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Boise State vs. Texas-El Paso

WHEN/WHERE: 1:30 today; Boise, Idaho.


RECORDS: Boise State 9-2, Texas-El Paso 8-3.

COACHES: Boise State _ Dirk Koetter (25-10, third season). Texas-El Paso _ Gary Nord (first season).

LINE: Boise State by 7.

NOTES: The Broncos are playing on their home field, where they have won 12 straight while averaging 47.2 points. Boise State bids farewell to Koetter, who is headed for Arizona State. The game should be a terrific showcase for QBs. The Broncos' Bart Hendricks led the nation in passing efficiency and had 3,364 yards, 35 TDs, 8 INTs and a 60.4 completion percentage. The Miners counter with Rocky Perez, who was eighth in the nation in passing efficiency and had 2,661 yards, 26 TDs and 6 INTs. The outcome likely hinges on the matchup of Boise State's offense (led nation in scoring at 44.9, second in total offense at 496.2) against the Miners defense (19th in nation against pass, 46.0 pct. completions given up, 14 TDs, 14 INTs).


vs. Mississippi

WHEN/WHERE: 4 today; Nashville, Tenn.


RECORDS: West Virginia 6-5, Mississippi 7-4.

COACHES: West Virginia _ Don Nehlen (148-93-4, 21st season). Mississippi _ David Cutcliffe (16-8, second season).

LINE: Mississippi by 3{.

NOTES: The game marks Nehlen's farewell after 35 years in coaching. Since 1987, West Virginia has lost eight straight bowl games under Nehlen while yielding 31.2 points per loss. Mountaineers QB Brad Lewis (1,501 passing, 8 TDs, 7 INTs) faces a challenge getting ball to WRs Antonio Brown (45 catches) and Khori Ivy (41 catches, 5 TDs) against a tough Rebels secondary (ninth in nation against pass, 18 INTs, 9 TDs given up). Mississippi, looking for its fifth straight bowl win, will take a different route against a so-so front seven (53rd in nation against run, 146.5, 19 TD runs), pounding RBs Deuce McAllister (767 yards rushing, led SEC with 17 TDs) and Joe Gunn (382 yards rushing).


N.C. State

WHEN/WHERE: 7 tonight; Miami.


RECORDS: Minnesota 6-5, N.C. State 7-4.

COACHES: Minnesota _ Glen Mason (21-24, fourth season). N.C. State _ Chuck Amato (first season).

LINE: Minnesota by 3.

NOTES: Since Oct. 14, the teams are a combined 3-6 and have allowed 35.4 points per game each. Look for a high-scoring affair as the teams combined to average 62.4 points. Minnesota, in search of its first bowl win since 1985, is led by WR Ron Johnson (59 catches, 18.1 per catch, 11 TDs), RB Tellis Redmon (1,122 yards rushing, 6 TDs, 29 catches), QB Travis Cole (1,780 yards passing, 11 TDs, 5 INTs) and K Dan Nystrom (22 FGs). But defense will miss its leading tackler, S Delvin Jones, who was suspended. The Wolfpack's potent offense is led by freshman QB Phillip Rivers (3,054 yards passing, 25 TDs, 10 INTs), WRs Koren Robinson (62 catches, 11 TDs) and Eric Leak (32 catches) and RB Ray Robinson (788 yards rushing, 7 TDs, 41 catches).


vs. Pittsburgh

WHEN/WHERE: 7:30 tonight; Phoenix.


RECORDS: Iowa State 8-3, Pittsburgh 7-4.

COACHES: Iowa State _ Dan McCarney (21-43, sixth season). Pittsburgh _ Walt Harris (20-25, fourth season).

LINE: Pittsburgh by 1{.

NOTES: Iowa State is chasing its first nine-win season since 1906. The Cyclones' tough ground game features RB Ennis Haywood (10th in nation with 1,237 rushing, 7 TDs) and is balanced by QB Sage Rosenfelds (2,678 yards total offense, 8 TD passes, 10 TD runs, 12 INTs), who was sacked only seven times. DE Reggie Hayward (90 tackles, 7 sacks) and DT James Reed anchor defense. Pittsburgh's multiple offense is triggered by QB John Turman (2,135 yards passing, 18 TDs, 7 INTs), All-America WR Antonio Bryant (68 catches, Big East-record 1,302 yards receiving, 11 TDs) and RB Kevan Barlow (career-high 272 yards rushing and 4 TDs vs. West Virginia). Its defense (led Big East with 35 sacks) showcases DE Bryan Knight (Big East-record 26 tackles for loss).

_ Compiled by Scripps Howard.