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Texas Bowl Preview: Week 9


The Texas Bowl is set for Friday, Dec. 28 at Reliant Stadium. The Texas Bowl is a celebration of the culture, heritage and football tradition of the Lone Star State. The game features teams from the Big 12 and Conference USA. The day begins at 3:00 p.m. with TexFest featuring Texas-themed games, food and music from the Old 97's as well as the team pep rallies and spirit walks. The night ends with the largest holiday fireworks show in Texas so plan to make an entire day for your family at the Texas Bowl. Tickets start at just $15. For all information on the Texas Bowl, visit

Another weekend, another round of upsets in college football. Nine more ranked teams fell in Week 8, shuffling the polls once again. Upsets did affect the Texas Bowl outlook in the Big 12 and Conference USA, and Week 9 looks to hold several other potential shockers as well. Let's take a look at what the weekend holds for both conferences:

Big 12

Coming off a tough loss at home to #9 Kansas, Coloradotravels down to Lubbock to face Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are coming off their rout at #13 Missouri last weekend where Tech junior quarterback Graham Harrell struggled for the first time this season, throwing four interceptions in the 41-10 loss. He looks to get back on track for his run to the Heisman Trophy against the Buffaloes in front of his home crowd. Colorado freshman quarterback Cody Hawkins is looking to make a little history of his own this weekend. Hawkins has thrown a touchdown pass in his first eight career games, one shy of Koy Detmer's all-time record of nine set in 1996.

In College Station, Kyle Field will be rocking as the Aggies host the #9 KansasJayhawks. Texas A&Mhas won their last four home games against Kansas. Junior quarterback Stephen McGee rushed for a career-high 167 yards on a school-record 35 rushing attempts in the Aggies' 36-14 thumping of Nebraska last weekend. Kansas prepares to play a game with its highest ranking since 1995, when they were also ranked #9. The Jayhawks enter this contest playing extremely well on both sides of the ball, ranking second nationally in scoring defense (10.1 points per game) and third in scoring offense (45.9 points per game).

In a game that has lost some of its luster from the preseason, #19 Texaswelcomes Nebraskato Darryl K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Longhorns have won their last two conference games, bouncing back from their longest conference losing streak (four games) in more than 50 years. Texas' defense got back on track last week against Baylor forcing four turnovers and allowing only eight yards rushing. Nebraska on the other hand is reeling, having lost three straight games. The Husker defense was shredded for 359 rushing yards by Texas A&M, the second consecutive game in which Nebraska allowed more than 300 yards on the ground. For a team like Texas who likes to run the ball, the Husker defense could be in for another long day.

Other Big 12 games
Iowa Stateat #13 Missouri
Baylorat Kansas State Conference USA

In a battle of two high-octane offenses, the C-USA West-leading HoustonCougars visits Texas-El Paso. The Miners trail the Cougars by half a game in the division and a win would give them the outright lead. Though UTEP dropped a squeaker to East Carolina two weeks ago, it wasn't due to lack of production from senior running back Marcus Thomas, who surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark for the fourth consecutive gam. Thomas has scored at least one rushing touchdown in every game he has played in this year. Houston is coming off a 49-10 win over Alabama-Birmingham, where senior running back Anthony Alridge went over the 100-yard mark for the third consecutive game. On the season, Alridge has 1,159 total yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns.

C-USA East-leading Southern Mississippiwill play host to Central Florida. The Golden Eagles look for their third consecutive win, coming off their 33-24 win at Marshall last weekend. Talented sophomore running back Damion Fletcher led the way for Southern Miss with 152 yards rushing and three touchdowns. That pushed his totals on the season to 789 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. Central Florida got back on the winning track with their 44-23 win over Tulsa. Once again, the Knights were led by junior running back Kevin Smith's 170 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Smith is Central Florida's best weapon and will need him to produce in a big way to beat Southern Miss.

Speaking of talented running backs, the NCAA rushing leader will be on display when senior running back Matt Forte and his TulaneGreen Wave host the MemphisTigers at the Superdome in New Orleans. Last week, Forte rushed for an incredible 342 yards and four touchdowns, marking the second time this season he surpassed 300 yards rushing in a game. On the season, Forte has 1,261 yards and 13 touchdowns. Though Tulane boasts the top rusher in the nation, the Tigers' offense is actually more productive averaging just over 420 yards per contest. Senior running back Joseph Doss has had a disappointing year overall, but may have gotten back on track after rushing for 175 yards in Memphis' 38-35 win over Rice last week.

Other Conference USA games
Southern Methodistat Tulsa
Alabama-Birminghamat East Carolina
Riceat Marshall

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