Previewing Wednesday's college football bowl games


Birmingham Bowl

MEMPHIS (9-3) vs. AUBURN (6-6)

When: 9 a.m. PST (ESPN). Where: Birmingham, Ala.

Line: Auburn by 3. Series: Memphis leads, 2-0.

Story line: Auburn is trying to avoid finishing with a losing record two years after making the national championship game. Memphis can reach double-digit wins and is shooting for a second victory over a Southeastern Conference team this season, having beaten Mississippi in October. Auburn's defense ranks 73rd nationally against the pass, giving up 232.2 yards a game. Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch has passed for a school-record 3,670 yards and 28 touchdowns with three interceptions. He is a potential first-round NFL draft pick and likely the best passer Auburn has faced this season.

Belk Bowl


When: 12:30 p.m. (ESPN). Where: Charlotte, N.C.

Line: Mississippi State by 6 1/2. Series: North Carolina State leads, 3-2.

Story line: Mississippi State hopes to send senior quarterback Dak Prescott out a winner in his final game. Prescott is looking to end his career on a positive note after a 38-27 loss to rival Mississippi in the regular-season finale on Nov. 28. North Carolina State is seeking its best win of the season. Wolfpack quarterback Jacoby Brissett has passed for 2,448 yards and 19 touchdowns with just four interceptions. He has the ability to improvise and keep plays alive with his feet. If he gets hot early, N.C. State has a shot at the upset.

Music City Bowl

LOUISVILLE (7-5) vs. TEXAS A&M (8-4)

When: 4 p.m. (ESPN). Where: Nashville.

Line: Louisville by 4 1/2. Series: Texas A&M leads, 3-0.

Story line: After opening the season with three losses, Louisville can finish with six wins in its final seven games and give Coach Bobby Petrino his 100th career victory. The Cardinals also are looking for their third win in their last four bowls. Texas A&M is trying to send out a second straight senior class with four straight bowl victories. Louisville has the 13th-stingiest defense in the nation, allowing 323.4 yards per game. The Cardinals led the Atlantic Coast Conference and ranked 14th nationally with 16 interceptions. For Texas A&M, Christian Kirk is averaging 14.8 yards per touch this season, and he is 75 yards shy of joining Mike Evans as the only Aggies wide receivers with 1,000 yards receiving as a freshman.

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