Motivating factor for Duke: The Blue Devils won 10 games in a season for the first time, and they're playing in bowl games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history. But Duke hasn't won a bowl game since defeating Arkansas 7-6 in the 1961 Cotton Bowl, a 52-year drought.
Motivating factor for Texas A&M: After bursting onto the SEC scene with an 11-2 record in 2012, the Aggies slipped to 8-4 in Year 2, losing their last two games. Texas A&M went 0-4 against ranked opponents -- losing to No. 1 Alabama, No. 24 Auburn, No. 22 LSU and No. 5 Missouri. The Aggies would like to avoid making it 0-5 against the No. 24 Blue Devils.
Pick: Texas A&M 45, Duke 27
Nebraska vs. Georgia, Jan. 1 (ESPN2, noon ET)
Why to watch: If the Gator Bowl goes like the rest of Nebraska and Georgia's seasons, it will probably go down to the wire. Nebraska beat Northwestern 27-24 on a tipped Hail Mary pass on the game's final play Nov. 2, and then threw the winning touchdown with about two minutes left in a 17-13 victory at Michigan the next week. Seven of Georgia's 12 games were decided by a touchdown or less, including a 43-38 loss to Auburn on Nov. 16, in which the Tigers scored on a 73-yard Hail Mary pass with 25 seconds left.
Who to watch: With star quarterback Aaron Murray sidelined with a season-ending knee injury, UGA is getting a sneak peek at junior Hutson Mason, who is expected to start in 2014. In his first college start, Mason led UGA back from a 20-0 deficit at Georgia Tech, completing 22 of 36 passes for 299 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
Motivating factor for Nebraska: The Cornhuskers will be looking for revenge after they lost to Georgia 45-31 in the 2012 Capital One Bowl. The Bulldogs rallied from a 31-23 deficit in the second half, with Murray throwing three touchdowns in the final two quarters. The Cornhuskers will try to end a three-game losing streak in the postseason, which also would give embattled coach Bo Pelini a much-needed lift.
Motivating factor for Georgia: The Bulldogs' once-promising season was derailed by myriad injuries and its porous defense, but star tailback Todd Gurley and receivers Michael Bennett and Chris Conley are expected to be ready for the bowl game. It's a chance for Mason to gain some confidence before he takes over full time next season.
Pick: Georgia 38, Nebraska 31
UNLV vs. North Texas, Jan. 1 (ESPNU, noon ET)
Why to watch: Don't be fooled when you flip through the channels on New Year's Day. No, it isn't a replay of a dramatic regular-season contest. Did you ever think you'd see North Texas and UNLV playing on New Year's Day? The teams combined to win six games in 2012, but they both recovered from slow starts to make the postseason. The Rebels and Mean Green are playing in a bowl game for the first time since 2000 and 2004, respectively.
Who to watch: North Texas receiver Brelan Chancellor, a senior from Copperas Cove, Texas, led the Mean Green with 47 catches for 718 yards with four touchdowns. He's even more dangerous on kick returns, leading Conference USA in both kickoff return average (28.1 yards) and punt return average (16.8). He had a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in a 45-21 loss at Georgia on Sept. 21.