Texas will host six college football bowl in the next nine days. None of the games will involve national title contenders. But in Arlington Saturday, the Cotton Bowl between Penn State and Memphis will serve as the opening act for two national playoff games later in the day. Here's the lineup:
TEXAS BOWL (Dec. 27, 5:45 p.m. Central)
Things kick off Friday in Houston, as Texas A&M and Oklahoma State face off in the Texas Bowl. It’s the first time the two teams have met since A&M left the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference in 2012. OSU has won its last four meetings with A&M. This is the 14th consecutive bowl game for the 25th-ranked Cowboys (8-4). The unranked Aggies (7-5) have lost their last two games — but boast of being the only team in history to lose to three schools ranked No. 1 in the same year.
COTTON BOWL (Dec. 28, 11 a.m. Central)
No. 17-ranked Memphis is the American Athletic Conference champ with a 12-1 record. The Tigers' only loss this season was by two points to Temple; they also ended an undefeated season by SMU. Penn State (10-2), which finished second in the Big Ten East, is ranked higher at No. 10. The Cotton Bowl isn't played at the Cotton Bowl stadium in Dallas' Fair Park any more; it moved to AT&T Stadium in Arlington in 2010.
FIRST RESPONDER BOWL (Dec. 30, 11:30 a.m. Central)
Western Kentucky (8-4) and Western Michigan (7-5) will duke it out in the First Responder Bowl at SMU's Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas. ESPN reports this will be the sixth meeting between the schools, and their first since 1947.
SUN BOWL (Dec. 31, 1 p.m. Central)
The Sun Bowl in El Paso is the first of two New Year’s Eve bowls in Texas. The Pac 12's Arizona State (7-5) squares off with Florida State (6-6) of the Atlantic Coast Conference. FSU's coach, Willie Taggart, was fired last month; interim coach Odell Haggins will lead the Seminoles on Tuesday. This will be Arizona State’s third consecutive bowl game appearance.
ALAMO BOWL (Dec. 31, 6:30 p.m. Central)
The San Antonio-based bowl will feature an overachiever — No. 11 Utah (11-2) — and an underachiever — unranked Texas (7-5). Utah won the PAC-12 South. UT came into this season seemingly on a roll after winning last season's Sugar Bowl but was derailed by losses at TCU and Iowa State.
ARMED FORCES BOWL (Jan. 4, 10:30 a.m. Central)
Bowl games in Texas wrap up when rivals Southern Mississippi (7-5) and Tulane (6-6) head to Fort Worth for the Armed Forces Bowl. According to the Fort Worth Star Telegram, these two teams have a tradition of tough head-to-head matchups, but haven’t faced each other since 2010.
The NCAA has a full list of bowl games being played over the next several weeks.