New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Rutgers vs. Notre Dame
11 a.m. Saturday, Yankee Stadium, New York City.
Records: Rutgers 6-6, 3-5 American Athletic Conference; Notre Dame 8-4
Key points: The Pinstripe Bowl against a .500 Rutgers team is a far fall for Notre Dame, which lost in the BCS National Championship game last season. Tommy Rees took over at quarterback for the Fighting Irish this season after Everett Golson was suspended for academic misconduct. Rees has thrown for nearly 3,000 yards and 27 touchdowns, but he also has 13 interceptions, including two late against Stanford in a 27-20 loss to end the season. Rutgers beat Arkansas and SMU in overtime to reach 4-1 to start the season but lost five of its next six games before beating South Florida in its final game to become bowl eligible.
Cincinnati vs. North Carolina
2:20 p.m. Saturday, Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte
Records: Cincinnati 9-2, 6-2 AAC; North Carolina 6-6, 4-4 ACC
Key points: Cincinnati has lost both of its previous meetings with North Carolina, but the teams haven’t played since 1991. The Bearcats aren’t strangers to Charlotte, however. Cincinnati defeated Duke 48-34 in last year’s Belk Bowl. The Bearcats are trying to reach 10 wins for a third straight year, but they will have to get past a hot North Carolina team that won five of its final six games to earn a spot in the postseason. Junior tight end Eric Ebron, a Mackey Award finalist, is North Carolina’s top offensive player. He has 55 catches for 895 yards and three touchdowns. Cincinnati quarterback Brendon Kay will be looking for senior reciever Anthony McClung, who has 68 catches for 908 yards and five touchdowns this year.
Tarrant ties: North Carolina sophomore defensive lineman Jessie Rogers (Arlington Bowie) has played in 11 games on defense and special teams and has five tackles.
Russell Athletic Bowl
Miami vs. No. 18 Louisville
5:45 p.m. Saturday, Citrus Bowl Stadium, Orlando, Fla.
Records: Miami 9-3, 5-3 ACC; Louisville 11-1, 7-1 AAC
Key points: If it weren’t for a 38-35 loss to UCF in the middle of the season, it would be Louisville playing the role of BCS buster instead of the Knights. But the Cardinals still drew a great matchup. Miami may not be ranked, but the Hurricanes spent much of the season high in the polls before a three-loss skid in November. Miami lost to Florida State, Virginia Tech and Duke before rebounding to beat Virginia and Pitt to end the season. The spotlight will be on Louisville junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater, an early-season Heisman candidate who is from Miami, has 3,523 passing yards and 28 touchdowns to just four interceptions and could be a top NFL prospect if he decides to leave college a year early. Louisville’s defense, third in the nation in points allowed with just 12.4 a game, will try to slow down Miami’s offense, which averages 35.9 points a game. The Hurricanes are trying to claim their first bowl win since 2006 (Miami had a self-imposed bowl ban the past two seasons).
Tarrant ties: Miami senior defensive back Kacy Rodgers II, from Southlake Carroll, has played in 11 games with 18 tackles, a forced fumble and an interception.
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
Michigan vs. Kansas State
9:15 p.m. Saturday, Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Ariz.
Records: Michigan 7-5, 3-5 Big Ten; Kansas State 7-5, 5-4 Big 12
Key points: After a 24-21 loss to North Dakota State in its first game and a 2-4 season start, Kansas State was able to rebound and find its way into a solid bowl matchup against Michigan. The Wildcats put together a four-game winning streak and finished 5-1 in its final six. Michigan had an opposite season arc, winning its first five, including a 41-30 statement against Notre Dame, but then lost five of its final seven starting with a 43-40, triple-overtime loss at Penn State. Michigan will go with a new quarterback; freshman Shane Morris will make his first career start against Kansas State. Michigan’s Devin Gardner, who started all season, injured his foot against Ohio State and has been ruled out for this game. Kansas State and Michigan have never played, and the Wildcats hope to get their first bowl win since 2002.
Tarrant ties: Kansas State’s Nate Guidry Jr. (Fort Worth Arlington Heights), Will Davis (Southlake Carroll), LeAndrew Gordon (Pantego Christian Academy), Demonte Hood (Arlington Bowie), Michael Mann (Aledo), and Steven West (Keller Fossil Ridge) all played high school football in the Fort Worth area. Michigan sophomore quarterback Russell Bellomy attended Arlington Martin.
— Brent Shirley