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Gridiron CANCON

Canadians dip into U.S. bowl season Add to ...

Roughly 50 Canadians play football in the U.S. National Collegiate Athletic Association's top division.

The "Football Bowl Subdivision," previously known as Division 1-A, is forever mired in controversy about whether it should move to a pure playoff system, or determine its national champion in a slate of bowl games. It is a debate that has brought comment from President Barack Obama, and attention from U.S. legislators, but for the time being, the holiday-season tradition of bowl games continues.

Here's a look at the Canadian players who will participate in bowls between Saturday and Jan. 10.

New Mexico Bowl, Dec. 18, Brigham Young Cougars v. Texas at El Paso Miners

Junior linebacker Jadon Wagner (Lethbridge, Alta.) started eight games for the Cougars and had six tackles for loss. His brother, Aaron, played at BYU and for the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders before retiring in May.

Las Vegas Bowl, Dec. 22, Boise State Broncos v. Utah Utes

Despite being a backup, junior defensive end Tyrone Crawford (Windsor, Ont.) led Boise State with 13 tackles for loss and had 6 1/2 sacks. He is generating NFL attention. His former high-school teammate, defensive tackle Michael Atkinson (Windsor), played in four games before being suspended indefinitely.

Hawaii Bowl, Dec. 24, Tulsa Golden Hurricane v. Hawaii Warriors

Tulsa offensive tackle Tyson Holmes (Ottawa) has made 32 career starts and is still just a junior. The blind-side protector is the son of former NFL and CFL running back Richard Holmes.

Texas Bowl, Dec. 29, Baylor Bears v. Illinois Fighting Illini

Canadians form two-fifths of Baylor's offensive line. Senior left tackle Danny Watkins (Kelowna, B.C.) is an NFL prospect, while junior centre Philip Blake (Toronto) is the No. 1-ranked prospect for the 2011 CFL draft.

Military Bowl, Dec. 29, Maryland Terrapins v. East Carolina Pirates

Backup cornerback Michael Carter (Windsor), who counts St. Louis Rams safety Oshiomogho Atogwe as a cousin, will finish his Maryland career.

Sun Bowl, Dec. 31, Notre Dame Fighting Irish v. Miami Hurricanes

Jamaican-born offensive lineman Orlando Franklin (Toronto) made a stop in Canada before moving to Florida. After 38 career starts for the Hurricanes, he could be a second-round pick in the 2011 NFL draft, and may never set foot in the CFL.

Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1, Michigan State Spartans v. Alabama Crimson Tide

Michigan State offensive lineman J'Michael Deane (Toronto) was selected by the Calgary Stampeders in the third round of last year's CFL draft. The former defensive lineman salvaged his Spartans career by making 11 starts at right tackle this season.

Outback Bowl, Jan. 1, Florida Gators v. Penn State Nittany Lions

Stephen Alli (Toronto) is a reserve receiver for the Gators who dressed for 12 games and made three catches.

Gator Bowl, Jan. 1, Michigan Wolverines v. Mississippi State Bulldogs

Michigan defensive tackle Renaldo Sagesse (Montreal) has been a career backup. The senior is playing his final college game.

Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 1, Connecticut Huskies v. Oklahoma Sooners

The Huskies count two Canadian starters: centre Moe Petrus (Saint-Laurent, Que.), and defensive end Jesse Joseph (Saint-Laurent). Tight end John Delahunt (Ottawa) has also started. Joseph led the team with 8 1/2 sacks and 11 1/2 tackles for loss. Petrus has 37 career starts and is a top prospect for the 2011 CFL draft.

Orange Bowl, Jan. 3, Stanford Cardinal v. Virginia Tech Hokies

Brian Bulcke (Windsor) started eight games for Stanford along the defensive line, registering 4 1/2 tackles for loss. Selected by the Edmonton Eskimos with the sixth pick in the 2010 CFL draft, Bulcke bounced back from a season-ending thumb injury in 2009.

BCS National Championship Game, Jan. 10, Oregon Ducks v. Auburn Tigers

Just a red-shirt freshman, Bo Lokombo (Abbotsford, B.C.) has broken into Oregon's defensive rotation and sees plenty of snaps at outside linebacker. He recovered three fumbles, returning one for a touchdown.

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