Projecting Every Bowl Game Post-Week 13

Alex CallosCorrespondent INovember 25, 2012

Projecting Every Bowl Game Post-Week 13

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    There is only one week left in the college football season, and after another exciting weekend, the bowl picture is finally starting to clear up.

    A few more teams became bowl eligible over the weekend, and the BCS picture continues to take shape.

    With a week remaining, there is still a lot that could change.

    Here are bowl projections from the New Mexico Bowl to the BCS National Championship Game.

    *all times are eastern

Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Arizona vs. Nevada

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    When: Saturday, Dec. 15 at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN

    Arizona is coming off a disappointing loss against rival Arizona State in its final game of the season and is now sitting at 7-5 overall.

    The Wildcats blew a a fourth-quarter lead, allowing 24 points in the final frame and saw what could have been a much better bowl game fall by the wayside.

    Nevada is coming off a bye week and gearing up for the season finale on Saturday against Boise State.

    The Wolf Pack are 7-4 and can put some points on the board, as can the Wildcats. This would be a fun one to enjoy.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Utah State vs. Ball State

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    When: Saturday, Dec. 15 at 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

    Utah State is one of the most talented teams out west and at 10-2 is the winner of the WAC. The Aggies are 6-0 in conference play.

    Led by quarterback Chuckie Keeton, Utah State does it with a defense that ranks eighth in the country, only allowing 15 points a game.

    Ball State is another of the surprising MAC teams. The Cardinals finished the regular season 9-3 overall and 6-2 in league play.

    As winners of six straight games, the Cardinals are one of the hottest teams in the country and would pose a huge threat for Utah State.

Poinsettia Bowl: BYU vs. San Diego State

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    When: Thursday, Dec. 20 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN

    San Diego State closed out its regular season with a 42-28 victory over Wyoming and appears headed to the Poinsettia Bowl.

    The Aztecs are 9-3 overall and likely to finish in a three-way tie atop the Mountain West Conference with Fresno State and Boise State.

    BYU also completed it regular season over the weekend with a 50-14 victory over New Mexico State.

    Both of these teams can play a little defense, and it would be quite a matchup if they did square off.

Beef O'Brady's Bowl: Arkansas State vs. Toledo

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    When: Friday, Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

    Toledo battled through a few injuries to some key players on offense to knock off Akron, 35-23, on Tuesday night, closing out the regular season with a 9-3 record.

    The Rockets are near the top of the MAC and will be in a bowl game somewhere. This is the most likely scenario right now.

    Arkansas State had a bye over the weekend and will take on Middle Tennessee to close out the season.

    The winner of that game will win the Sun Belt conference and could play in this bowl game. It could clearly go either way, but Arkansas State will likely be a slight favorite.

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Tulsa vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

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    When: Saturday, Dec. 22 at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN

    Louisiana-Lafayette is another of the talented Sun Belt teams and improved its record to 7-4 with a 52-30 victory over South Alabama.

    The Ragin' Cajuns are now 5-2 in league play and have already accepted an invitation to play in the New Orleans.

    For Louisiana-Lafayette, the likely opponent will be the loser of the Conference USA championship between Tulsa and Central Florida.

    Tulsa defeated Central Florida just over a week ago, but did not look good in a loss to SMU on Saturday, losing 35-27. The Golden Hurricane love to run the football and can put some points on the board.

Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State vs. USC

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    When: Saturday, Dec. 22 at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

    USC suffered another disappointing loss to Notre Dame to finish the year 7-5 overall.

    The Trojans had high expectations coming into the season and had perhaps the most disappointing season of any team in the country.

    Boise State is likely to be the selection here if it can win its final game of the season against Nevada.

    This would be a very intriguing early-bowl matchup, pitting two big-name schools against each other.

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: SMU vs. Fresno State

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    When: Monday, Dec. 24 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN

    SMU has accepted a bid to play in the Hawaii Bowl. The 6-6 Mustangs will have their hands full with their potential opponent. 

    It took a win in its final game of the season against Tulsa for SMU to become bowl eligible.

    Fresno State has been one of the more impressive teams out west in recent weeks and is coming off a 48-15 victory over Air Force.

    The win was the fifth in a row and gives Fresno State nine wins on the season.

