A regional rivalry is the final game of the first day of bowls, as Tulane and Louisiana-Lafayette will square off in New Orleans.
The Ragin' Cajuns started the year with non-conference losses to Arkansas and Kansas State -- both by decisive margins -- before eight straight wins put them on top of the Sun Belt conference. Even with losses to Louisiana-Monroe and South Alabama to end the season, Louisiana-Lafayette took home a share of the conference title.
Tulane is bowling for the first time in over a decade, and head coach Curtis Johnson has done a phenomenal job rebuilding that program. The Green Wave started the year 2-2, with a conference-opening win over Louisiana Tech, and then won their next four games in a row (including big victories over North Texas and East Carolina) to clinch bowl eligibility. They finished the year a little sluggish, with losses to Florida Atlantic, UTSA and Rice, but defeated UTEP 45-3 in their second-to-last game of the season.
Rankings and records: Neither team is ranked. Tulane went 7-5, with a 5-3 conference record good for fourth in the West Division. Louisiana-Lafayette had a 8-4 record, winning a share of the Sun Belt with a 5-2 conference record. The Green Wave hold the all-time series lead 21-5.
Vegas: The game is a pick'em.
Three names to know
Nick Montana. The Tulane quarterback is the son of Hall of Fame quarterback Joe, and threw for 14 touchdowns against nine interceptions this season.
Alonzo Harris. Louisiana-Lafayette uses two running backs, and Harris is the bruiser. He averaged 15.5 carries per game and scored 13 touchdowns.
Elijah McGuire. The Ragin' Cajuns' speed back is a freshman, and averaged nearly nine yards per carry this season.
Two things at stake
Regional superiority is obviously at play here, and the Ragin' Cajuns would love the momentum heading into a bid at next year's Sun Belt title.
Tulane will be looking to win its first bowl game since 2002.
How to witness
TV: 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Radio: Here's a list of Tulane's radio affiliates. Try 1420 AM for Louisiana-Lafayette.
Online streaming: WatchESPN.
Location: New Orleans, La.
Stadium: Mercedes-Benz Superdome (capacity: 76,468)
Last year's score: UL-Lafayette 43, East Carolina 34
Last year's attendance: 48,828
Last year's TV rating: 1.8 share (2.6 million viewers)
Last year's payout for each school: $500,000
Team with the most all-time appearances: Southern Miss and North Texas (4)
Team with the most all-time wins: Southern Miss (3)