Wednesday’s bowl schedule features four games, all of them with totals in the 60s or higher. Here’s a look at the potentially high-scoring matchups. All spreads and totals were taken Tuesday from the consensus odds at VegasInsider.com.
UCF (9-4) might be in rough shape if starting quarterback John Rhys Plumlee can’t play or is limited because of a late-season hamstring injury. Plumlee threw 14 touchdown passes and led the team in rushing yards. Under first-year coach Mike Elko, Duke (8-4) is back in a bowl game for the first time since 2018, and the Blue Devils’ lone loss over their final five games was by two points at Pittsburgh.
Key personnel losses: Duke’s roster is more or less the same as it was during the regular season. UCF might be down to third-string quarterback Thomas Castellanos (a true freshman) because of Plumlee’s injury. Backup quarterback Mikey Keene entered the transfer portal with wide receiver Ryan O’Keefe (team-high 73 catches), linebacker Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste (No. 3 in tackles) and cornerback Davonte Brown (two interceptions). Plus, offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey left to take the same job at North Carolina and defensive coordinator Travis Williams jumped ship to Arkansas.
Pick: Duke -3.5. The Knights’ defense cratered down the stretch, and Duke’s terrible pass defense might catch a break if Plumlee isn’t himself.
Arkansas (-3) vs. Kansas
Over/under total: 68.5
5:30 p.m. Eastern, ESPN
Kansas cracked the Associated Press top 25 for the first time in 13 years after a 5-0 start, but the wheels fell off as the season wore on and the Jayhawks finished 6-6, with all but one loss coming by double digits. Arkansas (6-6) ran the ball 61.3 percent of the time during the regular season (10th nationally) and the Jayhawks had major issues defending the run, ranking 118th in expected points allowed per rush and 97th in rushing success rate.
Key personnel losses: The Razorbacks will be without center Ricky Stromberg, linebacker Drew Sanders and wideout Jadon Haselwood, who opted out to prepare for the NFL draft. Stromberg and Sanders were all-SEC selections, and Haselwood had a team-high 59 receptions. Wide receiver Ketron Jackson Jr., also a starter, entered the transfer portal, and defensive coordinator Barry Odom left to take the head coaching job at UNLV. Kansas could be without wide receiver Lawrence Arnold (team-high 597 receiving yards) and kicker Jacob Borcila, who are battling injuries.
Pick: Arkansas -3. The Razorbacks had a disappointing season and will be missing a few key players, but quarterback KJ Jefferson (seven rushing scores) and running back Raheim Sanders (1,426 rushing yards, 6.5 yards per carry) could feast on Kansas’s substandard rushing defense.
In San Diego
No. 15 Oregon (-14) vs. North Carolina
Over/under total: 75
8 p.m. Eastern, Fox
North Carolina’s pass defense was dreadful — it ranked 128th out of 131 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in success rate and a dead-last 131st in expected points allowed per pass play — and three starters in the secondary have transferred. Oregon’s pass defense was barely better, ranking 124th in success rate, and also lost a key starter in the secondary to the NFL draft. Combine that with two potent offenses — Oregon (9-3) ranked second in success rate and North Carolina (9-4) was 15th — and you can see why this total is astronomically high.
Key personnel losses: The Ducks’ losses include cornerback Christian Gonzalez, a first-team all-conference selection who opted out, and wide receiver Dont’e Thornton, who averaged a team-high 21.5 yards over his 17 receptions and is transferring. North Carolina leading receiver Josh Downs (94 catches, 1,029 yards, 11 touchdowns) opted out, and starting defensive backs Tony Grimes, Storm Duck and Cam’Ron Kelly transferred. Both teams will be without their offensive coordinators: Oregon’s Kenny Dillingham left to become Arizona State’s head coach, and North Carolina’s Phil Longo departed to take the same job at Wisconsin.
Pick: Over 75. These defense-free teams should continue the grand tradition of Holiday Bowl shootouts.
Mississippi (-3.5) vs. Texas Tech
Over/under total: 71
9 p.m. Eastern, ESPN
Neither team wastes any time on offense, with Texas Tech (7-5) leading the nation at 81 plays per game and Mississippi (8-4) ranking fourth at 76. Only four teams had more pass attempts than the Red Raiders; problem is, they ranked 82nd in passing success rate and 95th in expected points added per passing play. But the Rebels finished on a 1-4 skid, giving up 14 touchdown passes and 7.3 yards per attempt with only one interception in that span.
Key personnel losses: The Red Raiders have a few injuries but otherwise have an intact roster. Cornerback Miles Battle is Mississippi’s biggest loss to the transfer portal.
Pick: Texas Tech +3.5. The Red Raiders won their final three games, and quarterback Tyler Shough threw for 436 yards in the finale against Oklahoma. He should find similar success against the Rebels.