Middle Tennessee vs Appalachian State

New Orleans Bowl: Middle Tennessee’s offense collides with Appaclahian State’s stout defense

Middle Tennessee quarterback Brent Stockstill rolls out during a game against Vanderbilt on Sept. 1 in Nashville, Tenn. Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill wants his son, Brent, to go out a winner against Appalachian State in the New Orleans Bowl.

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Saturday’s R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, on the first day college bowl games are played this season, could well be a game in passing.

That is, the matchup at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome likely will come down to whether the stout defense of Sun Belt Conference champion Appalachian State (10-2) can keep in check the passing game of Conference USA runner-up Middle Tennessee State (8-5) and quarterback Brent Stockstill.

Stockstill, the C-USA MVP, passed for 3,214 yards and 28 touchdowns with just four interceptions.

“What makes our offense so good is any one of eight guys can have a big day catching the ball,” said coach Rick Stockstill, Brent’s dad and the C-USA Coach of the Year. “(Leading receiver) Ty Lee (67 receptions, 828 yards, seven touchdowns) might catch 10 passes one game and not catch that many the next game. But another guy will emerge, depending on what we’re trying to do.”

Appalachian State interim coach Mark Ivey, who coaches the Mountaineers’ defensive line, said that’s because the Blue Raiders attack from many formations, which can cause a defense to be confused.

“They move players around a lot, and they have three seniors and two juniors on the offensive line,” Ivey said. “That veteran presence on the offensive line is big. And, they have a senior quarterback who is a veteran, and he can make throws with guys hanging all over him.”

Rick Stockstill said Appalchian State’s defense presents a big challenge, however. The Mountaineers rotate defensive linemen to keep up their attack against offenses. Linebackers Akeem Davis-Gaither, Anthony Flory and Jordan Fehr are among the top tacklers in the Sun Belt, and the speedy secondary — which goes by the moniker “Legion of Boone,” named for the campus’ location in Boone, North Carolina — plays coverage with a swagger and has intercepted 15 passes.

Appalachian State ranks third nationally in pass defense, second in yards allowed per pass (5.3) and sixth in total defense.

“It starts with their front seven,” Rick Stockstill said. “You have to slow them down.”

A good running attack would help to complement Brent Stockstill, who is No. 1 among active FBS quarterbacks with 105 career touchdown passes and has completed 70.5 percent of his throws this season. Chaton Mobley leads the Blue Raiders in rushing with 579 yards. But Flory said that could be misleading.

“First of all, he is a big, strong back, a former linebacker,” Flory said. “He’s tough. Then they have six other running backs they play regularly.

“All season long, we’ve tried to take away the run and then pressure the passer. And we certainly will be looking to do that Saturday.”

New Orleans Bowl

New Orleans Bowl: Middle Tennessee’s offense collides with Appaclahian State’s stout defense

Middle Tennessee quarterback Brent Stockstill rolls out during a game against Vanderbilt on Sept. 1 in Nashville, Tenn. Middle Tennessee coach Rick Stockstill wants his son, Brent, to go out a winner against Appalachian State in the New Orleans Bowl.

New Orleans Bowl Live Stream Free

Saturday’s R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, on the first day college bowl games are played this season, could well be a game in passing.

That is, the matchup at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome likely will come down to whether the stout defense of Sun Belt Conference champion Appalachian State (10-2) can keep in check the passing game of Conference USA runner-up Middle Tennessee State (8-5) and quarterback Brent Stockstill.

Stockstill, the C-USA MVP, passed for 3,214 yards and 28 touchdowns with just four interceptions.

“What makes our offense so good is any one of eight guys can have a big day catching the ball,” said coach Rick Stockstill, Brent’s dad and the C-USA Coach of the Year. “(Leading receiver) Ty Lee (67 receptions, 828 yards, seven touchdowns) might catch 10 passes one game and not catch that many the next game. But another guy will emerge, depending on what we’re trying to do.”

