Date: Dec. 23, 8 p.m. ET on ESPN
Location: Mobile, Alabama | Ladd-Peebles Stadium
Georgia Southern Eagles
Best moment: Georgia Southern’s 37-13 win over Texas State on Oct. 29 made the Eagles bowl eligible for the first time in program history. After winning the Sun Belt in 2014 (going 8-0 in league play) the Eagles were denied a bowl game because they were in their first FBS season after moving up from FCS play. NCAA rules disallow teams in their “transitional year” from playing in the postseason and the Eagles unsuccessfully appealed. This year the Eagles were eligible and secured their shot at the postseason when they beat the Bobcats.
Lowest moment: This team is used to being competitive with (and in some cases, defeating) Power 5 opponents, so it was disappointing for the Eagles to open up this season with being shutout 44-0 at West Virginia. After beating Florida in 2013 and losing by a combined five points to North Carolina State and Georgia Tech in 2014, certainly the Eagles imagined they’d be more competitive in Morgantown on Sept. 5, but four second-half touchdowns turned a 16-0 game at halftime into a rout.
Key player: The Eagles are a run-heavy team and junior running back Matt Breida leads the way. Coming into the weekend, Breida ranked second in the Sun Belt in rushing yards (1,495) and first in rushing touchdowns (16). He averages a whopping 8.3 yards per carry, tops in the nation among running backs.
Motivation level: Sky high. Taking their first swing at a bowl is a huge chance to make a positive impression on a national audience. The Eagles came oh-so-close to knocking off an SEC foe – Georgia – in November but lost 23-17 in overtime. Winning their first bowl appearance would be significant, and considering their winning tradition (both historically in the FCS and in their first two years of FBS play) there’s no doubt the Eagles will expect to win.
-- Sam Khan Jr.
Bowling Green Falcons
Best moment: The Falcons beat some quality Mid-American Conference teams this year -- Akron, Ohio and Western Michigan among them -- but it's extra sweet when a MAC team can storm into a Big Ten stadium and earn a victory. Travis Greene's 9-yard touchdown against Purdue with 12 seconds left helped seal a 35-28 Bowling Green win on Sept. 26. Two weeks earlier, Bowling Green won at Maryland. It marked the first time Bowling Green beat two power-conference schools in the same season since 2003.
Lowest moment: Bowling Green lost its Battle of I-75 rivalry game to Toledo 44-28. It marked the only time in the team's final seven regular-season games in which the high-octane Falcons failed to reach at least 41 points.
Key player: Quarterback Matt Johnson has been phenomenal this season, putting up numbers you generally see only in video games. During the regular season, he completed 68.9 percent of his passes for 4,465 yards with 41 touchdowns and only six interceptions.
Motivation level: Dino Babers has become a hot coaching commodity and it remains to be seen whether he'll bolt Bowling Green for a more high-profile job. He has worked wonders with the Falcons' offense and players no doubt would want to send him out on a high note if he indeed chooses to leave.
-- Jesse Temple