College football bowls: What to know about the games in the state of Texas

Steve Marcus/AP

Bowl games in the state of Texas:

Cotton Bowl

Tulane (11-2) vs Southern California (11-2)

Jan. 2, Noon

LOCATION: Arlington, Texas

TOP PLAYERS

Tulane: RB Tyjae Spears, 1,376 yards rushing, 15 touchdowns.

Southern California: QB Caleb Williams, 4,075 yards passing, 37 touchdowns, 4 interceptions; 372 yards rushing, 10 touchdowns.

NOTABLE

Tulane: The Green Wave won the American Athletic Conference title Saturday by beating UCF 45-28. Went from 2-10 last season to first 10-win season and national ranking since 1998, matching FBS record for largest year-to-year improvement.

Southern California: With chance to get in the four-team College Football Playoff, the Trojans lost 47-24 to Utah in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night. The Trojans have already matched their largest win increase between seasons, from 4-8 last year to 11-2 in coach Lincoln Riley’s first season.

LAST TIME

Southern California 20, Tulane 13, Dec. 21, 1946.

BOWL HISTORY

Tulane: First appearance in Cotton Bowl, 15th bowl game in school history.

Southern California: Third appearance in Cotton Bowl, 56th bowl game in school history.

Frisco Bowl

Boise State (9-4) vs. North Texas (7-6)

Dec. 17, 8:15 p.m.

TOP PLAYERS

Boise State: QB Taylen Green is Mountain West freshman of the year, 1,905 yards passing, 13 TD passes, 467 yards rushing, eight rushing TDs.

North Texas: QB Austin Aune, 3,309 yards passing, 15.4 yards per completion leads nation, school-record 32 TD passes.

NOTABLE

Boise State: The Broncos were 8-0 in Mountain West play but lost 28-16 to Fresno State in the conference championship game.

North Texas: The Mean Green lost 48-27 to UTSA in the C-USA championship game.

LAST TIME

Boise State 59, North Texas 0 (Oct. 21, 2000)

BOWL HISTORY

Boise State: Broncos are 12-7 in bowls and playing in the Frisco Bowl for the first time.

North Texas: Mean Green are 2-10 in bowls and in the Frisco Bowl for the first time after playing in the Frisco Classic last season.

Armed Forces Bowl

Air Force (9-3) vs. Baylor (6-6)

Dec. 22, 6:30 p.m., ESPN

LOCATION: Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas

TOP PLAYERS

Air Force: RB Brad Roberts, school-record 1,612 yards rushing, 134.3 yards per game, 15 TDs, went for at least 100 yards in 10 games.

Baylor: RB Richard Reese, Big 12 offensive freshman of the year, school freshman-record 962 yards rushing, 14 rushing TDs rank second among FBS freshmen.

NOTABLE

Air Force: Roberts carried 35 times for a career-high 187 yards in regular-season finale against San Diego State, Falcons are on a four-game win streak.

Baylor: Bears finished regular season with three straight losses, all against ranked opponents.

LAST TIME

Baylor 38, Air Force 7, Oct. 22, 1977.

BOWL HISTORY

Air Force: Falcons are 14-13-1 in bowls, including 1-4 in the Armed Forces Bowl.

Baylor: Bears are 14-12 in bowl games; in a bowl for the 11th time since 2011, first time in Armed Forces Bowl.

First Responder Bowl

Utah State (6-6) vs. Memphis (6-6)

Dec. 27, 2:15 p.m., ESPN

LOCATION: Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas

TOP PLAYERS

Utah State: WR Brian Cobbs, 70 catches ranks in school’s single-season top 10, 844 yards, 4 TDs.

Memphis: S Quindell Johnson, conference-leading 4 interceptions, 4 pass breakups, 73 tackles.

NOTABLE

Utah State: Aggies bounced back from a 1-4 start to get bowl-eligible for a second straight year and fifth time in a row, excluding the 2020 pandemic season.

Memphis: Tigers lost five of seven after a 4-1 start and are in a bowl for the eighth time since 2014.

LAST TIME

Memphis 31, Utah State 26, Sept. 17, 1977.

