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College football bowl games preview and live chat: Opening weekend

Bowl season begins with small-school and third-day prospects.

We’re already in the thick of college football bowl season, with such prestigious events as the New Mexico Bowl and Camellia Bowl already passing us by. This Saturday promises to be a great slate of matchups between eight mostly smaller-school teams that rarely get to meet each other during the regular season. Below you’ll find information about each of the bowl games slated for Saturday as well as the main NFL prospects to watch.

As always, let’s talk about the games, leave questions on prospects and enjoy the weekend.

No. 19 Louisiana vs. UTSA
First Responders Bowl
3:30 P.M. EST, ABC

Neither team is exactly stacked with NFL prospects, although Louisiana running back Elijah Mitchell needs more press. He brings along a diverse skill set, and massive production over his career, with 40 touchdowns over the past three seasons. UTSA will try to stop him with edge rusher Clarence Hicks, who hasn’t had a great season but offers a decent amount of experience.

Western Kentucky vs. Georgia State
LendingTree Bowl
3:30 P.M. EST, ABC

Both teams are sort of also-rans in their own conference, and really only stand out on one side of the ball. For Western Kentucky, it’s their defense, which is led by defensive end DeAngelo Malone. The 6’4”, 230-lb edge rusher didn’t have as good a season as last year when he had 11 sacks, but he was still impactful and looked good against Louisville when they played. Georgia State really only has guard Shamarious Gilmore to offer on their side—a nimble player along the inside, recently named to the All-Conference team.

No. 23 Liberty vs. No. 12 Coastal Carolina
Cure Bowl
7:30 P.M. EST, ESPN

The fact that both teams come into this game ranked is one of the best stories in college football. The Chanticleers are stacked on both sides of the ball, with their main prospects being running back C.J. Marable and edge rusher Tarron Jackson. Jackson especially has been a revelation, with 8.5 sacks and 13 tackles-for-loss. Liberty is much more reliant on their offense, led by dual-threat quarterback Malik Willis. Also look for athletic, pass catching tight end Johnny Huntley to make himself known.