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. Northern Illinois

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    When: Wednesday, Dec. 26 at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

    Northern Illinois will be taking on Kent State in the MAC championship. The winner of the game will go to the GoDaddy.com Bowl, with the loser likely headed here to the Little Caesars.

    The Huskies are one of the most complete teams in the country, ranking in the top 15 in both points scored and points allowed.

    Western Kentucky came up with a one-point 25-24 victory over North Texas to get to seven wins and further secure its bowl eligibility.

    The Hilltoppers had lost three in a row going into the game, but came away with a victory on senior night.

Militay Bowl: San Jose State vs. Bowling Green

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    When: Thursday, Dec. 27 at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN

    San Jose State is one of the more underrated teams in the country and have won six straight games.

    The only losses were at Stanford and against Utah State. San Jose State has not played the challenging schedule some teams have, but would be a tough matchup for Bowling Green.

    Bowling Green has also been hot in recent weeks. The Falcons won seven of their final eight games of the season and, after a challenging non-conference schedule, will be well-prepared for a bowl game.

    This would be another game with two very evenly matched teams.

Belk Bowl: Duke vs. Louisville

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    When: Thursday, Dec. 27 at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

    The Louisville Cardinals could still go to a BCS bowl with a victory over Rutgers, but with a loss and a Cincinnati win, the Cardinals will finish in fourth place.

    After consecutive losses to Syracuse and Connecticut, Louisville is 9-2 overall and 4-2 in Big East play.

    Duke, on the other hand, has lost four games in a row and, due to the amount of ACC teams ineligible for postseason play, will likely end up here.

    The Blue Devils are fortunate to have gotten to six wins so early in the year, because they have not looked particularly good of late.

Holiday Bowl: Texas Tech vs. UCLA

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    When: Thursday, Dec. 27 at 9:45 p.m. ET on ESPN

    Texas Tech and UCLA are both coming off losses this week. The Bruins fell to Stanford 35-17 and will get another shot at the Cardinal in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

    A win by UCLA would put them in the Rose Bowl, and a loss would likely land the Bruins here in the Holiday Bowl.

    The Red Raiders finished the season 7-5 and are sitting in sixth place in the Big 12. They have struggled in recent weeks, losing four of their final five games of the season.

    Defense has been an issue for Texas Tech, but the offense is averaging nearly 38 points a game.

Independence Bowl: Louisiana Tech vs. Ohio

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    When: Friday, Dec. 28 at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN

    Louisiana Tech lost its second consecutive game, falling 52-43 against San Jose State in their regular-season finale.

    The loss drops the Bulldogs to third place in the WAC and hurts their bowl positioning. Either way, they have the highest-scoring offense in the country and would be fun to watch one more time.

    Ohio could have been in one of the more highly regarded MAC bowl games, but having lost three games in a row and four out of five, the Bobcats will likely be the fifth or sixth MAC team selected for a bowl game.

    Certainly not the way this group wanted to finish the season.

Russell Athletic Bowl: Cincinnati vs. North Carolina State

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    When: Friday, Dec. 28 at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

    With Louisville's recent struggles, 8-3 Cincinnati will fall into the No. 2 spot as far as Big East bowl games are concerned with a win over Connecticut and a Louisville loss to Rutgers.

    North Carolina State will likely fall back to this bowl game with the loss to Clemson and the realization that the Tigers will no longer be playing in a BCS bowl game.

    The Wolfpack are 7-5 on the season, including a victory over Florida State. They knocked off Boston College 27-10 to finish out the regular season and are a virtual certainty to end up here.

Meineke Car Care Bowl: West Virginia vs. Minnesota

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    When: Friday, Dec. 28 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN

    West Virginia became bowl eligible with a 31-24 victory at Iowa State and ended a five-game losing streak that dated all the way back to the beginning of October in the process. 

    The Mountaineers offense continues to be one of the best in the country, and the defense showed some improvements this week.

    Minnesota, on the other hand, lost its final two games of the season to finish 6-6. The Gophers had a relatively easy schedule, which helped them get the necessary six wins to become bowl-eligible.

    This bowl game would be a huge mismatch if it did take place.

