Liberty BowlBrigham Young (9-4) vs.No. 10 Tulane...


Liberty Bowl

Brigham Young (9-4) vs.

No. 10 Tulane (11-0)

When: Today, 1: 30 p.m.

Where: Memphis, Tenn.


Line: Tulane by 7

Series record: First meeting.

Outlook: Brigham Young won seven straight before falling to Air Force, 20-13, in the WAC title game. BYU is a big, physical, hard-hitting team on both sides of the ball. But the ground-oriented offense was dealt a serious blow when standout TB Ronney Jenkins was suspended. He has run for 1,307 yards and 12 TDs. Much of the load will fall on crafty QB Kevin Feterik (17 TD passes), the WAC's leader in pass efficiency. LB Rob Morris spearheads the nation's fifth-ranked defense (273.9 yards per game). That unit will be tested by a high-powered offense looking to spread the field and use its speed. At Tulane, Chris Scelfo takes over for Tommy Bowden, who quickly guided the program to enormous success and left to coach Clemson. Bowden leaves behind one of the nation's most explosive offenses. The unit ranks second in the country in scoring (45.4 points per game) and fourth in total offense (507 ypg). QB Shaun King (36 TD tosses, six interceptions) is the nation's top-rated passer. He has completed a remarkable 68 percent of his passes. RBs Jamaican Dartez and Toney Converse give the Green Wave a formidable ground attack (202.4 ypg).

Sun Bowl

Southern California (8-4) vs.

Texas Christian (6-5)

When: Today, 2 p.m.

Where: El Paso, Texas.

TV: Chs. 13, 9.

Line: Southern California by 16.

Series record: Tied 2-2.

Outlook: The Trojans played a tough schedule and beat quality opponents in Purdue and Notre Dame. They were upset by California and finished only 5-3 in the Pac-10. Freshman QB Carson Palmer grew more comfortable as the season wore on. He has speedy weapons at his disposal in big-play WR R. Jay Soward and TB Chad Morton, who also double as dangerous kick returners. LB Chris Claiborne, the Butkus Award winner and Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year, leads a top-notch defense. Claiborne makes plays all over the field and probably will turn pro after the season. At Texas Christian, coach Dennis Franchione enhanced his reputation as a savior of downtrodden programs by resurrecting TCU after a 1-10 season a year ago. The highlight of the year was a 35-34 victory over WAC champ Air Force. TCU's ground attack ranks eighth in the nation (239.1 ypg). QB Patrick Batteaux, a former receiver, directs the option nicely. Basil Mitchell (1,111 yards rushing, six TDs) and bruiser LaDainian Tomlinson are an effective RB tandem.

Peach Bowl

No. 13 Virginia (9-2) vs.

No. 19 Georgia (8-3)

When: Today, 5 p.m.

Where: Atlanta.


Line: Virginia by 2.

Series record: Tied 7-7-3.

Outlook: The Cavaliers may have had a shot at a BCS bowl if they hadn't blown a big lead at Georgia Tech. Still, the only other loss was at Florida State and Virginia stormed back for a 36-32 win at arch-rival Virginia Tech in the season finale. The offense features a powerful ground attack led by TBs Thomas Jones (1,303 yards rushing, 15 TDs), the ACC's leading rusher, and Antwoine Womack. Aaron Brooks is a strong-armed QB. All-ACC TE Casey Crawford is used well in the passing game. DE Patrick Kerney, a second team All-American, and LB Wali Rainer (134 tackles, five sacks) lead a tough defense. The Bulldogs closed the season with a disappointing loss to rival Georgia Tech but the only other defeats came against BCS teams -- Tennessee and Florida. Athletic QB Quincy Carter is probably the best freshman in the country. He can scramble and improvise, or drill an open receiver. Junior CB-WR-KR Champ Bailey, a first-team All-American, is an all-around whiz. TE Larry Brown provides a huge target and WR Tony Small is effective. Senior RB Olandis Gary and a struggling ground game improved a bit down the stretch. LB Orantes Grant heads a solid defense.

Independence Bowl

Mississippi (6-5) vs.

Texas Tech (7-4)

When: Tonight, 8: 30.

Where: Shreveport, La.


Line: Texas Tech by 9 1/2 .

Series record: Mississippi leads 1-0.

Outlook: At Mississippi, former coach Tommy Tuberville took the Auburn job and David Cutcliffe, Tennessee's former offensive coordinator, makes his debut. Sophomore QB Romaro Miller broke his collarbone late in the season but hopes to be back today. The offense did not look good without him in a season-ending, 28-6 loss to Mississippi State. TE Rufus French, a first-team All-American, has 35 catches for 386 yards. Shifty TB Deuce McAllister has rushed for 1,082 yards. The defense is young. Ole Miss has dropped three straight. After opening 6-0 against teams it was supposed to beat, Texas Tech dropped four of its last five to some quality Big 12 squads. The Red Raiders did upset Texas during that stretch but closed the season with a 20-17 loss at Oklahoma. Still, the team has talent and speed on both sides of the ball. TB "Little" Ricky Williams is fourth in the nation in rushing (143.8 ypg). QB Rob Peters has a favorite target in explosive WR Donnie Hart. DE Montae Reagor, a first-team All-American, may be the nation's best lineman.

Pub Date: 12/31/98

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