SAN DIEGO — Now, this could be a Holiday Bowl.
The Baylor Bears (7-5), whose offense ranks first nationally after piling up an average of 578.8 yards, face the UCLA Bruins (9-4) on Thursday night in the game that calls itself "America's Most Exciting Bowl Game."
This game should more than ooze offense.
"When people predict a shootout and the head coach is standing up here talking about a shootout, if you're a defensive guy, you bow up a little bit," UCLA coach Jim Mora said Wednesday. "It'll be a great night to be at Qualcomm watching football, because you're going to see some quality football and some exciting football."
Suffice it to say that the defensive coordinators have been busy.
Baylor senior quarterback Nick Florence, who replaced Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, leads the nation in total offense with 387.7 yards per game. Senior Terrance Williams is first in yards receiving at 147 per game.
The Bruins, who won the Pac-12 South, are hardly slouches.
Senior running back Johnathan Franklin is UCLA's career leading rusher, with his 1,700 yards this season propelling him to a four-year total of 4,369 yards. He ran for 13 touchdowns and caught two scoring passes.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Brett Hundley is a dual threat, having thrown for 3,411 yards and 26 touchdowns, plus he was the team's second-leading rusher with 365 yards and nine touchdowns.
The over-under for combined points is 81½.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Duke wide receiver Conner Vernon sees Thursday night's Belk Bowl against Cincinnati as a perfect opportunity to help the Blue Devils' football team emerge from basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski's shadow.
This is Duke's first bowl game in 18 seasons, and the Blue Devils have their 6:30 p.m. time slot to themselves on a day with two other bowl games.
"Anybody who follows college football will be watching, so this is our chance in the national spotlight to take a big step forward with this program and let people know about us," said Vernon, the Atlantic Coast Conference's career leader in receptions and yards receiving.
Duke (6-6) hasn't won a bowl game since 1961.
Coach David Cutcliffe called this game the next step in trying to build a winning tradition and raise the level of expectations of the players, similar to what his friend Krzyzewski has done on the hardwood.
And Cutcliffe said the Blue Devils are on the verge of something special.
"I don't plan on not making a bowl again — and that's the mentality I want every player to have. ... When I talked to coach Krzyzewski, there is no question what the expectations of a Duke basketball player are," Cutcliffe said. "And that's the opportunity we have — to create really big expectations."
Duke faces a Cincinnati team in transition after the departure earlier this month of coach Butch Jones and both coordinators.
Jones left to take the job at Tennessee, so defensive line coach Steve Stripling will serve as interim head coach Thursday night. Incoming coach Tommy Tuberville will also be on hand to watch but won't have any input on game day.
Jones went 23-14 at Cincinnati the last three years.
The Bearcats (9-3) finished tied for the best record in the Big East Conference but are left with only five full-time coaches from Jones' staff to work the game. They'll have new coordinators calling the shots on both sides of the ball.
WASHINGTON — Maybe they should call it the Transition Bowl.
For the third consecutive year — which accounts for 60 percent of the lifespan of this particular event — the Military Bowl had coaching news between the selection date and the game.
Ralph Friedgen was fired by Maryland in 2010, but he was allowed to coach the game and ended his Terrapins career with a big win over East Carolina.
Last year, Tim Beckman left Toledo for Illinois, leaving replacement Matt Campbell to lead a one-point victory over Air Force.
This year, it's even more complicated.
Having rebuilt San Jose State (10-2), Mike MacIntyre left for Colorado after the Spartans accepted the bid that will have them facing Bowling Green (8-4) on Thursday at RFK Stadium.
The shake-up has jarred the players just as they were hoping to put an exclamation point on perhaps the best season in school history. The No. 24 Spartans are playing in a bowl for the first time since 2006, are in the AP rankings for the first time since 1975, and will be trying to win 11 games in a season for the first time since 1940.
That's quite a feat considering that San Jose State was 1-12 just two years ago during MacIntyre's first season. Baer has been around longer, having joined the Spartans staff in 2008.
"I've been here with a group of young men, a couple of coaches, that have seen some really tough times and seen this thing turn around," Baer said. "Really the goal is — I don't know if it's a parting gift to the university or the kids, or just saying, 'Look, we've been in this together. Let's finish this together. This is still the 2012 football team. This is the last time we'll be together.' We're very focused on trying to be the best team ever in San Jose State history. I'm not doing it for anybody but this group of men and coaches."
Bowling Green has a different kind of mission in mind. The Falcons also rebuilt their program in a hurry — rebounding from 2-10 two years ago — and are one of seven Mid-American Conference teams in the bowls.