Southern Mississippi (6-5) vs. North Texas (7-4)
Where: Superdome, New Orleans.
Time, TV: 7:30 p.m., ESPN2.
Key stats: Southern Mississippi has been outgained, on average, by almost 72 yards per game. North Texas has a plus-13 turnover margin.
About Southern Mississippi: The Golden Eagles lost four of their last five regular-season games. The defense struggled down the stretch, allowing 34.2 points per game in the last five. LB Michael Boley and FS Trevis Coley are the defensive standouts. The Eagles need a big game from TB Anthony Harris.
About North Texas: Freshman TB Jamario Thomas leads the nation in rushing (189.9 ypg, 17 TDs) and is 155 yards short of Ron Dayne's NCAA single-season rushing mark for freshmen. DE Adrian Awasom and FS Jonas Buckles are the defensive standouts.
The buzz: It's the first bowl of the season. The nation's leading rusher will be playing. That makes it worth watching, right? Right?
The line: Southern Mississippi by 5.
The pick: Southern Mississippi, 27-24.