Houston (8-4) vs. Vanderbilt (8-4), noon CST (ESPN)
At Legion Field, Birmingham, Ala.
Line: Vanderbilt by 2 1/2
Series Record: First meeting.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
Vanderbilt is looking for its second straight bowl win and only its fourth overall and is trying to close its season with five straight wins. A young Houston team is trying to gain momentum for 2014, when it opens a new stadium. Houston's two-deep depth chart includes only eight seniors.
Vanderbilt safety Kenny Ladler vs. Houston wide receiver Deontay Greenberry. Ladler, a senior, leads the Southeastern Conference with five forced fumbles and ranks second with five interceptions and 60 solo tackles. Greenberry, a sophomore, led the Cougars with 76 catches for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns and is a big reason Houston scored in its first 32 quarters of the season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Houston: QB John O'Korn threw 26 touchdown passes, the most of any true freshman in the nation and only two behind Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater for the American Athletic Conference lead. O'Korn made his first start in the third game of the season against Rice and has six games with three or more TD passes.
Vanderbilt: Senior wide receiver Jordan Matthews set a Southeastern Conference record with 107 catches this season as he earned All-SEC honors for the second straight year. Matthews also set SEC records with 257 career receptions and 3,616 yards receiving.
FACTS & FIGURES
Vanderbilt is playing in its third straight bowl game for the first time, all under coach James Franklin, and only its seventh bowl overall. ... A win would give the Commodores back-to-back nine-win seasons for the first time. ... Vandy beat Georgia, Florida and Tennessee in the same season for the first time. ... The Commodores closed the regular season with four straight wins. ... Houston leads the nation with its plus-25 turnover margin and 40 forced turnovers. .... The Cougars are making their eighth postseason trip in the past 11 seasons. ... Houston joined the American Athletic Conference in 2013 after 17 years in Conference USA. ... Since 2006, Houston has the most total offense (53,396 yards) in the nation. Oregon and Oklahoma rank second and third, respectively, in that span. ... Houston led the AAC with 15 plays of 40 yards or longer.