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2016 NFL Draft: Dec. 30 College Bowls Live Open Thread

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Birmingham Bowl (12pm ET, ESPN)

Auburn (6-6, SEC) v. Memphis (9-3, AAC)

Remember Auburn of the preseason? That is not the Auburn of 2015. No, the St. Louis Rams feeder school did not have a very good 2015 at all.

There's still plenty of talent coming out of Auburn. WR D'haquille Williams would've been a top Rams prospect, but he was dismissed from the program in early October. I say would've as if being dismissed doesn't make Jeff Fisher want him more. Ha. DT Montravius Adams, LB Cassanova McKinzy, CB Jonathan Jones and LB Kris Frost are all NFL prospects to tab.

And Memphis has QB Paxton Lynch who has gone from virtual unknown in the preseason to potential #1 overall pick.

Big picture, Auburn obviously has work to do. From the BCS Champoinship (by the skin of their damn teeth) in 2013 to an 8-5 2014 to the trainwreck of 2015, Gus Malzahn is headed the wrong way at an accelerated pace.

Memphis was trending way up with Justin Fuente, but he's off to coach Virginia Tech. Since Memphis has had a tough time with football pretty much since always, you might want to keep them in your prayers this offseason.

Belk Bowl (3:30pm ET, ESPN)

North Carolina St. (7-5, ACC) v. Mississippi St. (8-4, SEC)


NC State may not be a major program (they haven't been in the top 10 since Lou Holtz was coaching there in the late 70s...), but they find a way to pump NFL talent through the pipe. It's just tough to get too excited about QB Jacoby Brissett, CB Justin Burris or G Joe Thuney as their top prospects.

Mississippi State, though, will be a school we see popping often in the coming months. QB Dak Prescott, CB Will Redmond, WR De'Runnya Wilson and DT Chris Jones could all be gone by the end of Day 2.

Program-wise, NC State is NC Stating along. The recruiting has picked up a bit though, so HC Dave Doeren might have them pimping soon. Mississippi State, on the other hand, is in position to play, but it's the SEC West. Survival is tough enough.

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (7pm ET, ESPN)

Texas A&M (8-4, SEC) v. Louisville (7-5, ACC)

Just start paying attention to A&M if you haven't been, please. Kevin Sumlin's probably going to be an NFL head coach soon and his two youngest classes are stacked. This year's pretty thin beyond OT Germain Ifedi. And with the recent drama recently surrounding A&M's two star QBs, Kyler Murray and Kyle Allen, both transferring, I wouldn't bet against Sumlin.

Louisville has two quality defensive linemen coming up in DT Sheldon Rankins and former TCU up-and-comer DE Devonte Fields. S Josh Harvey-Clemons can play as well. And all the jokes aside, Bobby Petrino did this once before and it was working pretty damn well...

National Funding Holiday Bowl (10:30pm ET, ESPN)

USC Trojans (8-5, Pac-12) v. Wisconsin Badgers (9-3, Big Ten)

Southern Cal has a good crop coming up with OLB Su'a Cravens, C Max Tuerk, CB Kevon Seymour and QB Cody Kessler leading the way. Tuerk might be a strong early target for the Rams, though the medical check on him at the combine will be crucial. He's been out since October with a knee injury. And look, if you haven't seen WR JuJu Smith-Schuster yet...

Wisconsin has some quality sleepers right now with OT Tyler Marz, OLB Joe Schobert and their safety duo of Tanner McEvoy and Michael Caputo. And obviously with J.J. Watt's stardom, his younger brothers, FB Derek Watt and TE T.J. Watt, are going to get plenty of attention. Two years ago, I name dropped a sleeper OT candidate out of Wisconsin. Fast forward to now, and Rob Havenstein turned in a pretty solid rookie season for the Rams. Might be worth keeping an eye on all the freshman on that Wisconsin line...