Bowl Predictions 2012: Projecting Top Matchups Outside of BCS Bowls
As we get closer to bowl season, it's time to start looking at potential matchups down the line, including some possible nail-biters in college football's postseason.
Whether it be two high-powered offenses pitted against each other or two similar teams trying to get the edge, here's who I see competing in some big-time bowl games.
Here are my predictions through Week 9 of the 2012-2013 college football season.
Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma vs. LSU
The losses to Kansas State and Notre Dame hurt, but this is still a good team that has displayed an explosive offense and a strong defense for most of the campaign.
With LSU expected to lose to Alabama in Week 10, I expect the Tigers to land in this bowl game, pitting their strong running game and elite defense against the Sooners.
Outback Bowl: Wisconsin vs. South Carolina
With games against Indiana, Ohio State and Penn State remaining on the schedule, I expect Wisconsin to ultimately find itself playing in the Outback Bowl.
The running game should be a challenge for South Carolina, which has had troubles against the rushing attacks of LSU and Florida this season.
The loss of star running back Marcus Lattimore should hurt the Gamecocks in this one, as well.
Gator Bowl: Michigan State vs. Texas A&M
I expect Michigan State to lose a squeaker in Week 10 to No. 20 Nebraska, but the Spartans should be able to win their next two games against Northwestern and Minnesota. That puts them in the Gator Bowl for me.
I see Texas A&M beating Mississippi State, Sam Houston State and Missouri, but losing to Alabama the rest of the way.
This would be a great matchup, pitting an elite run defense against an elite running game complete with dual-threat quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Capital One Bowl: Michigan vs. Georgia
With remaining contests against Minnesota, Northwestern, Iowa and Ohio State, I see Michigan ultimately landing in the Capital One Bowl.
Georgia should win its remaining four contests, but it won't be enough to get further than the Capital One Bowl.
It would be interesting to see how Georgia's defense fared against dual-threat quarterback Denard Robinson. On the other hand, I wonder if Michigan's defense could stop Andy Murray and the Bulldogs.
Alamo Bowl: Texas vs. USC
This would be an explosive offensive game, but the defense of USC would ultimately see the Trojans win in my opinion.
USC isn't a powerhouse defensively (evidenced by the 39-36 loss to Arizona), but it certainly has a better defense than Texas, which gave up a combined 111 points to West Virginia and Oklahoma.
Despite some of Matt Barkley's struggles this season, he should be able to pick apart the Texas defense and a couple of interceptions probably wouldn't even matter.
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