Appalachian State interim coach Mark Ivey, who coaches the Mountaineers’ defensive line, said that’s because the Blue Raiders attack from many formations, which can cause a defense to be confused.

“They move players around a lot, and they have three seniors and two juniors on the offensive line,” Ivey said. “That veteran presence on the offensive line is big. And, they have a senior quarterback who is a veteran, and he can make throws with guys hanging all over him.”

Rick Stockstill said Appalchian State’s defense presents a big challenge, however. The Mountaineers rotate defensive linemen to keep up their attack against offenses. Linebackers Akeem Davis-Gaither, Anthony Flory and Jordan Fehr are among the top tacklers in the Sun Belt, and the speedy secondary — which goes by the moniker “Legion of Boone,” named for the campus’ location in Boone, North Carolina — plays coverage with a swagger and has intercepted 15 passes.

Appalachian State ranks third nationally in pass defense, second in yards allowed per pass (5.3) and sixth in total defense.

“It starts with their front seven,” Rick Stockstill said. “You have to slow them down.”

A good running attack would help to complement Brent Stockstill, who is No. 1 among active FBS quarterbacks with 105 career touchdown passes and has completed 70.5 percent of his throws this season. Chaton Mobley leads the Blue Raiders in rushing with 579 yards. But Flory said that could be misleading.

“First of all, he is a big, strong back, a former linebacker,” Flory said. “He’s tough. Then they have six other running backs they play regularly.

“All season long, we’ve tried to take away the run and then pressure the passer. And we certainly will be looking to do that Saturday.”

Georgia Southern vs Eastern Michigan

Camellia Bowl: 2019 NFL Draft prospects to watch in Georgia Southern vs. Eastern Michigan bowl game

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Teams from the two conferences that entertain the country with wild, high-scoring affairs during the week will square off in this year’s Camellia Bowl as the Sun Belt’s Georgia Southern takes on Eastern Michigan from the MAC. The game kicks at 5:30 pm EST on Saturday.

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We’re going game by game to let you know exactly who you should watch to get ready for the 2019 NFL Draft.

Sorry to interrupt your reading, but just a quick PSA here. We have a pretty amazing daily NFL podcast you may not be aware of. It’s hosted by Will Brinson and it’s all the things you’re looking for: news, fantasy, picks, really, just football stuff for football people. Subscribe: via iTunes | via Stitcher | via TuneIn | via Google 

Georgia Southern

Kindle Vildor, CB

A tenacious hitter in the secondary, Vildor has high-caliber ball skills and enough athleticism to run with receivers down the field. Mostly an outside corner at Georgia Southern, NFL teams may be interested in him playing some slot at 5-foot-11. He’s only a junior but could make the early leap to the next level after 12 pass breakups and four interceptions in 2018 after a three-pick, seven pass breakup sophomore season in 2017.

Maxx Crosby, EDGE

At 6-5 and 247 pounds, Crosby has good NFL size, but would probably want to add some weight once he starts playing on Sundays. He does have a year of eligibility left, yet he’s been very impressive in each of the last two seasons. Crosby had 11 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss in 2017 and followed up that stat line with 7.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss in 2018. He’s not stiff despite his lankier frame and knows how to deploy his long arms to keep offensive linemen off his pads. Also, his length is pretty helpful when attempting to create turnovers. Crosby has eight forced fumbles — including four in both 2017 and 2018.

Vince Calhoun, S

As another junior, we probably won’t see Calhoun in the 2019 NFL Draft, but he’s been a play-maker for Eastern Michigan this season with 77 tackles, four pass breakups, three interceptions, and two tackles for loss from the rover position in the middle of the field. He’s asked by his coaches to do a lot — lay the lumber in run support, cover the slot, sink deep in zone coverage — and he does it all very well. There could be some questions about his size, but he’s a rather compact 5-11 and 200 pounds.

