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Bowl viewer's guide: Previewing Wednesday's CFB action


College Football 24/7 is providing a daily glimpse at the best players in each bowl game and predictions from writers Gil Brandt, Bucky Brooks, Daniel Jeremiah, Bryan Fischer, Chase Goodbread and Mike Huguenin.


Site: Atlanta
Date: Dec. 31
Time/TV: 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Matchup: Ole Miss (9-3) vs. TCU (11-1)
NFL teams attending:Buffalo Bills, New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins, Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens
Top players to watch: Ole Miss (CB Senquez Golson, DB Cody Prewitt, LB C.J. Johnson, OL Laremy Tunsil, TE Evan Engram); TCU (QB Trevone Boykin, DB Sam Carter, CB Kevin White, WR Josh Doctson).
Why NFL fans should tune in: Boykin is an exciting playmaker who figures to be a 2015 Heisman candidate, but he will face a nasty Rebels defense that gave up an FBS-low 18 touchdowns on the year and an FBS-low 13.8 points per game. NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt compared Boykin to Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson earlier this year. ... When Ole Miss has the ball, Carter and Engram should prove to be a fun matchup; the Doctson-Golson matchup when Boykin looks to pass should be entertaining on TCU possessions. ... The best NFL prospect on the field could be Ole Miss left tackle Laremy Tunsil, even though he's only a sophomore. Tunsil has allowed just two sacks in two years as a starter, and just a month into his second season, two NFL personnel executives identified him as the best prospect in the state of Mississippi. ... Rebels safety Cody Prewitt is an outstanding old-school safety as a hard-hitter in run support. He roams the field well in zone coverage but can struggle in man-to-man situations. ... As much as any bowl game this year, pro- and anti-SEC fans will watch this one closely as an indication of how TCU, which narrowly missed a playoff berth, measures up with the SEC West's third-ranked team.
Game predictions:
Brandt: TCU, 21-20
Brooks: TCU, 24-20
Jeremiah: Ole Miss, 28-24
Fischer: TCU, 33-28
Goodbread: Ole Miss, 31-27
Huguenin: TCU, 27-21

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Site: Phoenix
Date: Dec. 31
Time/TV: 4 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Boise State (11-2) vs. Arizona (10-3)
NFL teams attending:Buffalo Bills, San Diego Chargers, Carolina Panthers
Top players to watch: Boise State (RB Jay Ajayi, LB Corey Bell, QB Grant Hedrick); Arizona (LB Scooby Wright III, QB Anu Solomon, RB Nick Wilson, OL Mickey Baucus, OL Fabian Ebbele, LB Tra'Mayne Boundurant, WR Austin Hill, LB Jared Tevis, CB Jon McKnight).
Why NFL fans should tune in: Though some might think this is the least attractive matchup of the New Year's Six bowl games, it might present some of the most intriguing matchups of the bowl season while delivering plenty of excitement from two high-flying offense that don't mind a trick play or three. The marquee duel is Wildcats linebacker Scooby Wright III, who won just about every major defensive trophy this season, trying to contain Broncos tailback Jay Ajayi. Each has shown the ability to make plays from sideline to sideline, and both should have plenty of opportunities to make a play against each other. Wright's teammate, freshman Nick Wilson, is an equally talented runner who is worth watching simply because he's able to break out a big run any time he has the ball in his hands. Toss in the most accurate quarterback in the country this season, Boise State's Grant Hedrick, against Arizona's all-purpose wonder, Anu Solomon, and the signal-callers provide threats to score from all over, too. Don't sleep on the Wildcats' receiving corps either, with stars such as Austin Hill, Cayleb Jones and even Trey Griffey flashing enough talent to play on Sundays down the road.
Game predictions:
Brandt: Arizona, 37-30
Brooks: Boise State, 27-24
Jeremiah: Arizona, 28-24
Fischer: Arizona, 42-31
Goodbread: Boise State, 35-30
Huguenin: Arizona, 40-31


Site: Miami
Date: Dec. 31
Time/TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Matchup: Georgia Tech (10-3) vs. Mississippi State (10-2)
NFL teams attending:San Diego Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans, Oakland Raiders, Indianapolis Colts
Top players to watch: Georgia Tech (QB Justin Thomas, DB Isaiah Johnson, LB Quayshawn Nealy, WR Darren Waller); Mississippi State (QB Dak Prescott, LB Benardrick McKinney, RB Josh Robinson, DL Preston Smith, CB Jamerson Love).
Why NFL fans should tune in: All indications are that the junior McKinney will turn pro soon after this game. Georgia Tech's triple-option offense will be cut-blocking McKinney all night, so he probably won't take kindly to the Yellow Jackets offensive line playing around his knees in what could be his last college game. That could either fire McKinney up in a big performance, or it could put him in a shell mentally. Georgia Tech's already suspect passing attack is in real trouble without its top receiver, the injured DeAndre Smelter. MSU's defensive front will stack the box with eight men all night, but it will still need solid run support from its cornerbacks against the pitch man on the option. ... It could also be the final college game for MSU QB Prescott and RB Robinson, but both are more likely to return than McKinney. Georgia Tech's Nealy and Johnson, the Yellow Jackets' top two defenders, will have their hands full dealing with both. Georgia Tech's defense has struggled all season, so expect nothing different against a Bulldogs offense that has two dangerous wide receivers in Jameon Lewis and De'Runnya Wilson, along with a dual-threat in Prescott taking the snaps.
Game predictions:
Brandt: Mississippi State, 35-20
Brooks: Mississippi State, 27-25
Jeremiah: Mississippi State, 21-17
Fischer: Mississippi State, 30-27
Goodbread: Mississippi State, 27-21
Huguenin: Mississippi State, 27-24

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