College football bowl mania is in full swing with five games scheduled for New Year’s Day.

Here’s a preview of which players to keep your eye on when the teams take the field.

Editor’s Note: The College Football Playoff rankings are used in this story. Statistics used are from ESPN, and were gathered prior to the start of bowl season. Eastern time is used for kickoff times in this story.

Outback Bowl: No. 13 Northwestern Wildcats vs. No. 23 Tennessee Volunteers


Kickoff: Noon, Eastern time

Site: Raymond James Stadium

Tennessee: Running back Jalen Hurd, sophomore: Hurd was named as an All-SEC Coaches’ second team running back, and is the conference’s fourth leading rusher heading into bowl season.

Tennessee is 3-2 in Hurd’s five 100-yard rushing games in 2015 (Bowling Green, Oklahoma, at Florida, at Missouri and Vanderbilt).

Hurd is the first Tennessee (8-4, 5-3 SEC) sophomore to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.

During his two-year career, the Vols are 8-3 in games where Hurd scores a touchdown.

Northwestern: Running back Justin Jackson, sophomore: Hurd’s counterpart is a talented sophomore running back in his own right.

Jackson was an All-Big Ten second team selection, and was second in the Big Ten in rushing behind Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott.

Entering bowl season, only Alabama's Derrick Henry and Stanford's Christian McCaffrey had more rushing attempts than Jackson this season.

Northwestern (10-2, 6-2 SEC) is 8-0 when Jackson’s eclipses 100 yard rushing yards this season.

Here's how Jackson and Hurd compare this season:

• Hurd: 1,158 rushing yards, 13 total touchdowns, five 100-yard rushing games, 4.6 yards per carry and 253 rushing attempts

• Jackson: 1,344 rushing yards, 4 total touchdowns, eight 100-yard rushing games, 4.5 yards per carry and 298 rushing attempts

Jalen Hurd vs. Justin Jackson this season
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Related: Outback Bowl preview

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl: No. 14 Michigan Wolverines vs. No. 19 Florida Gators


Kickoff: 1 p.m. Eastern time

Site: Orange Citrus Bowl Stadium

Michigan: Quarterback Jake Rudock, senior: Rudock is could still be dealing with an ailing left shoulder, which he sustained in a 42-13 loss to Ohio State. The injury was to his non-throwing shoulder.

Rudock has topped 250 passing yards in each of Michigan’s last four games.

The Wolverines are fourth in the FBS in total defense, and 11th in points allowed, but it’s unclear if star safety Jabrill Peppers will play due to injury.

Michigan (9-3, 6-2 Big Ten) has struggled running the football, and Peppers even got some time at running back this season. However, Michigan has won the time of possession in nine of 12 games this season.

The Wolverines have nearly a six minute time of possession advantage against its opponents this season.

Michigan has only lost the time of possession battle in three of its games this season. The Wolverines lost two of those games.

Florida: Defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard, senior: Florida is sixth in the FBS in total defense, and ninth in points allowed.

The Gators rank seventh nationally with more than three sacks per game, and 12th nationally with 7.5 tackles for loss (TFLs) per game.

Bullard is an All-SEC selection, and leads the Gators with 6.5 sacks and 17.5 TFLs.

Florida (10-3, 7-1 SEC) has forced 25 turnovers in 13 games this season.

Here’s how Bullard compares to other All-SEC defensive lineman.

Coaches All-SEC defensive lineman
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Battlefrog Fiesta Bowl: No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. No. 8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish


Kickoff: 1 p.m. Eastern time

Site: University of Phoenix Stadium

Ohio State running back Eziekiel Elliott (left) and Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith (right) will square off in the Fiesta Bowl.
Ohio State running back Eziekiel Elliott (left) and Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith (right) will square off in the Fiesta Bowl.

Notre Dame: Linebacker Jaylon Smith, junior: Smith received his evaluation from the NFL draft Advisory Board, and was graded as a first-round pick.

The Associated Press first-team All-American joined Manti Te’o as the only Notre Dame players under head coach Brian Kelly to record at least 100 tackles in consecutive seasons.

Some project Smith as a top 10 selection if he decides to enter the 2016 NFL Draft.

Smith led Notre Dame (10-2) with 113 tackles this season.

Ohio State: Running back Ezekiel Elliott, junior: The Big Ten offensive player of the year said he didn’t know his license had been suspended after a minor car accident before the Fiesta Bowl.

Elliott led the Big Ten in rushing with 1,672 yards and 19 rushing touchdowns, while rushing for 6.4 yards per carry.

Elliott scored a touchdown in 11 out of 12 games for Ohio State (11-1, 7-1 Big Ten) this season.

Here's how Elliott compares to other leading rushers in college football.

NCAA FBS college football leading rushers
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Rose Bowl: No. 5 Iowa Hawkeyes vs. No. 6 Stanford Cardinal


Kickoff: 5 p.m. Eastern time

Site: Rose Bowl

Iowa: Cornerback Desmond King, junior: King became the first Hawkeye to win the Jim Thorpe Award, which honors the nation’s top defensive back.

The junior was second in the country with eight interceptions this season, which is tied for an Iowa record.

Iowa (12-1, 8-1 Big Ten) is 6-0 this season in games where King registers an interception.

Stanford: Running back Christian McCaffrey, sophomore: The Heisman runner-up has had a remarkable season.

McCaffrey ran for 100 yards or more in nine straight games at one point this season, and he’s run for 100-plus yards in 10 of 13 games.

The Stanford (11-2, 8-1 Pac 12) sophomore has eclipsed 200 yards rushing in three games this season.

McCaffrey led the nation with 3,496 all-purpose yards (268.9 yards per game), which broke a record held by NFL Hall of Famer Barry Sanders’ record.

Allstate Sugar Bowl: No. 12 Ole Miss Rebels vs. No. 16 Oklahoma State Cowboys


Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. Eastern time

Site: Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Ole Miss: Wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, junior: After a serious leg injury against Auburn ended his season a year ago, Treadwell bounced back in 2015 with 76 receptions for 1,082 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.

Treadwell ranks second in Ole Miss history with 196 career receptions. The junior was one of the three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, which is awarded to the nation’s top receiver.

He’s caught a pass in all 34 games in which he’s played at Ole Miss (9-3, 6-2 SEC).

Oklahoma State: Wide receiver James Washington, sophomore: Washington’s production has caught on towards the end of the year, scoring nine of his 10 total touchdowns in the last six games of the season.

The Oklahoma State (10-2, 7-2 Big 12) sophomore had a mere 52 receptions, but had 1,077 receiving yards (20.7 yard average).

The Rebels defense allowed 300 yards or more in four of their last six games.