NFR 2018

The National Finals Rodeo or Wrangler National Finals Rodeo is organized by the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association). This premier rodeo championship event is prearranged in the U.S. The NFR provides equal opportunity to everyone to show talent in this event.

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The event is broadcasted to over 55 million households on CBS Sports Network. The contests include bull riding, barrel racing, tie-down roping, saddle bronc riding, team roping (heelers and headers), street wrestling and bareback riding. At the end of the NFR Wrangler, the champions of the sport’s world are determined by the total earnings of each season.

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The NFR is famous similar to the Super Bowl rodeo. This championship is organized annually by PRCA. The organization established the national finals rodeo in 1958 to determine the champion of the world in every seven main events of rodeo. The first NFR was organized in 1959 in Dallas and continue through 1961 at the same venue. Between 1962 and 64, Los Angeles hosted this competition. In 1965, the first event of State Fair Arena grabbed almost 47,027 fans. The NFR was shifted to the Convention Center Myriad in 1984 and earned the revenue of dollar 8 million.

— 9 a.m.-5 p.m.: Junior NFR presented by YETI. Las Vegas Convention Center, South Halls, at Wrangler Rodeo Arena within the RMEF Hunter & Outdoor Christmas Expo. Barrel Racing, Steer Wrestling, Team Roping, Tie-Down Roping and Girls Breakaway.

— 10 a.m.-5 p.m.: Cowboy Marketplace Gift Show, Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino. Free admission, open to the public.

— 10 a.m.-5 p.m.: Country Christmas, Sands Expo. Free admission, open to the public.

— 11 a.m.-2 p.m.: 31st Annual Pro Rodeo League of Women Style Show and Luncheon. South Point Grand Ballroom. Hosted by South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa, with proceeds to benefit The Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund. For more information, contact Julie Jutten at 719-337-1471 or Tracy Hedeman at 817-925-5212, or go to

— Noon-1 p.m.: Outside the Barrel with Flint Rasmussen. Cowboy Christmas, Las Vegas Convention Center, South Halls. Rodeo Live presented by RODEOHOUSTON. Free admission, open to the public.

— Noon-2 p.m.: Wrangler NFR Autograph Session, Bareback Riders. New York-New York, The Bar at Times Square. Free admission, open to the public. First come, first served; contestants depart at 2 p.m.

— 1:15-2 p.m.: Daryle Singletary’s Keepin’ It Country, hosted by Andy Griggs. Cowboy Christmas, Las Vegas Convention Center, South Halls. Rodeo Live presented by RODEOHOUSTON. Free admission, open to the public.

— 2:15-3 p.m.: Rodeo Recess with Andy Seiler. Cowboy Christmas, Las Vegas Convention Center, South Halls. Rodeo Live Presented by RODEOHOUSTON. Free admission, open to the public.

— 5 p.m.: Rump’s Rodeo Party hosted by Justin Rumford. The Orleans Hotel & Casino, Honky Tonk Saloon. Free admission, open to the public, 21 and older. For more information, visit www.BoydEvents.com/WNFR.

— 6-10 p.m.: South Point Presents Ram Rodeo Tailgate Party. South Point Convention Center. Free admission, open to the public.

— 6 p.m.-midnight: Silverton Casino Presents Cowboys & Indians After Parties, hosted by Justin Frazell. Veil Pavilion, inside Silverton Casino Hotel. All-ages viewing party, followed by live band. Free admission, open to the public. For more information, visit www.silvertoncasino.com/entertainment/nfr.

— 6:30 p.m.: Gary Leffew’s Bucking Ball, Tropicana Las Vegas Conference Center. Live viewing party, followed by Gary Leffew’s Bucking Ball. Free admission, open to the public.

— 6:30 p.m.-4 a.m.: The Mirage Presents Rodeo Vegas 2018, at The Mirage Race & Sports Book. Official Wrangler NFR After-Party of the PRCA. Free concerts nightly. For more information, visit www.Mirage.com/NFR.

