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5 Reasons to Watch the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl

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Watch the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl

Cary Edmondson - USA TODAY Sports

On December 21 in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Fresno State Bulldogs will be going head-to-head with the USC Trojans in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl. This could be one of the best bowl games that the early portion of the schedule has to offer.

The Trojans have had their fair share of ups and downs this college football season. They started off their conference schedule 0-2 and even left former head coach Lane Kiffin standing on the tarmac following their ugly 62-41 loss to Arizona State. After naming Ed Orgeron the interim head coach, USC went on a 6-2 run to get to their 9-4 record.

The Bulldogs have been one of the season’s best surprises. They began the season with an exciting 52-51 overtime win over Rutgers, and Derek Carr rose into the national spotlight. Unfortunately, their BCS dreams were busted when they fell to San Jose State in a thrilling 62-52 contest in the final game of their season.

This game features many different fun and exciting things. It has future NFL players, pride on the line and there’s a little something extra added to the motivation of each and every player when it’s a bowl game. Don’t let the fact that it’s an early bowl season matchup fool you; this is one to watch.

On the following slides you’ll find five reasons why you should tune in this coming Saturday afternoon to watch the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl.

Don’t forget to check out Connor Muldowney’s game preview and prediction.

Brian Skinnell is a freelance sports writer for and contributor at Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter and add him to your network on Google.

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5. Top 25 Matchup

Kirby Lee - USA TODAY Sports

Who doesn’t love a good top 25 matchup in an early season bowl game? The Bulldogs have a lot to play for, and so do the Trojans. Both teams are inside the top 25, and playing in an early season bowl game certainly isn’t quite living up to the early-to-mid-season expectations. This should be a good game between two schools that are playing some good football.

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4. Validation for Both Schools

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a rough year for the Trojans. They have been the laughing stock of college football, gone through the always difficult ride that is a head coaching change, and have been a big disappointment. However, a victory over 20th-ranked Fresno State would help greatly in moving on from this difficult season.

For Fresno State, they were headed to a BCS bowl game until the Spartans of San Jose State ended that dream. The big knock on them has been their strength of schedule, thus why they never cracked the top 15 in the polls. Defeating a ranked USC squad will help in showing the nation that they were for real this year and for years to come.

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3. Strength vs. Strength

Jayne Kamin Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

This game will feature a dynamic strength on strength matchup. The strongest part of the Bulldogs lies on the offensive side of the football and their passing attack. For the Trojans, their defense has become one of the best in the Pac-12.

The Trojans rank 16th in the FBS in total defense and give up just 214.5 yards per game passing. On the other side, Fresno State leads the FBS with 409.8 pass yards per game. This is the matchup that will determine which team comes out on top.

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2. Marqise Lee

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Marqise Lee is one of a few players that has NFL potential and will be playing in this game. Entering the season he was near the top of numerous award lists but has since fallen short of expectations. On the season, he’s had just 50 receptions for 673 yards and two touchdowns. Don’t underestimate him, however, as he could make the Bulldogs' defense pay.

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1. Derek Carr

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

If I could only give you one reason to watch the game, this would be it. Derek Carr has NFL written all over him and has statistically been the most impressive quarterback in the FBS this season. He’s led the Bulldogs to their 11-1 record while throwing for 4,866 yards and 48 touchdowns with just seven interceptions. He’s put together a quarterback rating of 161.5 and currently holds a 70.1-percent completion percentage.