BOWL HISTORY

Utah State: Aggies have won two of their last three bowls and are 6-8 all-time, first time in the First Responder Bowl.

Memphis: Tigers are 5-8 in bowls, first time in the First Responder Bowl.

Texas Bowl

Mississippi (8-4) vs. Texas Tech (7-5)

Dec. 28, 8 p.m.

LOCATION: NRG Stadium, Houston.

TOP PLAYERS

Mississippi: RB Quinshon Judkins, school-record 1,476 yards rushing, 123 yards per game, 16 rushing TDs, 17 total TDs.

Texas Tech: DL Tyree Wilson, 14 tackles for loss leads Big 12, 7 sacks ranks third in conference.

NOTABLE

Mississippi: The Rebels come into the game off three straight losses, including a defeat to Mississippi State in which they were held to a season-low 335 total yards.

Texas Tech: The Red Raiders have won three straight, including an overtime win over Oklahoma that ended their 10-game losing streak against the Sooners.

LAST TIME

Mississippi 47, Texas Tech 27 (Sept. 1, 2018)

BOWL HISTORY

Mississippi: Rebels are in a third straight bowl, 25-15 all-time in bowls, first time in Texas Bowl.

Texas Tech: Red Raiders are in a second straight bowl, 15-23-1 all-time in bowls, third time in Texas Bowl.

Alamo Bowl

Texas (8-4) vs. No. 12 Washington (10-2)

Dec. 29, 8 p.m., ESPN

LOCATION: Alamodome, San Antonio.

TOP PLAYERS

Texas: RB Bijan Robinson, 1,580 yards with 18 touchdowns. He’s tops in Big 12 in rushing and fifth nationally.

Washington: QB Michael Penix Jr., led the country with 4,354 yards passing, also completed 66% of his throws with 29 touchdowns.

NOTABLE

Texas: The Longhorns have won three of their last four games, including a 34-27 win at eventual Big 12 champion Kansas State on Nov. 5. Three of Texas’ defeats were to ranked opponents by a total of 11 points.

Washington: The Huskies won their final six games of the regular season heading into their first bowl game since 2019.

LAST TIME

Texas 47, Washington 43, Dec. 28, 2001.

BOWL HISTORY

Texas: The Longhorns are 31-24-3 in bowl games. It’s Texas’ sixth time in the Alamo Bowl, where it has won four of its previous five meetings.

Washington: The Huskies are making their second Alamo Bowl appearance, the other a wild 67-56 loss to Baylor in 2011. Washington is 19-20-1 in bowls.

Sun Bowl

UCLA (9-3) vs. Pittsburgh (8-4)

Dec. 30, 1 p.m.

LOCATION: El Paso, Texas.

TOP PLAYERS

UCLA: QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson, 2,883 yards, 25 touchdowns passing, 631 yards, 11 touchdowns rushing.

Pittsburgh: RB Israel Abanikanda, led ACC with 1,431 yards and 20 touchdowns. Ran for 320 yards and six touchdowns in a win over Virginia Tech this season.

NOTABLE

UCLA: The Bruins are looking for their 10th win, which would match the program’s all-time mark accomplished nine previous times. UCLA is 19-13 against teams in the current ACC, beating Virginia 34-16 to start the 2015 season.

Pittsburgh: The Panthers closed the season with four straight victories. A win over UCLA would give them 20 in a two-year span, something the team last accomplished in 1981 and 1982 with Dan Marino at quarterback.

LAST TIME

UCLA 38, Pittsburgh 28, September 16, 1972.

BOWL HISTORY

UCLA: The Bruins are playing in their fifth Sun Bowl, where they’re 3-1 in past appearances. UCLA is 16-19-1 in bowl games.

Pittsburgh: The Panthers are 2-2 in their previous four trips to the Sun Bowl. Overall, they’re 14-22 in their bowl history.

Cotton Bowl

Tulane (11-2) vs Southern California (11-2)

Jan. 2, Noon

LOCATION: Arlington, Texas

TOP PLAYERS

Tulane: RB Tyjae Spears, 1,376 yards rushing, 15 touchdowns.