— 7 p.m.-2 a.m.: Gilley’s Saloon at Treasure Island. Live entertainment and drink specials nightly. Free admission, open to the public. For more information, visit

— 8 p.m.-2 a.m.: MGM Grand Gold Buckle Zone, The Central at MGM Grand, near the sports book. Live entertainment, featuring free concerts nightly. Free admission, open to the public. For more information, visit

— 9 p.m.-2 a.m.: Buckin’ Bash hosted by Justin Rumford. The Orleans Hotel & Casino, Bourbon Street Lounge. Live music, dancing, special guests and prizes nightly. Free admission, open to the public, 21 and older. For more information, visit www.BoydEvents.com/WNFR.

— 10:30-11:30 p.m.: National Finals Tonight Show, hosted by Don Gay, Joe Beaver and Dan Miller. The Orleans Hotel & Casino, Honky Tonk Saloon. Recap the NFR with the best crew in town, and win prizes nightly. Free admission, open to the public. For more information, visit

— 11 p.m.: Wrangler NFR Go Round Buckle Presentations, hosted by Flint Rasmussen and Randy Corley. South Point Showroom. Free admission, open to the public. Free concerts each night, following the presentations: Aaron Watson (tonight-Tuesday); Cody Johnson (Wednesday-Dec. 14); Sierra Black (Dec. 15).

Arizona State vs Fresno State

Arizona State vs Fresno State, Las Vegas Bowl: Prediction, pick, odds, line, TV channel, live stream, watch online

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It’s a rematch 77 years in the making as No. 21 Fresno State takes on Arizona Statein the 27th edition of the Las Vegas Bowl. The last time these two schools met in a football game was way back in 1941 when Arizona State beat Fresno State 26-7. This will be the fourth meeting between these teams, with Arizona State winning all three of the previous matchups.

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While these schools aren’t all that familiar with one another, they’ve become acquainted with the Las Vegas Bowl in recent years. This will be Fresno State’s third trip to the game, and first since 2013 when it lost to USC 45-20. Arizona State makes its second Las Vegas Bowl appearance, with the first coming in 2011. The Sun Devils lost that game 56-24 to a Boise State team ranked in the top 10 at the time.

Las Vegas Bowl Live Free

Viewing information

Date: Saturday, Dec. 15 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Sam Boyd Stadium — Las Vegas, Nevada
TV: 
ABC | Live stream: WatchESPN

Arizona State: There were a lot of snide remarks and side eyes headed Arizona State’s way over the offseason when it decided to pull Herm Edwards out from behind the desk at ESPN and put him on the sideline once again, but the Sun Devils seem to be the ones smirking now. Arizona State enters this game with a record of 7-5 on the season and finished second in the Pac-12 South Division. Of course, that’s exactly where the Sun Devils finished last season under Todd Graham, so I suppose the jury’s still out on the long-term viability of the Edwards hire, but early returns show promise. A win in this game over a top 25 team in Fresno State would no doubt raise expectations heading into the offseason.

Fresno State: Fresno State’s been a team that’s been somewhat overlooked at times. The Bulldogs won the Mountain West title by getting revenge against the Boise State team that handed them their lone conference loss this season. The Bulldogs enter the game with a record of 11-2 and in the second season of a resurgence under Jeff Tedford. The former Cal coach took over a program that had won 10 total games between 2014 and 2016 and has posted 21 wins over his first two seasons with the program, though a win over Arizona State would only be the team’s second Power Five win under Tedford.

Game prediction, picks

As I mentioned above, while Fresno State has won 21 games over the last two seasons, only one of those wins came against a Power Five program. That was a 38-14 win over a UCLA team earlier this season that finished the year 3-9. While the Bulldogs have some talent, and a sturdy defense, I just don’t think they have the same kind of depth that Arizona State has, so I have a difficult time going against the Sun Devils getting points here. Pick: Arizona State +4.5

side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side you need to jump on Saturday, from an accomplished handicapper who’s hitting 80 percent of his picks involving these teams, and find out. 

