Friday features matchups between the Big 10 and Big 12 and the ACC and Big East, but the best matchup might be the one featuring a team from the MAC and a team from the Sun Belt. Three games are on Friday afternoon and night, all on ESPN, and here's how to watch them:
2 p.m., Advocare V1000 Independence Bowl, Louisiana-Monroe (8-4) vs. Ohio (8-4): The two teams playing in Shreveport looked like they could make big splashes in 2012, with the Warhawks knocking off a No. 8 Arkansas team and the Bobcats winning their first seven games. Ohio found themselves ranked No. 23 in the country, but lost four of their last five, while Louisiana-Monroe followed up the Arkansas win with an overtime loss to Auburn and a five-point loss to Baylor. Both were probably on the level of big conference squads, with Beau Blankenship leading Ohio with 1,500 yards running and Kolton Browning leading Louisiana-Monroe in passing and rushing.
5:30 p.m., Russell Athletic Bowl Virginia Tech (6-6) vs. Rutgers (9-3): Rutgers supposedly invented college football, playing in the sport's first game back in 1869, but they've only reached the ten-win plateau twice. They could do it for a third time with a bowl win in Orlando to close Kyle Flood's first year as head coach after getting a share of the Big East championship. Virginia Tech, on the other hand, needed wins against lowly Boston College and Virginia teams to get bowl eligible, and only squeaked in by beating the Eagles in OT and beating the Cavaliers by just three. Rutgers only allows 14.8 points per game, the fifth-best scoring defense in the game.
9 p.m., Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, Minnesota (6-6) vs. Texas Tech (7-5): Seth Doege runs the air raid for Texas Tech, nearly totaling 4,000 yards for the second straight season as part of the team with the second-most passing yards in the nation. Both of the squads on the field in Houston started off strong, with the Red Raiders winning six of their first seven while the Golden Gophers swept their non-conference schedule before going 2-6 in the Big Ten.