Southern California: QB Caleb Williams, 4,075 yards passing, 37 touchdowns, 4 interceptions; 372 yards rushing, 10 touchdowns.

NOTABLE

Tulane: The Green Wave won the American Athletic Conference title Saturday by beating UCF 45-28. Went from 2-10 last season to first 10-win season and national ranking since 1998, matching FBS record for largest year-to-year improvement.

Southern California: With chance to get in the four-team College Football Playoff, the Trojans lost 47-24 to Utah in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night. The Trojans have already matched their largest win increase between seasons, from 4-8 last year to 11-2 in coach Lincoln Riley’s first season.

LAST TIME

Southern California 20, Tulane 13, Dec. 21, 1946.

BOWL HISTORY

Tulane: First appearance in Cotton Bowl, 15th bowl game in school history.

Southern California: Third appearance in Cotton Bowl, 56th bowl game in school history.

Other bowls involving teams from state of Texas:

New Mexico Bowl

BYU (7-5) vs. SMU (7-5)

Dec. 17, 1:15 p.m.

LOCATION: Albuquerque, New Mexico

TOP PLAYERS

BYU: QB Jaren Hall. Has thrown for 3,171 yards and 31 touchdowns with six interceptions. Also has run for three scores.

SMU: WR Rashee Rice. Has 96 catches for 1,355 yards and 10 touchdowns. His 112.9 yards receiving per game leads the Bowl Subdivision ranks.

NOTABLE

BYU: The Cougars closed the regular season with three straight wins to become bowl eligible after a four-game losing streak through October.

SMU: The Mustangs’ last two bowl bids resulted in games that weren’t played. SMU was unable to play in the Frisco Bowl in 2020 due to COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, while Fenway Bowl opponent Virginia was unable to play last year’s game due to COVID-19 cases on its roster.

LAST TIME

BYU 19, SMU 16, OT (Sept. 27, 1997)

BOWL HISTORY

BYU: Second appearance in the New Mexico Bowl, fifth straight postseason appearance and 40th overall.

SMU: First appearance in the New Mexico Bowl, fourth straight season with a bowl invitation and 20th overall.

Lending Tree Bowl

Southern Miss (6-6) vs Rice (5-7)

Dec. 17, 4:45 p.m., ESPN

LOCATION: Mobile, Alabama

TOP PLAYERS

Southern Miss: RB Frank Gore Jr., 1,053 yards rushing, seven TDs; 19 catches, 219 yards; 172 yards passing, two TDs.

Rice: LB Josh Pearcy, 43 tackles, 8 1/2 tackles for loss, 5 1/2 sacks.

NOTABLE

The two teams split the first 12 meetings as former Conference USA opponents. Rice lost its final three games but earned a bowl spot because of its Academic Progress Rate scores.

LAST TIME

Rice 24, Southern Miss 19, Oct. 2, 2021.

BOWL HISTORY

Southern Miss: Third time in a Mobile bowl; 11-15 in bowl games

Rice: 7-5 in bowl games, first appearance since 2014.

Independence Bowl

Louisiana (6-6) vs Houston (7-5)

Dec. 23, 2 p.m.

LOCATION: Shreveport, La.

TOP PLAYERS

Louisiana: Michael Jefferson caught 51 passes for 810 yards with seven touchdowns.

Houston: QB Clayton Tune is tied for the national lead in passing touchdowns (37). He is second in points responsible per game (21.5), third in total offense (361.2) and fifth in passing yards (3,845) and completions per game (26.33).

NOTABLE

Louisiana: The Ragin’ Cajuns became bowl eligible with a 41-13 victory against Texas State in their regular season finale.

Houston: Clayton Tune completed 26 of 47 passes for 386 yards with one interception, but the Cougars lost 37-30 to Tulsa in their regular season finale.

LAST TIME

Louisiana won 31-28 in 2006.

BOWL HISTORY

Louisiana: The Ragin’ Cajuns are making their fifth consecutive bowl appearance and 12th overall.

Houston: The Cougars are competing in their 15th bowl game in the last 18 seasons – and 30th overall. It’s the most bowl games for a school from Texas in that span.