Utah State vs North Texas

New Mexico Bowl, Utah State vs. North Texas: How to watch or listen to the game

Utah State quarterback Jordan Love (10) looks to throw the ball against Boise State in the second of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, in Boise, Idaho. Boise State won 33-24. (AP Photo/Steve Conner)

No. 23 UTAH STATE (10-2) vs. NORTH TEXAS (9-3)

Kickoff: Saturday, noon (MT)

Dreamstyle Stadium (37,457) — Albuquerque, New Mexico

Turf: FieldTurf

TV: ESPN

Livestream: WatchESPN

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  • For Utah State … The Aggies can end the year with 11 wins and are trying to finish the season ranked in both major polls, both for only the second time in school history (in 2012, USU was 11-2 and finished the year ranked in the top 20 of the final Associated Press and Coaches polls).
  • For North Texas … The Mean Green would reach double-digit victories for the third time in program history with a bowl win.

THE TRENDS

  • For Utah State … The Aggies are playing in their seventh bowl game in eight seasons and trying to improve upon a 3-3 record during that stretch.
  • For North Texas … The Mean Green are playing in their third straight bowl game and looking for their first win in a bowl since 2013.

THE CRYSTAL BALL

  • For Utah State … The Aggies will prevail if they utilize a combination of potent offense and disruptive defense, a recipe for success they often used in 2018.
  • For North Texas … The Mean Green have the firepower to make things interesting and their best chance for a win is likely to prevail in a shootout.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Jordan Love, Utah State quarterback: Love captains an explosive offense, throwing for 3,208 passing yards and 28 touchdowns — a single-season school record — while completing 65.8 percent of his passes.

Jake King

North Texas quarterback Mason Fine (6) prepares to begin a play during an NCAA college football game against SMU on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018 at Apogee Stadium in Denton, Texas. (Jake King/The Denton Record-Chronicle via AP)

Mason Fine, North Texas quarterback: The two-time Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year is having a standout season with numbers similar to Love, with 3,734 passing yards, eighth nationally, to go along with 27 TD passes with a 64.6 percent completion rate.

KEY MATCHUP

Quarterbacks vs. secondaries: Both quarterbacks have done a fine job protecting the ball this season with only the five interceptions each. The Aggies, meanwhile, have intercepted 18 passes this season, tops in the country. On the flip side, the Mean Green have intercepted 17 passes.

New Mexico Bowl

New Mexico Bowl, Utah State vs. North Texas: How to watch or listen to the game

Utah State quarterback Jordan Love (10) looks to throw the ball against Boise State in the second of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, in Boise, Idaho. Boise State won 33-24. (AP Photo/Steve Conner)

No. 23 UTAH STATE (10-2) vs. NORTH TEXAS (9-3)

Kickoff: Saturday, noon (MT)

Dreamstyle Stadium (37,457) — Albuquerque, New Mexico

Turf: FieldTurf

TV: ESPN

Livestream: WatchESPN

11 improvements to increase your home’s energy efficiency and value

From changing out your light bulbs to replacing your windows, this article is full of simple ways to cut costs and improve…

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  • For Utah State … The Aggies can end the year with 11 wins and are trying to finish the season ranked in both major polls, both for only the second time in school history (in 2012, USU was 11-2 and finished the year ranked in the top 20 of the final Associated Press and Coaches polls).
  • For North Texas … The Mean Green would reach double-digit victories for the third time in program history with a bowl win.

THE TRENDS

  • For Utah State … The Aggies are playing in their seventh bowl game in eight seasons and trying to improve upon a 3-3 record during that stretch.
  • For North Texas … The Mean Green are playing in their third straight bowl game and looking for their first win in a bowl since 2013.

