USC, Alabama and 8 Other Teams Poised for BCS Bowl Matchups
With the start of the college football season only a few months away, it's never too early to start talking BCS bowl games.
And while I held out on writing this article significantly longer than some of my colleagues, I've caught college football fever and I cannot wait any longer.
There are a few interesting teams to watch this football season. In the Big Ten, all eyes are on Ohio State and the team's new head coach and expected savior, Urban Meyer. Another interesting team to watch will be Michigan State, particularly how the team will recover after losing great senior leadership.
In the SEC, LSU and Alabama will battle it out yet again for the conference title, but Georgia is a team that could make things interesting. All three could potentially be early favorites for the National Championship game.
In the Pac-12, USC and Oregon seem to be early favorites for the top spot out west. If one of these two teams can stay perfect, there's a good chance that the winner of the Pac-12 will be playing for a national championship.
With so many story lines coming in to play before the season has even started, there are a number of teams that could contend for a BCS bowl bid. However, since I can not choose them all, the following are teams that I believe will have the best chance of making BCS bowl games in 2013.
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Florida State
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Both of these teams weren't over-the-top impressive last season. However, both teams also have veteran quarterbacks this year, and both teams are poised to contend for championships in their respective conferences.
Now, I have Georgia finishing third in the SEC, but a large reason for that is how great I think LSU and Alabama will be. If Georgia were in another BCS conference—such as the ACC—the Bulldogs would have no trouble running the table.
Oklahoma, on the other hand, seems to have a fairly easy path to the Big 12 championship. Kansas State is a team that could give the Sooners some trouble, but other than that, this is a pretty weak conference. Two new additions, West Virginia and TCU, could also contend for the title.
Oklahoma will win the Big 12, giving the team an automatic bid in the Fiesta Bowl. Georgia, despite not winning its conference, will have enough on its resume to also make a BCS game, and this one would make the most sense.
Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Louisville
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Figuring out which team will win the ACC this season isn't easy. While a national championship contender isn't really expected to come from this conference, there are a number of teams that are very evenly matched.
I give the edge to Clemson because of the potential they have on offense. With a great deal of young talent in the Tigers arsenal, Clemson should be able to do just enough to win the ACC this season.
In the Big East, there really isn't any team to get excited about from a talent standpoint. Through the process of elimination, I give the edge to Louisville, but this conference is really up for grabs.
Sugar Bowl: LSU vs. Nebraska
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I have to start by saying that I do not believe either of these teams will win their respective conferences this season.
But both are filled with a great deal of talent, and both should do enough to make a BCS game.
LSU was a pretty easy decision. Despite losing a number of starters to the NFL, the Tigers are still a very viable team and are already early favorites to go back to the BCS National Championship Game.
I like Alabama just a little bit more, but either team could get back there in 2013.
Nebraska wasn't quite as easy of a decision. I think a Big Ten team will face LSU in this game, but I struggled to decide between Nebraska and Michigan State.
When choosing between the two, I believe the team which will generate the most revenue will ultimately get the nod. I believe that Nebraska will be this team.
Rose Bowl: Oregon vs. Michigan
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Welcome back to prominence, Michigan.
Big things are set to happen in Ann Arbor this season, and I believe that these things will culminate into a Big Ten championship for the Wolverines.
With Denard Robinson still under center (I know he can't REALLY throw, but he doesn't really have to) and Brady Hoke in his sophomore season as Michigan's head coach, expect the Wolverines to do just enough to make it back to a BCS bowl game for the second consecutive year.
Oregon is a team I'm not really sure about.
I think that they have the potential to finish anywhere between first and third in the Pac-12. Washington is a dark horse in that conference and has the potential to oust Oregon for a seat at the BCS table.
While I don't think that Oregon will win its conference, a second-place finish should put the Ducks in a good spot to make it back to Pasadena.
BCS National Championship Game: Alabama vs. USC
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Last year's national champion will be back at it again in 2013, only this time they'll be challenging a team from a different conference.
As soon as Matt Barkley decided to stay at USC for another season, I decided that the Trojans were my favorite to win the national championship. That's not to say that Alabama can't get it done, but USC has a lot of talent heading into this season.
Alabama will probably go into the game as the No. 1 team in the country—perhaps on reputation alone. However, if there's been a team in recent memory that has the potential to repeat as champs, it would be the Tide.