Why to watch: The former Big 12 rivals both came within one victory of playing in a BCS bowl game -- Missouri probably would have played in the BCS National Championship if it had defeated Auburn in the SEC championship game -- but they'll have to settle for playing each other in the Cotton Bowl. Both offenses are capable of scoring a lot of points, but both defenses also have been impressive at times.
Who to watch: Missouri's Dorial Green-Beckham, a 6-foot-6 sophomore from Springfield, Mo., looks like the next great receiver in the SEC. After catching 23 passes as a freshman in 2012, he had 55 receptions for 830 yards with 12 touchdowns this season. Green-Beckham had six catches for 144 yards with two scores in the Tigers' 59-42 loss to Auburn in the SEC championship game.
Motivating factor for Oklahoma State: The Cowboys haven't won the Cotton Bowl since beating TCU 34-0 in 1945. The Pokes lost to Ole Miss in each of their last two appearances in the Cotton Bowl: 31-28 in 2004 and 21-7 in 2010.
Motivating factor for Missouri: The Tigers more than proved they belong in the SEC this season, finishing 11-2 and winning the SEC East in only their second season in the league. A victory in the Cotton Bowl would be another remarkable feat after last season's 5-7 finish.
Pick: Missouri 31, Oklahoma State 30
Vanderbilt vs. Houston, Jan. 4 (ESPN, 1 p.m. ET)
Why to watch: Vanderbilt beat Florida, Georgia and Tennessee in the same season for the first time in school history, and now the Commodores have a chance to win bowl games in consecutive seasons for the first time. Houston was one of the country's most-improved teams, going from 5-7 to 8-4 in coach Tony Levine's second season.
Who to watch: Houston receiver Deontay Greenberry, who shunned Notre Dame on signing day in 2012 to sign with the Cougars, has been as good as advertised. As a sophomore, Greenberry caught 76 passes for 1,106 yards with 10 touchdowns. He missed the regular-season finale against SMU because of a leg injury, but is expected to play in the bowl game. He'll be matched up against second-team All-SEC safety Kenny Ladler and second-team All-SEC cornerback Andre Hal.
Motivation for Vanderbilt: The Commodores are accomplishing a plethora of "firsts" under coach James Franklin. By beating Houston, Vanderbilt can win nine games in a season for the second straight year.
Motivation for Houston: The Cougars needed a year to regroup after losing quarterback Case Keenum to the NFL and coach Kevin Sumlin to Texas A&M, but Levine has the program back on track. Beating an SEC opponent in SEC territory would be quite a statement for the Cougars.
Prediction: Houston 27, Vanderbilt 24
Arkansas State vs. Ball State, Jan. 5 (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET)
Why to watch: Besides the GoDaddy commercials, you can watch Arkansas State defensive coordinator John Thompson work as an interim coach for the second straight season. Former Red Wolves coach Bryan Harsin left to become Boise State's coach, a year after Gus Malzahn left to become Auburn's coach. The Red Wolves are playing in the GoDaddy Bowl for the third consecutive season.