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Friday’s college football bowl games

TODAY’S BOWL GAMES

Meineke Bowl

CLEMSON VS. SOUTH FLORIDA

When: 9 a.m. PST.

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Where: Charlotte, N.C.

On the air: ESPN.

About Clemson (6-6): It was a season of what-could-have-beens for the Tigers, who lost four games by six points or less, including a 27-24 overtime defeat at Auburn in September. After losing its best playmakers from 2009, Clemson struggled offensively but excelled defensively. Junior end Da’Quan Bowers leads the nation with 15 sacks.

About South Florida (7-5): For Skip Holtz, any bowl invitation in his first season was a nice accomplishment. The Bulls have a stellar defense that ranked in the top 20 in the nation in points against.

Watchability: 2 out of 5 stars.

Sun Bowl

NOTRE DAME VS. MIAMI

When: 11 a.m. PST.

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Where: El Paso.

On the air: Channel 2.

About Notre Dame (7-5): The Fighting Irish were having a disappointing season that included losses to Navy and Tulsa, but got back on track to win their last three games, including against Utah and USC.

About Miami (7-5): The Hurricanes started out with grand expectations but ended with a humbling home loss against South Florida that cost coach Randy Shannon his job. The Hurricanes rank among the top 31 teams in the nation in total offense and total defense, but they suffered a blowout loss to Florida State and inexplicable defeats against Virginia and South Florida.

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Watchability: 5 out of 5 stars.

Liberty Bowl

CENTRAL FLORIDA VS. GEORGIA

When: 12:30 p.m. PST.

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Where: Memphis, Tenn.

On the air: ESPN.

About Central Florida (10-3): The Knights won the Conference USA championship for the second time in four years. Freshman Jeff Godfrey makes good decisions under pressure, ranking No. 8 in the nation in pass efficiency with a rating of 165.3. The Knights, who rank No. 12 in the nation in scoring defense, giving up 18 points per game, are going for the first bowl win in school history.

About Georgia (6-6): Coach Mark Richt started the season on the hot seat and conditions didn’t improve as the Bulldogs opened 1-4. Georgia picked up the pace in the second half of the season and earned a 42-34 win over Georgia Tech to become bowl eligible. Aaron Murray ranks No. 9 in the nation in pass efficiency with a rating of 162.7.

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Watchability: 5 out of 5 stars.

Chick-fil-A Bowl

FLORIDA STATE VS. SOUTH CAROLINA

When: 4:30 p.m. PST.

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Where: Atlanta.

On the air: ESPN.

About Florida State (9-4): First-year Coach Jimbo Fisher led the Seminoles to their most regular-season victories since 2004 and the defense showed dramatic improvement. The Seminoles lost to Virginia Tech in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game, but seem to be headed in the right direction.

About South Carolina (9-4): The Gamecocks had some big wins this year, including an upset of then-No. 1 Alabama and another over Florida, but they couldn’t hang with Auburn in the Southeastern Conference championship game.

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Watchability: 4 out of 5 stars.

—Orlando Sentinel


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