Today's bowl games: Info, who to watch, more


Marshall (6-6) vs. Ohio (9-4)

WHEN: 1 p.m.

WHERE: Ford Field, Detroit

TV: ESPN, TWC 26/DTV 206/DISH 140 (Pam Ward will do play-by-play, with Ray Bentley as the analyst)

THE LINE: Ohio by 3

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH: Unless you're a fan of either team, it frankly is tough to come up with reasons why this one's worth watching. It arguably is the least compelling of the 34 bowl matchups. That said, Ohio's big-play ability on defense and special teams make the Bobcats a fun team to watch, and Marshall's Darius Marshall is one of the nation's most underrated running backs.

KEEP AN EYE ON: Two of the better kickers in the nation will be on display. Marshall senior Craig Ratanamorn is 15-of-16 on field-goal attempts this season. Ohio freshman Matt Weller is 20-of-27, including 8-for-12 from 40 yards and beyond. Weller has made a 50-yarder and a 52-yarder.


North Carolina (8-4) vs. Pittsburgh (9-3)

WHEN: 4:30 p.m.

WHERE: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte

TV: ESPN (Bob Wischusen will do the play-by-play, with Chris Spielman and Bob Griese as the analysts)

THE LINE: Pittsburgh by 2.5

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH: It's a matchup of pro-style offenses. That makes sense since the coaches came from the NFL. Butch Davis and Dave Wannstedt returned to the college ranks from the NFL to rebuild their programs. The next milestone for each program is to win a bowl game. The Tar Heels haven't won in the postseason since 2001; the Panthers haven't won a bowl since 2002.

KEEP AN EYE ON: Pittsburgh freshman running back Dion Lewis wasn't a big recruit literally (5-foot-8) or figuratively (a three-star prospect) but has produced huge numbers in his first season on campus: 1,640 yards and 16 touchdowns. He has had nine 100-yard games, including three outings of at least 180 yards.


Boston College (8-4) vs. USC (8-4)

WHEN: 8 p.m.

WHERE: AT&T Park, San Francisco

TV: ESPN (Joe Tessitore will do play-by-play, with Rod Gilmore as the analyst)

THE LINE: Southern Cal by 8

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH: USC is coming off its worst regular season since Pete Carroll's first year. Can it get worse with a loss in its home state to unranked Boston College? The Eagles won eight consecutive bowls from 2000-08, in part because they slipped to lower-tier bowls in the ACC and Big East's lineup. That's not the case in this game; USC is Boston College's highest-profile bowl opponent since defeating Georgia 20-16 in the 2001 Music City Bowl.

KEEP AN EYE ON: Each team has a true freshman who should be a legitimate star in the next few seasons. At BC, it's linebacker Luke Kuechly, who had 142 tackles this season to rank second in the nation. At USC, it's quarterback Matt Barkley, who was inconsistent and threw for 2,385 yards with 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.