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NCAA.com | December 28, 2018

College football bowl schedule: Friday's games previewed and how to watch

What are the 5 biggest non-CFP bowl games this season?

This is the complete college football bowl schedule, times and previews of each game for Friday, Dec. 28. There are three games today ahead of the College Football Playoff semifinal contests on Saturday: the Music City Bowl, the Camping World Bowl and the Alamo Bowl.

MUSIC CITY BOWL

Purdue vs. Auburn | Live stats

1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN at Nissan Stadium, Tenn.

Series record: First meeting

What's at stake: Pride. With one team, Auburn, boasting seven wins, and the other, Purdue, entering with six wins, this game could be the determination of a good season for either team.

Key matchup: Purdue defense vs. Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham. This will be Stidham's final game in a Tiger jersey, as the junior has announced his decision to go pro after the conclusion of this season. In his Auburn career, Stidham has rushed for 148 yards, scored seven touchdowns and thrown for 5,579 yards. If Purdue can manage Stidham, linebacker Markus Bailey, who has amassed 104 tackles, 8 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks this year, will be a big reason.

Players to watch

Purdue: The Boilermakers average 31.9 points per game and rank ninth nationally in passing offense. The player most integral to that offense is Associated Press All-American receiver Rondale Moore, a freshman who has totaled 13 touchdowns and 1,164 receiving yards. In addition to his 203 rushing yards and 681 return yards, Moore needs just 74 all-purpose yards on Friday to break the Purdue individual record for single-season all-purpose yards.

Auburn: The defensive duo of Deshaun Davis and Derrick Brown might be too much for the Boilermakers. They have combined for 23.5 tackles for loss. Davis leads the team in total tackles at 103 and has also accumulated 2.5 sacks; Brown has recorded 45 tackles and 9.5 tackles for loss. He and Davis both earned All-SEC honors for their defensive performances this year, and they will pose a threat to Moore and the Boilermakers in the Music City Bowl. 

Did you know? The first time Auburn played a game in Nashville was in 1905. 

RELATED: Auburn-Purdue: Music City Bowl prediction, preview, time, channel

CAMPING WORLD BOWL

No. 20 Syracuse vs. No. 16 West Virginia | Live stats

5:15 p.m. ET, ESPN, Camping World Stadium, Fla.

Series record: Syracuse 33- West Virginia 27

What's at stake: A series win. The Mountaineers and the Orange have played each other 60 times, and though West Virginia ended the season higher in the College Football Playoff rankings, the Orange may have the advantage in this next contest. West Virginia will be without star quarterback and Heisman contender Will Grier. He opted out of the bowl to focus on the NFL draft. The Mountaineers, however, still have plenty of talent, but the question remains whether or not backup quarterback Jack Allison can handle the force of the Syracuse defense.

Key matchup: Syracuse defense vs. West Virginia quarterback Jack Allison. Can Allison be the leader the Mountaineers will need to win without Grier? Or will he be stopped by Syracuse defensive leader Ryan Guthrie and the rest of the Orange defense? Guthrie has recorded 101 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and 2 sacks this season.

Players to watch 

Syracuse: Quarterback Eric Dungey will play his final game as a collegiate athlete on Friday, and having started for his team all four years, he has the experience and the talent to lead the Orange to a win. He's thrown for 2,565 yards this year with 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions. If he can find his receivers, particularly team receiving leader Jamal Custis, under pressure, then Dungey could end his Syracuse career with a win. 

West Virginia: Purely for the novelty factor, Jack Allison will be an intriguing player to follow in this bowl game. Allison has thrown for just 10 passes this year. How he performs against the Orange will be a preview of what the 2019 season will be like in Morgantown with Allison as the bonafide offensive leader.

Did you know? In the 60 matchups of this series, these two teams practically couldn't be closer in scoring. West Virginia and Syracuse have averaged 19.4 and 20.4 points, respectively, in the series. 

MORE: Syracuse-West Virginia: Camping World Bowl prediction, preview, time, TV channel

ALAMO BOWL

No. 24 Iowa State vs. No. 13 Washington State | Live stats

9 p.m. ET, ESPN, Alamodome, Texas

Series record: First matchup

What’s at stake: A higher end-of-season national rankings. Washington State heads into the game holding a No. 12 ranking in the AP poll, while Iowa State sits No. 25 in the poll. Should Iowa State win, they could jump past the Cougars, ending the season with satisfaction and recognition. If Washington State wins, it could finish with its first top-10 finish in the AP poll since 2002. 

Key matchup: Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy vs. Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew. As the Cougars starter, Minshew has been everything Washington State could have asked for. He separated himself early in the season and guided his team to big wins over Utah, Oregon and Stanford. He’s strong and powerful, but he will have a tough competitor in Purdy. Watching these two offensive teams do battle on Friday will be a treat, and the skill that will be likely exhibited in the quarterback spot will make the game even more enjoyable.

Players to watch

Washington State: It may seem redundant, but Gardner Minshew is without a doubt the star for the Cougars, and they will need his strength and power to take down the Cyclones. Minshew has thrown for 4, 477 yards — 2, 542 more than his quarterback counterpart from Iowa State— and he’s complied a total of 36 touchdowns as well. Look for Minshew to connect with the Cougars receiving leader Dezmon Patmon in the Alamo Bowl and carry Washington State to a bowl game victory. 

ALSO: Alamo Bowl prediction, preview, time, TV channel

Iowa State: JaQuan Bailey and Willie Harvey could be the saving graces for the Cyclones if they maintain the defensive success they’ve had so far this year. With Bailey’s 12.5 tackles for loss and Harvey’ 72 total tackles, Iowa State could withhold the offensive force of the Cougars, 

Did you know? If Washington State wins, the Cougars will have their first 11-win season in program history.

Previews by the Associated Press.

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