THE CRYSTAL BALL

  • For Utah State … The Aggies will prevail if they utilize a combination of potent offense and disruptive defense, a recipe for success they often used in 2018.
  • For North Texas … The Mean Green have the firepower to make things interesting and their best chance for a win is likely to prevail in a shootout.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Jordan Love, Utah State quarterback: Love captains an explosive offense, throwing for 3,208 passing yards and 28 touchdowns — a single-season school record — while completing 65.8 percent of his passes.

Jake King

North Texas quarterback Mason Fine (6) prepares to begin a play during an NCAA college football game against SMU on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018 at Apogee Stadium in Denton, Texas. (Jake King/The Denton Record-Chronicle via AP)

Mason Fine, North Texas quarterback: The two-time Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year is having a standout season with numbers similar to Love, with 3,734 passing yards, eighth nationally, to go along with 27 TD passes with a 64.6 percent completion rate.

KEY MATCHUP

Quarterbacks vs. secondaries: Both quarterbacks have done a fine job protecting the ball this season with only the five interceptions each. The Aggies, meanwhile, have intercepted 18 passes this season, tops in the country. On the flip side, the Mean Green have intercepted 17 passes.

Tulane vs Louisiana

Cure Bowl Preview: Tulane Green Wave vs. Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns

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Tulane (6-6, 5-3 AAC) and Louisiana (7-6, 5-3 Sun Belt) meet for the 27th time in the Cure Bowl on Saturday in an in-state rivalry historically favoring the Green Wave. The Ragin’ Cajuns, however, have won two of the last three meetings.

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While Louisiana has participated in the New Orleans Bowl five times — most recently in 2016 — they have never played in a different bowl game. The Ragin’ Cajuns, who moved up to Division I FBS in 1996, are making a first in school history by traveling to Orlando, Fla. this weekend.

Tulane’s last bowl appearance was the 2013 New Orleans Bowl, ironically a 24-21 loss to Louisiana. That bowl trip was the Green Wave’s only postseason game since 2002, a futile 16-year stretch.

Tulane shook things up a bit offensively at the end of the regular season, hiring Will Hall to replace Doug Ruse as offensive coordinator. Hall was serving as the associate head coach and tight ends coach at Memphis. Under Ruse and head coach Willie Fritz in three season together, the Tulane offense failed to rank above eighth in the American Athletic Conference in either points or yards gained.

Louisiana enters this game following its 30-19 to Appalachian State in the inaugural Sun Belt Championship Game. The Mountaineers came up with two timely interceptions and rushed for 225 yards en route to winning their 10th game of the season.

Here’s how to watch Saturday’s game:

Date: Saturday, Dec. 15
Time: 1:30 ET
Location: Orlando, Fla.
Venue: Camping World Stadium
TV: CBS Sports
Live Stream: CBS Sports Network or FuboTV

Keys to Victory

Tulane offense vs. Louisiana defense. Green Wave senior quarterback Justin McMillanbecame the starter midway through the season and has thrown 1,159 yards, nine touchdowns, and three interceptions. McMillan has also rushed for more than 50 yards twice and has scored four times on the ground. Although Tulane has a new offensive coordinator in the mix (Hall), Louisiana has struggled defensively, ranking No. 114 in the nation in yards total allowed. The Ragin’ Cajuns average giving up over 200 rushing yards per game.

The Green Wave will look to establish the tone early on offense with a balanced attack behind McMillan and running back Darius Bradwell, who nearly rushed for 1,000 yards this season while averaging 5.9 yards per carry. Tulane’s rushing attack under Fritz ranks No. 30 in the nation. The Ragin’ Cajuns will also seek to rush early and often — they bring in two running backs in Trey Ragas and Elijah Mitchell who combined for more than 2,000 rushing yards in 2018. Expect this intrastate contest to be a close one that’s decided in the trenches.