Armed Forces Bowl: Air Force vs. East Carolina

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    When: Saturday, Dec. 29 at 11:45 a.m. ET on ESPN

    Air Force is slated to play in the Armed Forces Bowl, and a Conference USA team will likely be its opponent.

    Among the favorites for the matchup is East Carolina. The Pirates won a double-overtime 65-59 thriller on Friday against Marshall to finish the regular season 8-4.

    They are clearly the third-best team in Conference USA and have proven they can put up some serious points.

    Air Force loves to run the football, but struggled on Saturday against Fresno State. The Bulldogs manhandled Air Force, 48-15. If these two teams played, this one would be a battle of two opposing styles.

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Washington vs. Navy

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    When: Saturday, Dec. 29 at 3:15 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN2

    Washington had a chance to greatly improve its bowl prospects with a win over Washington State in the Apple Cup.

    Instead, the Huskies played one of their worst games of the season, losing 31-28 to Washington State in overtime. The loss was definitely devastating in more ways than one and will likely place Washington here in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

    Navy is 7-4 and will not play until it takes on Army on Dec. 8. This is the bowl destination for Navy, and the Midshipmen would likely try to control the football against a high-powered Washington offensive attack.

    This one would certainly be very fun to watch.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Syracuse vs. Baylor

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    When: Saturday, Dec. 29 at 3:15 p.m. ET on ESPN or ESPN2

    This bowl game seems to fit Syracuse, but the Orange could end up in a much better game if everything falls into place.

    The Orange won their final two games of the season over Missouri and Temple and are led by stud quarterback Ryan Nassib.

    The Bears have knocked off Kansas State and Texas Tech the previous two weeks to get to the seemingly elusive six-win mark and continue to impress, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

    This would be a very fun game to watch, as the Syracuse defense would pose a threat to the Baylor offense.

Valero Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Oregon State

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    When: Saturday, Dec. 29 at 6:45 p.m. ET on ESPN

    Even though the Cowboys suffered a devastating loss at Oklahoma in overtime on Saturday, they are still in prime position to play in an excellent bowl game.

    At 7-4 overall and 5-3 in the conference, with a win over Baylor this is likely where the Cowboys end up this postseason.

    Oregon State has lost three of its past five games but is still in great position for a solid bowl game. The Alamo Bowl would certainly not pass on the Beavers.

    There is no question that this would be a battle of a very talented offense versus an excellent defense.

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Michigan State vs. TCU

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    When: Saturday, Dec. 29 at 10:15 p.m. ET on ESPN

    Michigan State picked up a 26-10 victory over Minnesota to close out the regular season and become bowl eligible.

    The Spartans have been a major disappointment this season (losing five conference games by a total of 13 points) but are still headed for postseason play.

    The win by TCU on Thursday over Texas, on the other hand, moved the Horned Frogs up the bowl ladder. They have a chance to move up even more with a win over Oklahoma in the season finale.

    A loss and this is still a popular destination. TCU has done a decent job in transitioning to the Big 12, but a win over Oklahoma would certainly cap an outstanding season.

Music City Bowl: Vanderbilt vs. Virginia Tech

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    When: Monday, Dec 31 at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN

    Vanderbilt is one of the hottest teams in the country. The Commodores have won six games in a row to finish the season 8-4.

    They have not seen a mark like that in quite some time, and the program continues to improve under the leadership of head coach James Franklin.

    Virginia Tech squeaked by in-state rival Virginia the final game of the season, 17-14, to reach the 6-6 mark and become bowl eligible.

    With the way these two teams are going, it could be a very lopsided game in favor of the Commodores.

Sun Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. Arizona State

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    When: Monday, Dec. 31 at 2 p.m. ET on CBS

    Arizona State is one of a number of Pac-12 teams that could end up here in the Sun Bowl, but with the win over Arizona in the season finale, the 7-5 (5-4) Sun Devils certainly boosted their chances.

    Georgia Tech is likely to finish the season 6-7 after losing to Florida State in the ACC Championship Game. That does not typically warrant a bowl game, but this year may be different (as with UCLA last year).

    This is a possible destination for Georgia Tech, as the Sun Bowl typically hosts the loser of the ACC title game.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Central Florida vs. Ole Miss

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    When: Monday, Dec. 31 at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

    Ole Miss picked up one of the biggest victories of the weekend, knocking off in-state rival Mississippi State 41-24. The win gives the Rebels a 6-6 overall record, a four-game improvement from a year ago.

