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December 28, 2007|Peter Yoon

CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL

* Who: Boston College (10-3, second in Atlantic Division of Atlantic Coast Conference) vs. Michigan State (7-5, tied for seventh in Big Ten Conference).

* Where, when: Orlando, Fla., 2 p.m. PST, ESPN.

* Story line: Michigan State, under first-year Coach Mark Dantonio, is making its first bowl appearance since 2003 and is seeking its first bowl victory since 2001. The Spartans average 34.1 points a game and do most of their damage on the ground, averaging 200.3 yards rushing. Boston College matches up well with Michigan State because it has the top-ranked run defense in the nation, giving up only 68.08 yards rushing per game.

* Top players: Matt Ryan (QB, Boston College, Sr.), Jamie Silva (DB, Boston College, Sr.), Alex Albright (LB, Boston College, So.), Devin Thomas (WR, Michigan State, Jr.), Javon Ringer (RB, Michigan State, Jr.).

TEXAS BOWL

* Who: Houston (8-4, first in Conference USA West Division) vs. Texas Christian (7-5, fifth in Mountain West).

* Where, when: Houston, 5 p.m. PST, NFL Network.

* Story line: Houston's offense has produced an average of 513.2 yards a game to rank fourth in the nation, but the Cougars lost Coach Art Briles to Baylor. Briles took with him co-offensive coordinators Philip Montgomery and Randy Clements, so the Houston offense may sputter as Chris Thurmond, the defensive backs coach, takes over as interim coach. Texas Christian is finishing a disappointing season after being pegged as a possible BCS buster before the season. It gives up only 320 yards and 19.2 points a game -- both 16th in the nation -- but lost four of five games that were decided by seven points or fewer.

* Top players: Tommy Blake (DE, Texas Christian, Sr.), Chase Ortiz (DL, Texas Christian, Sr.), Anthony Alridge (RB, Houston, Sr.), Case Keenum (QB, Houston, Fr.), Donnie Avery (WR, Houston, Sr.).

EMERALD BOWL

* Who: Maryland (6-6, fifth in ACC Atlantic) vs. Oregon State (8-4, third in Pac-10).

* Where, when: San Francisco, 5:30 p.m., ESPN.

* Story line: Oregon State has won six of its last seven games -- the only loss coming against USC. The Beavers have a stingy defense that gives up only 313 yards per game and is second in the nation against the run, giving up an average of 74.9 yards rushing. Maryland stumbled down the stretch, losing four of its last six, but was within eight points in four of its six losses this season. The Terrapins are giving up 21.6 points per game -- 28th in the nation -- and they have lost only six fumbles all season.

* Top players: Andrew Crummey (OL, Maryland, Sr.), Erin Henderson (LB, Maryland, Jr.), Keon Lattimore (RB, Maryland, Jr.), Yvenson Bernard (RB, Oregon State, Sr.), Derrick Doggett (LB, Oregon State, Sr.), Victor Butler (DL, Oregon State, Jr.).

-- Peter Yoon

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