What's buzzing:

Dr. Saturday

New Orleans Bowl preview: Louisiana-Lafayette vs. East Carolina

Frank Schwab
Dr. Saturday

View gallery

.

(USA Today Sports Images)

New Orleans Bowl
Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4) vs. East Carolina (8-4)
Dec. 22, 12 p.m. ET (ESPN)

About the Ragin' Cajuns: Under coach Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana-Lafayette is becoming accustomed to going to the postseason. That's notable considering the program had two bowl berths before last season - the 1944 Oil Bowl and the 1970 Grantland Rice Bowl. This is the second straight bowl berth for the Cajuns, and last year's bowl appearance was a last-second win over San Diego State, also in the New Orleans Bowl. Last year, the bowl set a record for attendance of 42,841 and this year there will probably be another pro-Cajuns crowd.

About the Pirates: East Carolina is led by a trio of stars at the skill positions.

View gallery

.

ECU WR Justin Hardy (USA Today Sports Images)

Quarterback Shane Carden began the season as the backup, but emerged to throw for 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions in the regular season. A huge majority of his passes go to Justin Hardy, who has 83 catches for 1,046 yards this season, including a school record 16 catches in ECU's last game. Nobody else on East Carolina has more than 354 yards or 31 catches this season. The Ragin' Cajuns will know exactly where East Carolina wants to go with the ball, but it has been impossible for anyone to stop it so far this season. And ECU can also use running back Vintavious Cooper, who had just 28 carries through four games to start the season but ended the year as the workhorse with 1,030 yards.

Key number: 1-5
In East Carolina's last six bowl appearances, the Pirates have just one win. That streak dates back to 2001, when they lost 64-61 to Marshall in the highest scoring bowl game in history. The only bowl win since then came in 2007 against Boise State.

The breakdown: This game has the look of a high-scoring affair, because both teams have capable playmakers. East Carolina scored at least 40 points in four of its last six games. Louisiana-Lafayette has scored less than 23 points in a game just once this season, and that was a 20-point outing against a Florida team that has one of the best defenses in college football.

Predictions
Frank Schwab: Louisiana-Lafayette 40, East Carolina 31
This is a Cajuns team that outplayed Florida for most of a game at Gainesville and lost on a last-minute blocked punt. That's the same Florida team which finished third in the BCS standings and will play in the Sugar Bowl in a couple weeks. The Cajuns are a good team and will have a pseudo home-field advantage.

Graham Watson: Louisiana-Lafayette 33, ECU 21
I think we’ve learned this season that you should never sleep on the Sun Belt. It's a good conference and the Ragin’ Cajuns are one of the best teams no one’s talking about. They won four of their last five (and should have beaten Florida) and should be able to handle East Carolina, which has been streaky most of the season.

- - -
Got a tip for Dr. Saturday? Email us at dr.saturday@ymail.com . You can also connect with us via Twitter @YahooDrSaturday and be sure to "Like" Dr. Saturday on Facebook for football conversations and stuff you won't see on the blog.

View Comments (2)
  • Team Brunel wins transatlantic leg of Volvo Ocean Race

    Team Brunel scored a close win on the transatlantic seventh leg of the Volvo Ocean Race on Wednesday to move into third place overall. Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking, 51, is contesting a record-equaling seventh race and is still chasing a first … More »

    AP - Sports - 9 minutes ago
  • NHL Three Stars: Brassard's five leads to Seven

    NHL Three Stars: Brassard's five leads to Seven

    The Rangers center had a five-point night in their 7-3 rout of the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final. He tallied a hat trick, including an empty netter, and assisted on goals by J.T. Miller and Keith Yandle. … More »

    Puck Daddy - 17 minutes ago
  • Swiss justice office says has blocked bank accounts in FIFA probe

    Swiss justice office says has blocked bank accounts in FIFA probe

    The Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) said it had blocked accounts at several banks in Switzerland after police arrested some of the most powerful figures in global soccer on Wednesday in U.S. and Swiss corruption cases. "Further to three U.S. … More »

    Reuters - 24 minutes ago
  • FIFA says Blatter to seek fifth term despite arrests

    By Brian Homewood ZURICH (Reuters) - Football's governing body FIFA called the arrest of six of its leading officials on bribery charges a "difficult moment" but said it would not derail President Sepp Blatter's bid to win a fifth term in an … More »

    Reuters - 29 minutes ago
  • Swiss arrest top global football officials in U.S., Swiss corruption cases

    Swiss arrest top global football officials in U.S., Swiss corruption cases

    By Mike Collett and Brian Homewood ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss police arrested some of the most powerful figures in global football on Wednesday, announcing a criminal investigation into the awarding of the next two World Cups and plunging the world's … More »

    Reuters - 29 minutes ago