Western Kentucky vs. South Alabama live stream, watch online, tv, prediction, pick, New Orleans Bowl odds

One of the best Group of Five defenses will face one of the best Group of Five offenses on Wednesday when South Alabama and Western Kentucky square off in the New Orleans Bowl. The Hilltoppers are looking for their third nine-win season in four years under coach Tyson Helton, while the Jaguars are looking to cap off their best season in program history with a win under second-year coach Kane Wommack.

Western Kentucky enters 8-5 (6-2 Conference USA), ranked No. 9 nationally in total offense and No. 2 in passing offense at 339.2 yards per game. South Alabama has an equally tough defense as the Jaguars rank No. 12 in total defense allowing just 302.8 yards per game.

South Alabama finished tied atop its Sun Belt division but missed out on an appearance in the conference title game due to a tiebreaker with Troy, which won the regular-season meeting between the teams 10-6 back on Oct. 20 . South Alabama’s two losses came by a total of five points this season as Wommack completed a quick turnaround in his second season after a three-year stint on the staff at Indiana. WKU is counting on a staff and roster more seasoned in bowl games as the Hilltoppers are 2-1 so far under Helton in bowl games.

How to watch the New Orleans Bowl live

Date: Wednesday, Dec. 21 | year: 9 p.m. ET
Location: Caesars Superdome — New Orleans, Louisiana
TV: ESPN | Live broadcast: fuboTV (Try Free)

Western Kentucky vs. South Alabama: Need to know

Historic opportunity: South Alabama is making just its third bowl appearance and is jockeying for its first bowl win. The Jaguars made the Camellia Bowl in 2014 but lost 33-28 to Bowling Green. In 2016, they made the Arizona Bowl but lost 45-21 to Air Force. The Jaguars have already assured themselves of their first winning season since joining the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2012, and securing the program’s first bowl win would be icing on the cake for a stellar season.

Reed’s big news: Western Kentucky’s 2023 football roster secured a big win last week when quarterback Austin Reed announced he is returning for another season. Reed transferred from Division II West Florida for the 2022 season and lit it up in Helton’s pass-happy system, throwing for 4,249 yards and 36 touchdowns in the regular season. Reed topped 400 yards passing in three games and topped 250 yards in all but one game. However, this South Alabama defense might be the best unit it has faced this season.

Balanced Attack: South Alabama will counter WKU’s aerial attack with a balanced approach. Junior quarterback Carter Bradley has thrown for 2,966 yards and 25 touchdowns this season after committing to the next four seasons in Toledo. Running back La’Damian Webb, a Florida State transfer, has rushed for 1,019 yards and 13 touchdowns while averaging 5.1 yards per carry.

New Orleans Bowl prediction, picks

Selected game | South Alabama Jaguars vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Western Kentucky is an established program with a lot of bowl success over the past decade and is 2-1 in bowl games under fourth-year coach Tyson Helton. South Alabama is seeking its first bowl win to close out a banner season for the program. Motivation should be through the roof for the Jaguars, who have one of the best defenses in the Group of Five. Second-year coach Kane Wommack has done a remarkable job of turning South Alabama into one of the top teams in the Sun Belt, and he should have his team ready to make a statement against Western Kentucky’s run-happy offense. Forecast: South Alabama -4.5

What college football picks can you make with confidence during bowl season, and which underdogs will win outright? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned nearly $2,500 in profit over the past six-plus seasons — and find out.

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