BCS Rankings 2012: Expert Bowl Game Projections Going into Week 8

Jake MartinCorrespondent IIIOctober 7, 2012

BCS Rankings 2012: Expert Bowl Game Projections Going into Week 8

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    Should the experts' BCS bowl game projections hold true, fans can expect to see Alabama defending its national championship on Jan. 7, 2013.

    That's not exactly going out on a limb, but it certainly sparks a fun debate about which team Alabama will face.

    After LSU and Georgia fell last Saturday to Florida and South Carolina, respectively, could we have another All-SEC national championship game?

    Better yet, are Florida and South Carolina BCS-caliber teams?

    Let's examine the BCS bowl predictions of CBS expert Jerry Palm and ESPN experts Mark Schlabach and Brad Edwards, shall we?

Discover Orange Bowl

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    Palm: Florida State vs. Boise State

    Schlabach: Florida State vs. Rutgers

    Edwards: Florida State vs. Louisville

    It seems as if the experts have written off the possibility of Florida State winning a national championship this season.

    Heck, after losing to NC State, that seems to be a wise decision. The Seminoles' strength of schedule won't allow them to make the championship game with one loss, especially if an SEC team only has one loss as well.

    So this is a really good pick by the experts, especially since the Seminoles should take care of business in the ACC with relative ease. But the experts offer some interesting picks for opponents, with Palm's being the most notable.

    Really? Boise State? Boise State had its chance and lost its chance. What exactly has this team accomplished to warrant a BCS bowl game? The Broncos barely squeezed by New Mexico and BYU, and they lost to an overrated Michigan State team. What's so impressive about that?

    Looking at all three picks, Edwards' looks to be the most solid. Rutgers is playing good football, but Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater will be the X-factor in the last game of the regular season when Rutgers collides with Louisville. Simply put, Bridgewater is good enough to lead his team to a BCS berth.

    My Prediction: Florida State vs. Cincinnati

Allstate Sugar Bowl

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    Palm: Georgia vs. Louisville

    Schlabach: South Carolina vs. Kansas State

    Edwards: South Carolina vs. Kansas State

    Both ESPN guys agreed on this pick, but Palm's pick was, in the words of Harry Doyle in Major League, "just a bit outside."

    Please explain how Palm predicted Georgia to make the Sugar Bowl after South Carolina defeated it last Saturday. The only reasonable explanation would be that he believes Georgia will run the table while South Carolina will lose two more games this season.

    South Carolina still has LSU and Florida on the schedule, but Georgia still has to play Florida as well.

    At this point, South Carolina looks more likely to beat Florida, and with LSU reeling from the loss in The Swamp, the Gamecocks go into Baton Rouge this Saturday with a lot more swagger than the Tigers. Who would have predicted that before the season?

    So South Carolina makes more sense right now, and the Big 12 is good enough to have two teams make a BCS bowl. Having one of them play in the Sugar Bowl and another play in the Fiesta Bowl is a wise choice.

    My Prediction: South Carolina vs. Kansas State

Rose Bowl

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    Palm: USC vs. Nebraska

    Schlabach: USC vs. Michigan

    Edwards: USC vs. Nebraska

    Well, what do you know? Palm and an ESPN analyst can agree for once.

    The Big Ten race is an absolute mess right now. Ohio State is beating everybody left and right, which doesn't do the conference any favors because of the Buckeyes' postseason ban.

    Choosing between teams with obvious weaknesses can be a chore. Because Michigan and Nebraska are the teams that these experts picked, let's examine both squads. Since playing Alabama and Air Force, Michigan's defense has really turned it up a notch and is now second in the league in total defense.

    Meanwhile, Nebraska is coming off a loss to Ohio State, where it gave up a total of 63 points. Yikes—that's not going to help Bo Pelini's ego. However, because Ohio State looks to be the best team in the conference and Michigan will play it at the end of the year, Nebraska is actually the safer pick. Besides Michigan, Nebraska should be favored for the remainder of the regular season.

    As for the USC pick: Spot on, fellas. Spot on.

    My Prediction: USC vs. Nebraska

Fiesta Bowl

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    Palm: Kansas State vs. Notre Dame

    Schlabach: West Virginia vs. Notre Dame

    Edwards: West Virginia vs. Notre Dame

    Look at ol' Notre Dame getting some love.

    The Irish apparently have made believers out of the experts, but where the experts disagree is which Big 12 team will face Notre Dame. Will it be Kansas State or West Virginia?

    Well, when it comes to winning the Big 12, it's all about which teams have the most offensive power. It's not like the SEC, where the best defense trumps every other team in the league.

    After leading with that preamble, it's pretty obvious which pick makes the most sense. West Virginia has the most explosive offense not only in the Big 12, but in the entire country, and with Kansas State giving up 363.4 yards per contest, there's no telling how many points this Mountaineer offense will put up on the board come Oct. 20.

    Oddly enough, all three experts, as well as myself, agree that West Virginia is the better team...

    My Prediction: West Virginia vs. Louisiana Tech

BCS Title Game

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    Palm: Alabama vs. West Virginia

    Schlabach: Alabama vs. Oregon

    Edwards: Alabama vs. Oregon

    It's respectable to try and shake things up like Palm did, but his predictions for the most part are just off.

    As things stand right now in Week 6, there's not a matchup that makes more sense in the championship game than Alabama and Oregon.

    The SEC West is much weaker than it was a year ago for Alabama to run the table and make the SEC championship game, and other than beating USC twice and beating Oregon State, Oregon's challenges ahead are minuscule.

    As for West Virginia, yeah, its offense is spectacular and it's fun to watch, but that defense is absolutely horrendous. We're talking about a unit here that's giving up 460 yards per game. So as West Virginia plays high-caliber offenses such as Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas State, West Virginia will have to win a shootout every time.

    That's dangerous, and honestly, that defense isn't stable enough to formulate a national championship pick around. Alabama and Oregon is the easy call, but more importantly, it's the right call.

    My Prediction: Alabama vs. Oregon