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The Trojans won at LSU in September, then taunted the Tigers on Twitter about having them as their homecoming guests. The Trojans’ strength is their defense, which is good by any standard, not just for a mid-major.

Stadium and city: Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La.

Date and time: Dec. 16, 1 p.m. ET

This is a rising program worth tuning into to watch. It won 10 games in 2016 for the first time in program history, and it has followed it up with a great encore. The Trojans have done a really good job under head coach Neal Brown, a rising name in the business.

For more, check out SB Nation’s blog covering the Sun Belt, Underdog Dynasty.
North Texas (9-4, 7-2 in Conference USA)

Seth Littrell’s turnaround at UNT has resulted in two bowl games in two years, and it didn’t take a technicality to reach this one. The 2016 Mean Green got in by way of high Academic Progress Report scores and became the rare bowl team to finish the season with eight losses.

This year’s squad qualified the old-fashioned way and was a lot of fun in doing it. UNT authored one of the season’s coolest moments: a 98-yard, game-winning drive with no timeouts and 1:07 on the clock to beat UTSA in mid-October.