Final Score: Tulane 20, Louisiana 16

Cure Bowl

It’s time to go bowling! College football’s bowl season kicks off Saturday, including a face off between Tulane and Louisiana in the Cure Bowl in Orlando.

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The Ragin’ Cajuns ended the season with a 7–6 record to finish first in the Sun Belt Conference’s West Division. Louisiana started the year going 1–3, including a loss to the eventual-SEC champion Alabama. After putting together three consecutive wins to end the regular season, the Ragin’ Cajuns fell to Appalachian State 30–19 in the Sun Belt’s inaugural championship game.

Tulane also started its regular season 1–3 while suffering a defeat to Ohio State. The Green Wave put together a 6–6 season, defeating conference foes Memphis and South Florida along the way. Tulane reached bowl eligibility in Week 12 with a dramatic 29–28 win over Navy thanks to a last-minute two-point coversion.

Louisiana and Tulane have met 26 times, with the Green Wave holding a 22–4 series lead. In their last matchup in 2016, Tulane routed Louisiana 41–39 in fourth overtime.

Here’s how to watch the game:

Time: 1:30 p.m. ET

TV: CBSS

Live Stream: You can stream the game on fuboTV. (Local restrictions apply). Sign up now for a free seven-day trial.

Las Vegas Bowl

Arizona State vs Fresno State, Las Vegas Bowl: Prediction, pick, odds, line, TV channel, live stream, watch online

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It’s a rematch 77 years in the making as No. 21 Fresno State takes on Arizona Statein the 27th edition of the Las Vegas Bowl. The last time these two schools met in a football game was way back in 1941 when Arizona State beat Fresno State 26-7. This will be the fourth meeting between these teams, with Arizona State winning all three of the previous matchups.

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While these schools aren’t all that familiar with one another, they’ve become acquainted with the Las Vegas Bowl in recent years. This will be Fresno State’s third trip to the game, and first since 2013 when it lost to USC 45-20. Arizona State makes its second Las Vegas Bowl appearance, with the first coming in 2011. The Sun Devils lost that game 56-24 to a Boise State team ranked in the top 10 at the time.

Las Vegas Bowl Live Free

Viewing information

Date: Saturday, Dec. 15 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Sam Boyd Stadium — Las Vegas, Nevada
TV: 
ABC | Live stream: WatchESPN

Arizona State: There were a lot of snide remarks and side eyes headed Arizona State’s way over the offseason when it decided to pull Herm Edwards out from behind the desk at ESPN and put him on the sideline once again, but the Sun Devils seem to be the ones smirking now. Arizona State enters this game with a record of 7-5 on the season and finished second in the Pac-12 South Division. Of course, that’s exactly where the Sun Devils finished last season under Todd Graham, so I suppose the jury’s still out on the long-term viability of the Edwards hire, but early returns show promise. A win in this game over a top 25 team in Fresno State would no doubt raise expectations heading into the offseason.

Fresno State: Fresno State’s been a team that’s been somewhat overlooked at times. The Bulldogs won the Mountain West title by getting revenge against the Boise State team that handed them their lone conference loss this season. The Bulldogs enter the game with a record of 11-2 and in the second season of a resurgence under Jeff Tedford. The former Cal coach took over a program that had won 10 total games between 2014 and 2016 and has posted 21 wins over his first two seasons with the program, though a win over Arizona State would only be the team’s second Power Five win under Tedford.

Game prediction, picks

As I mentioned above, while Fresno State has won 21 games over the last two seasons, only one of those wins came against a Power Five program. That was a 38-14 win over a UCLA team earlier this season that finished the year 3-9. While the Bulldogs have some talent, and a sturdy defense, I just don’t think they have the same kind of depth that Arizona State has, so I have a difficult time going against the Sun Devils getting points here. Pick: Arizona State +4.5

side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side you need to jump on Saturday, from an accomplished handicapper who’s hitting 80 percent of his picks involving these teams, and find out.