BCS Bowl Predictions: Best Bets for Biggest Matchups
Every spot in every BCS bowl is still up for grabs as the college football season is winding down, leaving the final two weeks of the season to determine the layout for college football's biggest bowl games.
Teams like the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Alabama Crimson Tide, Stanford Cardinal and more are virtual locks to play in a BCS bowl, but which one?
A fast and furious two weeks are ahead of us to work out the BCS picture, so let's take a look at how each BCS bowl should play out.
Orange Bowl (ACC vs. Big East)
The Orange Bowl is going to be held between the ACC champ and the Big East champ this year.
The big game that will determine the ACC champ will be played between No. 12 Clemson and No. 11 South Carolina.
The Tigers are 0-1 against Top 25 opponents this season after losing to Florida State by 12. The Gamecocks, on the other hand, beat Georgia 35-7 and nearly beat LSU this season. Thanks to its experience against Top 25 opponents, South Carolina will win this game, with Florida State taking the ACC crown.
Florida State will await the Big East champ, who could be the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Louisville Cardinals, Syracuse Orange or Cincinnati Bearcats after Cuse and Cincy won this week, and Rutgers and Louisville lost.
The Big East will be determined in a game between Rutgers and Louisville on Thursday, and the short week and home-field advantage will lift Rutgers to a victory and the outright Big East Championship.
The bowl itself won't be nearly as interesting as the games that will determine who plays in it, however, as a battle-tested Florida State team is going to knock the snot out of Rutgers.
Prediction: Florida State 38, Rutgers 13
Sugar Bowl (SEC vs. at-large)
With Florida beating Florida State this week, the Gators essentially ensure that they will be part of the Sugar Bowl.
The team will be third in the SEC and miss out on the SEC Championship Game, but with the winner of the game moving on to the national championship game and the loser falling out of the top five in the country, the Gators will sneak into the Sugar Bowl as the SEC representative.
The team will be playing an at-large team, and that team will be the Oklahoma Sooners.
After beating Oklahoma State, Landry Jones and Co. are headed up the rankings and will remain unscathed during the conference championship games since the Big 12 does not have enough teams to hold a conference championship game.
Florida's stingy defense against Oklahoma's high-powered offense will make for an interesting matchup, with the difference in the game being Florida's elite rushing attack.
Prediction: Florida 27, Oklahoma 23
Rose Bowl (Big Ten vs. Pac-12)
The Rose Bowl is always a great matchup, but this season it could get ugly.
The Big Ten's top two teams, Ohio State and Penn State, are not bowl eligible this season, which means that Wisconsin will be a part of the Big Ten Championship Game. The Badgers will be smashed by Nebraska in the game, with the Cornhuskers heading to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl.
The Pac-12 will be represented by Stanford after the team tops UCLA on Saturday. Owning the tiebreaker over Oregon, the team will win the Pac-12 North and will play UCLA once again in the Pac-12 Championship Game. With a second victory the team will play in the Rose Bowl.
Stanford's balanced offensive attack is going to put up some points against Nebraska, while the team's defense stymies the Cornhuskers. Look for the Cardinal to be your Rose Bowl champs.
Prediction: Stanford 28, Nebraska 20
Who will win this year's Rose Bowl?
Fiesta Bowl (Big 12 vs. at-large)
After completing an impressive regular season with a victory over No. 16 Texas, Kansas State will finish the season with just one loss.
While the team will miss out on the BCS National Championship Game, it will still win the Big 12 and will earn a spot in the Fiesta Bowl.
The Wildcats will play against an at-large team, with this spot going to the Oregon Ducks, who also finish the season 11-1. After taking down No. 15 Oregon State on the road, the team had hope of winning the Pac-12 North, but after Stanford beat UCLA the Ducks came up just short in the Pac-12 and have to settle for the Fiesta Bowl instead of the Rose Bowl.
In a high-scoring affair between Collin Klein's Kansas State passing offense and Kenjon Barner's Oregon rushing attack, this game is going to turn into a shootout.
Oregon has had more experience against quality teams, however, and I see the Ducks pulling out another victory against a Top 25 opponent in a close game.
Prediction: Oregon 41, Kansas State 38 (OT)
BCS National Championship Game (BCS No. 1 vs. BCS No. 2)
Who will win the national championship?
With Notre Dame beating rival USC on the road, the Irish will clinch a spot in the national championship game.
The Irish will await Alabama in the game, as the Crimson Tide will top Georgia in the SEC Championship Game and play in another national title game. Alabama is simply better against quality opponents, going 3-1 against Top 25 teams while Georgia went 1-1 and was embarrassed by South Carolina.
The BCS National Championship Game will feature college football's top two defenses, and points will be at a premium.
Manti Te'o of Notre Dame and Dee Milliner and C.J. Mosley of Alabama will be the defensive stars on display, and the play of these guys will be crucial in the championship game.
However, the real difference-makers will be on offense.
A.J. McCarron becoming a good quarterback alone makes Alabama's offense formidable, but the ground game is still there as well. T.J. Yeldon and Eddie Lacy give the team the 27th-ranked rushing attack in the league, averaging 209.4 yards per game.
I see Alabama's rushing attack leading the Tide to a second straight national title.
Prediction: Alabama 20, Notre Dame 10
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