After a brief hiatus, college football is back! Today marks the beginning of the 2015-2016 bowl season, and we have a quintet of games to start the season off.
Assuming you don't have a vested interest in a particular game (i.e., your school is playing), and don't necessarily want to watch for love of the game, here's the rundown of today's games and some players to keep your eyes on when it comes to the New York Giants and the 2016 NFL Draft.
New Mexico Bowl (2 p.m. ET, ESPN)
New Mexico vs. Arizona
The first of the bowl games sees Rich Rodriguez's Arizona Wildcats take on the New Mexico Lobos. Rich Rod's up-tempo, zone read offense is always fun to watch, even if it only bears a passing resemblance to NFL football.
Arizona boasts the two players who will likely be garnering the most attention from scouts: offensive lineman Lene Maiava and defensive end Reggie Gilbert.
Maiava is a 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive tackle from the Somoan Islands, and the red shirt senior is one of the leaders of the Wildcats' offense.
Gilbert is a bit of a tweener at defensive end. At 6-3, 262 he is a bit undersized for a traditional 43 spot, and may be better suited to be a rush linebacker in a 34 front. He appears to have good strength and long arms, holding up well in run defense.
Las Vegas Bowl (3:30 p.m., ABC)
BYU vs. Utah
The story of this game is Utah running back Devontae Booker. The Giants don't need a running back -- they need a consistently healthy offensive line and solid commitment from the coaching staff -- but Booker is a fun back to watch. He isn't especially fast, or powerful, he is quick, has great vision and balance, and is a violent runner. The big question about him is whether or not he will play. Booker tore his meniscus in November and is listed as "Doubtful" for the game. It doesn't help that Utah's top wide receivers, Britain Covey and Kenneth Scott, are listed as questionable as well.
Inside linebacker Jared Norris might be the top player on the field in the Las Vegas Bowl. He is a smart, instinctive, and tough linebacker who plays fast despite athletic limitations. He is at his best going downhill, and has some ability in coverage as long as he isn't asked to do too much.
On the BYU sideline, defensive end Bronson Kaufusi is a player to watch. He is generally considered a late/middle-round prospect, but his size -- 6-6, 270 pounds -- should be intriguing to the Giants. He backed up Ezekial Ansah but still notched 23 tackles and 4.5 sacks that year. He also played on BYU's basketball team.
Camellia Bowl (5 p.m., ESPN)
Ohio vs. Appalachian State
Cure Bowl (7 p.m., CBS Sports Network)
Georgia State vs. San Jose State
Honestly, nobody in these games stands out as a "must watch" for draft season. However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't watch the games. There are always under the radar prospects who jump off the screen. It also doesn't mean that the games won't be entertaining.
New Orleans Bowl (9 p.m., ESPN)
Louisiana Tech vs. Arkansas State
My other favorite running back that isn't getting talked about: Kenneth Dixon of Louisiana Tech. Similar to Booker, Dixon isn't an elite athlete, but he has the agility, patience, vision, and balance to take full advantage of his blocking. Generally he is a determined North-South runner who can be hard to bring down. He holds the La Tech records for yards, rushing touchdowns, and total touchdowns. And surprisingly, Dixon is already a pretty solid pass protector, which is sure to catch the eye of some NFL team.
Defensive tackle Vernon Butler is another player worth watching. At 6-3, 309, Butler will likely find his home as a 3-technique in the NFL. Butler hasn't been much of a pass rusher in college, with just five sacks over the last two years, but he does know how to get into the backfield and has 25.5 tackles for a loss over that period.
Finally, QB Jeff Driskel is interesting. If you recognize the name it is likely from his time at Florida, where he was first highly thought of then largely flamed out. However after a transfer to LA Tech, Driskel looks more comfortable and seems to be putting his physical talents to better use. Some NFL team will likely draft him on the belief that they can harness his potential.