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Today’s bowl games |

Today’s bowl games

The Associated Press
| Saturday, December 31, 2011 12:00 a.m

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas

Northwestern vs. Texas A&M

Noon, Reliant Stadium, Houston


Line: Texas A&M by 10

Records: Northwestern 6-6; Texas A&M 6-6

Series: First meeting

Why you should watch: Texas A&M hasn’t won a bowl game since 2001 and would like to come out on top to honor former coach Mike Sherman, who was fired earlier this month. It’s been far longer since the Wildcats have won a bowl game, with their last and only victory coming in the 1949 Rose Bowl.

Sun Bowl

Georgia Tech vs. Utah

2 p.m., Sun Bowl, El Paso, Texas


Line: Georgia Tech by 2 1/2

Records: Georgia Tech 8-4; Utah 7-5

Series: Utah leads, 1-0

Why you should watch: Georgia Tech is playing in the Sun Bowl for the second time but the first since 1970, when the Yellow Jackets won, 17-9, against Texas Tech . Utah also is making its second appearance in the Sun Bowl: The Utes beat New Mexico 26-0 in 1939. CBS will broadcast the game for the 44th consecutive year, which is the longest running partnership between a bowl game and a network.

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl

Illinois vs. UCLA

3:30 p.m., AT&T Park, San Francisco


Line: Illinois by 3

Records: Illinois 6-6; UCLA 6-7

Series: UCLA, 6-5

Why you should watch: Illinois looks to snap a six-game losing streak in its first game under interim coach Vic Koenning and win for the first time in 12 weeks. A victory also would give Illinois bowl wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time. UCLA also has an interim coach, with Mike Johnson taking over after a 49-31 loss to Oregon in the Pac-12 championship. That dropped the Bruins to 6-7 on the season, making them the first team since North Texas in 2001 to go to a bowl with a losing record.

Liberty Bowl

Cincinnati vs. Vanderbilt

3:30 p.m., Liberty Bowl, Memphis, Tenn.


Line: Vanderbilt by 2

Records: Cincinnati 9-3; Vanderbilt 6-6

Series: Vanderbilt leads, 4-3

Why you should watch: Vanderbilt can finish with only its second winning season since 1982 and the program’s third bowl victory in five tries. Cincinnati can improve to 7-6 in bowls and add the Liberty Bowl trophy to its share of the Big East championship.

Chick-fil-A Bowl

Auburn vs. Virginia

7:30 p.m., Georgia Dome, Atlanta


Line: Auburn by 3

Records: Auburn 7-5; Virginia 8-4

Series: Tied, 1-1

Why you should watch: Virginia is trying to cap its season of improvement from a 4-8 finish in 2010 by winning in their first bowl appearance since the 2007 season. Auburn must overcome the suspension of star running back Mike Dyer. One year after winning the national championship, the Tigers are looking to finish a disappointing season on a winning note.

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