for Tennessee.
Not to mention there are eight receivers on Tennessee's roster with at least 10 or more catches. At least seven have over 100 yards receiving and at least one touchdown.
Running back Tauren Poole will be someone to watch in Orange. The junior back is averaging over five yards per carry in 2010.
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl
The Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl is likely the day's best match up.
Not only does it feature a potential first round quarterback in April's NFL draft in Jake Locker, but it also features a future Heisman candidate in Nebraska's Taylor Martinez.
Nebraska is coming off an excellent season in which they won 10 games. But the Cornhuskers came up short against Big 12 champ Oklahoma in the conference title game earlier this month.
The Huskies won't have to travel too far for this one as the game will be held at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.
The weather should be excellent and the game should be even better.
The Cornhuskers had a brilliant 2010 season led by freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez who quickly emerged as a potential Heisman candidate early in the season before battling several injuries mid-season.
In Nebraska's three losses they lost by a combined 13 points, including a three-point loss to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship game which would have landed the Cornhuskers in the Fiesta Bowl.
Perhaps the biggest game breaker in tonight's match up will be Taylor Martinez.
The freshman ran for over 900 yards and 12 TD's this season while throwing for over 1,500 yards and nine touchdowns.
The Huskies began 2010 at 3-6 before hitting a three game winning streak that brought them to .500 and made them bowl eligible.
The Huskies offense isn't spectacular but their big name quarterback is. Jake Locker is expected to be drafted somewhat early this spring in the 2011 NFL draft.
Locker was not quite as stellar last season however. The senior threw for just 2,200 yards and 17 scores in 2010. He did also have 300 yards on the ground and five rushing touchdowns though.
Locker will certainly have an audience on Thursday night so expect to see a solid performance from him and his Washington teammates in a losing effort.
Patrick Clarke is a student at Towson University and a writing intern for Bleacher Report.