Dec. 28, 2 p.m. ET, Shreveport, La. (ESPN)
Ohio take by Big Ten blogger Brian Bennett: Ohio must feel a little envious seeing Northern Illinois go to a BCS game. For a while, it looked the Bobcats might become the first MAC team to break through that glass ceiling. They started out 7-0, including a season-opening win at Penn State, and reached as high as No. 23 in the coaches' poll. Alas, they lost four of their final five games to end any BCS dreams. The season wasn't a total loss, though, as Ohio secured its fourth straight bowl appearance and fifth since 2007 under head coach Frank Solich. This team has experience in the postseason after notching its first-ever bowl win last year. Veteran quarterback Tyler Tettleton and 1,500-yard back Beau Blankenship give the Bobcats a solid chance at another one.
Louisiana-Monroe take by SEC blogger Chris Low: Don’t tell Louisiana-Monroe there are too many bowls. The Warhawks, on the heels of their best season in 20 years, will be making their first-ever appearance in a bowl game when they take on Ohio in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl. It’s a season that started with a bang when Louisiana-Monroe went to Little Rock and shocked No. 8 Arkansas 34-31 in overtime after clawing back from a 21-point deficit. The Warhawks nearly made it two in a row over the SEC, but lost 31-28 in overtime to Auburn the next week. Six days later, they played Baylor to a 47-42 loss. Junior quarterback Kolton Browning makes Louisiana-Monroe’s spread attack go and has had a terrific season. He’s passed for 2,830 yards and 27 touchdowns with only seven interceptions. He also leads the team in rushing with 441 yards and seven touchdowns. Much of the time, the Warhawks will go with an empty backfield and Browning will be in the shotgun by himself. They scored 30 or more points in eight of their 12 games this season, but also gave up 40 or more in their two Sun Belt Conference losses to Louisiana-Lafayette and Arkansas State.