WEDNESDAY’S BOWL GAMES
• Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl
No. 9 Mississippi (9-3) vs. No. 6 Texas Christian (11-1)
Time: 9:30 a.m. PST. Location: Atlanta. TV: ESPN.
The buzz: Mississippi won its first seven games and was in position to earn a spot in the College Football Playoff, but losses to Louisiana State, Auburn and Arkansas ended those hopes. The team’s elite defense led the nation in points allowed per game, 13.8, although it struggled some against powerful run teams, which could be a problem against a solid TCU rushing attack. Quarterback Bo Wallace delivered a strong season, passing for 3,085 yards and 22 touchdowns. TCU coach Gary Patterson earned a slew of national coach of the year awards after steering the Horned Frogs to an 11-1 record. TCU fell just short of reaching the playoff semifinals, with a 61-58 loss to Baylor on Oct. 11 haunting the Horned Frogs. Patterson has long mentored strong defensive lineups, but it was his decision to hire co-offensive coordinators Sonny Cumbie and Doug Meacham to install a high-powered offensive attack that transformed TCU into a Big 12 Conference title contender. The team ranks second nationally in scoring (46.8 points a game) and quarterback Trevone Boykin racked up 3,174 yards passing and 30 touchdowns. He also has 642 yards rushing and eight touchdowns.
• Vizio Fiesta Bowl
No. 20 Boise State (11-2) vs. No. 10 Arizona (10-3)
Time: 1 p.m. PST. Location: Glendale, Ariz. TV: ESPN.
The buzz: Boise State opened the season in a big hole after falling to Mississippi. It took the non-Power 5 program the rest of the season to put together the body of work needed to earn a spot in a top bowl game. The team closed the season on an eight-game winning streak, including a Mountain West title game victory over Fresno State. Quarterback Grant Hedrick has passed for 3,387 yards and 22 touchdowns. Tailback Jay Ajayi ran for 1,689 yards and 25 touchdowns. Arizona has won four of its last five games but is looking to bounce back from a 51-13 loss to Oregon in the Pac-12 Conference title game. Freshman quarterback Anu Solomon used the break between the title game and the bowl to recover from a right foot injury that nagged him during the season. Solomon passed for 3,458 yards and 27 touchdowns.
• Orange Bowl
No. 7 Mississippi State (10-2) vs. No. 12 Georgia Tech (10-3)
Time: 5 p.m. PST. Location: Miami. TV: ESPN.
The buzz: Mississippi State was an early contender for a College Football Playoff spot, but losses in two of the Bulldogs’ final three games pushed Coach Dan Mullen’s team to the Orange Bowl. Dual-threat quarterback Dak Prescott, who earned early Heisman buzz during the team’s surge, broken 10 season school records while passing for 2, 996 yards and 24 touchdowns and rushing for 939 yards and 13 touchdowns. The Bulldogs are going for the first 11-win season in the program’s 110-year history. Georgia Tech fought its way into the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game, a surge that helped garner Coach Paul Johnson a four-year contract extension that could keep him at the school through the 2020 season. While he’s gotten far less attention than Prescott, quarterback Justin Thomas has been the key to Georgia Tech’s success. He leads the team in passing (1,594 yards, 17 touchdowns) and rushing (965 yards, five touchdowns) while making all the key calls in the Yellow Jackets’ triple-option attack.