College Football Predictions: Early Projections for 2013 BCS Bowls
With the college football season so far away, it seems silly to make bowl projections.
But, with five more months of nothing but NBA and MLB action to distract us, what else can we do? The whole season builds towards the bowls, and thus they are always fun to try and predict.
Here are the early spring projections for the 2013 BCS bowl games.
Rose Bowl: Oregon Ducks vs. Michigan Wolverines
You may be surprised to see Oregon here instead of USC, but with all the talent they have coming back, I project that the Trojans will not only win the Pac-12 but also make it to the BCS National Championship Game.
However, a solid Ducks team still has a good shot to earn an at-large bid and keep the Pac-12-Big Ten matchup a possibility. Darron Thomas's departure was surprising and detrimental, but they still have Kenjon Barner, De'Anthony Thomas and a bunch of other talent.
As far as the Big Ten goes, I see the championship coming down to Michigan or Michigan State. With Kirk Cousins departing and Denard Robinson coming back for his senior season, the edge goes to the Wolverines.
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Cincinnati Bearcats
With regards to the ACC championship, the best bet is always Virginia Tech.
The Hokies return quarterback Logan Thomas and nine starters on defense next season, and will claim the conference title yet again.
The Orange Bowl has last choice of the at-larges and will have to settle for the Big East Champion. With West Virginia gone, the projected conference champion is Cincinnati.
The Orange Bowl will get stuck with an unattractive rematch of the 2009 game.
Sugar Bowl: Georgia Bulldogs vs. Michigan State Spartans
The Sugar Bowl will lose the SEC champion to the BCS Championship Game (as they always do), but they will get a fine SEC replacement in Georgia, who will have an excellent season with Aaron Murray, Jarvis Jones and Malcolm Mitchell returning.
The Sugar Bowl won't like a rematch of Georgia and Michigan State so soon, but last year's game was a thriller and it'll be much better than their other choice (the Big East champion).
With the talent they have returning, Michigan State won't be able to win the Big Ten, but they will finish high enough to earn an at-large.
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma Sooners vs. Clemson Tigers
The Big 12 championship will be more highly contested in 2012 with the addition of West Virginia and TCU joining the conference.
However, with Landry Jones staying in school, the Oklahoma Sooners will still take the prize.
The Fiesta Bowl will have first choice of the at-larges in 2013, and thus they will be able to create an attractive match-up.
With the SEC already using up its maximum bids, the ACC runner-up will be an excellent choice. Clemson returns Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins, and six starters on defense, and thus will be a force in the Atlantic Division.
BCS National Championship Game: USC Trojans vs. LSU Tigers
USC may come back from probation with a bang this year with the boatload of talent that they have returning.
Eighteen starters are coming back, the most important, of course, being Matt Barkley.
Historically, we can say with considerable confidence that the team they will be facing will be from the SEC. It's likely going to be either LSU or Alabama, but people should keep an eye on South Carolina, Georgia and Arkansas as well.
For now, the projected SEC Champion is LSU.
Alabama lost too many players on defense, and it will hurt them in the beginning of the season as it did in 2010. Tyrann Mathieu and the Tigers will have the strongest defense in the country, and defense wins championships.