Monday's college football bowl games

Texas A&M will play West Virginia in what could be a high-scoring Liberty Bowl

Autozone Liberty Bowl

Texas A&M (7-5) vs. West Virginia (7-5)

Date: Dec. 29, 11 a.m. PST

Location: Memphis, Tenn.


The buzz: Two pass-heavy offenses will square off in what could be a high-scoring bowl. Texas A&M got off to a 5-0 start, including a 52-28 thrashing of South Carolina, and the accolades started pouring in for quarterback Kenny Hill. The Aggies then hit a significant road block — the bulk of the SEC West schedule. As Hill struggled, Kyle Allen was eventually called on to take over as the team's starting signal caller. The Aggies earned a 41-38 win over then-No. 3 Auburn, but closed the regular season with two losses. Texas A&M is at its best when Coach Kevin Sumlin's high-powered offense gets rolling, with the Aggies ranking No. 12 nationally in passing yards per game (306.4) despite the departure of star Johnny Manziel and the rotation of two quarterbacks. The Aggies are seeking their fourth consecutive bowl win. West Virginia will continue to lean on backup quarterback Skyler Howard, who steered the Mountaineers to a regular-season finale win over Iowa State and will start the bowl game. The school announced starter Clint Trickett was retiring because of the impact of multiple concussions. Howard passed for 285 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions during the win over Iowa State and appears to be capable of keeping the prolific offense on track. The Mountaineers were the wild card shaking up the Big 12's shot at sending a team to the College Football Playoff semifinals, toppling Baylor 41-27 on Oct. 18 and narrowly losing 31-30 to Texas Christian two weeks later. West Virginia enters the game ranked No. 9 nationally in passing yards per game (314.6), and is 1-3 in its past four bowl appearances.

Russell Athletic Bowl

No. 17 Clemson (9-3) vs. Oklahoma (8-4)

Date: Dec. 29, 2:30 p.m. PST

Location: Orlando, Fla.


The buzz: Despite a knee injury, Deshaun Watson led Clemson to its first win over rival South Carolina in six years in the season finale, and the dynamic freshman quarterback will be called upon to do more of the same against the Sooners. Watson, who has suffered three injuries since January, has thrown 14 touchdown passes while having only two passes intercepted. The Tigers also boast the best defense in the nation behind Vic Beasley and Grady Jarrett, allowing just 259.6 yards per game. Oklahoma will look to test the Tigers' defense with Samaje Perine and Sterling Shepard. Perine rushed for more than 200 yards in three games this season, while Shepard made 50 catches for 957 yards before being slowed by injury. The Sooners enter the game with the ninth-best rushing attack in the nation. Oklahoma also should get a boost from the return of quarterback Trevor Knight, who burst into the national spotlight last season with a strong performance during Oklahoma's Sugar Bowl win against Alabama. Three of the Sooners' four losses were by four points or fewer. Oklahoma has won four of its past five bowl appearances, while Clemson was won three of its past five postseason games.

Advocare V100 Texas Bowl

Arkansas (6-6) vs. Texas (6-6)

Date: Dec. 29, 6 p.m. PST

Location: Houston.


The Buzz: Two ground-and-pound teams will face off with a bowl victory and winning season on the line. Arkansas used back-to-back shutout wins over then-No. 17 Louisiana State and then-No. 8 Mississippi to clinch bowl eligibility and end a 17-game SEC losing streak. The Razorbacks relied on a mix of their punishing defense and aggressive run game to overwhelm opponents. Arkansas ranks No. 17 nationally in scoring defense, allowing 20.3 points per game. The team boasts two 1,000-yard rushers in Jonathan Williams (1,085, 11 touchdowns) and Alex Collins (1,024, 12 touchdowns). Quarterback Brandon Allen has delivered reliable change-of-pace plays, passing for 2,125 yards and 18 touchdowns. Arkansas swept its past three bowl appearances. Texas shook off a bumpy start to Charlie Strong's tenure, with the new head coach dismissing players as he worked to set the tone for the program under his watch. The Longhorns won three of their final four games to clinch bowl eligibility. The team is coming off a 48-10 loss to then-No. 5 TCU. Texas' defense has helped fuel its run to the postseason, with the team ranking No. 32 nationally in points allowed per game (23.3). The unit frustrated Texas Tech, West Virginia and Oklahoma State offenses, known for their ability to pass the ball early and often. Defensive tackle Malcolm Brown anchors the Longhorns' defense and earned first-team Associated Press All-America honors. Texas is 2-1 in its past three bowl appearances.

Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World