    Central Florida will take on Tulsa in the Conference USA Championship Game, with the winner ending up here in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. The C-USA title could go either way, as Tulsa won 23-21 at home a few weeks ago.

    This would be an interesting bowl game, as Central Florida has the talent to hang with a team like Ole Miss.

Chick-fil-A Bowl: Clemson vs. LSU

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    When: Monday, Dec. 31 at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

    With the loss against South Carolina on Saturday, Clemson will likely fall down to the Chick-fil-A Bowl against an SEC member.

    South Carolina is out of the question, so LSU might be the most logical choice here, with Florida now appearing likely to head to a BCS bowl.

    The very talented LSU defense would pose a huge threat for the Clemson offense in a battle of the Tigers.

    When it comes to pre-New Year's Day games, this one would be at the top of the list.

Heart of Dallas Bowl: Purdue vs. Iowa State

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    When: Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 12 p.m. ET on ESPNU

    Purdue won its final three games of the season, and, at 6-6, are now bowl eligible.

    Not many teams endure a five-game losing streak and still qualify for a bowl game. Purdue is one of those teams, and with all the Big Ten teams ineligible, it might just luck into a New Year's Day bowl game.

    Iowa State is likely to finish ninth in the Big 12, but that is plenty good enough for a bowl game. The 6-6 Cyclones are battle-tested, having made it through a season in the Big 12.

Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Northwestern

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    When: Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN2

    Mississippi State has fallen on hard times in recent weeks, having lost four of its final five games to close out the regular season.

    Still, at 8-4, the Bulldogs are in the upper half of the conference. A New Year's Day bowl game would be an excellent season for Mississippi State.

    Northwestern knocked off Illinois to pick up its ninth win of the season. The Wildcats have come a long way over the past few seasons and might be able to give the Big Ten a rare win over the SEC in the postseason.

Capital One Bowl: Michigan vs. Georgia

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    When: Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. ET on ABC

    Michigan does have four losses on the season, but all of those have come to perennial top-15 teams. The Wolverines have a lot of weapons on the offensive side of the ball along with a very solid defense.

    However, a matchup against Georgia would be a huge mismatch. Michigan was throttled by Alabama earlier in the season, and while it might stand a chance against Georgia, the Bulldogs would still be heavy favorites.

    If Georgia can knock off Alabama on Saturday, the Bulldogs would play for the BCS National Championship.

    A loss and the Capital One Bowl is likely where they end up. Quarterback Aaron Murray is one of the best in the country, and if Georgia can avoid the turnovers, it would likely have no problem with Michigan.

Outback Bowl: Wisconsin vs. South Carolina

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    When: Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN

    There is a chance that Northwestern could end up here, but Wisconsin is the likely choice as of right now.

    The Badgers would go to the Rose Bowl with a victory over Nebraska, and a loss would either put them here or in the Gator Bowl.

    South Carolina was very impressive in its 27-17 victory over Clemson. The win came as a surprise to some and gives South Carolina a much better bowl game.

    This would be another mismatch featuring an SEC team against a Big Ten member that does not stand a chance.

At&T Cotton Bowl: Texas vs. Texas A&M

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    When: Friday, Jan. 4 at 8 p.m. ET on Fox

    Whether or not Texas is fond of playing Texas A&M in a bowl does not make much of a difference, as the Longhorns may not be able to avoid it.

    Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is one of the most talented players in the country, and any bowl committee would be lucky to have him.

    Texas lost to TCU, but should still end up in the Cotton Bowl no matter what happens on Saturday against Kansas State.

    The Longhorns appeared to have finally hit their stride until falling 20-13 to TCU on Thanksgiving Day. It will be interesting to see how they respond against Kansas State this weekend.

BBVA Compass Bowl: Pittsburgh vs. Louisiana-Monroe

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    When: Saturday, Jan. 5 at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN

    In one of the biggest surprises of the weekend, Pittsburgh beat Rutgers 24-7 and is now sitting at 5-6. It will take one more win for the Panthers to become bowl eligible, but playing 3-8 South Florida makes it very possible.

    If the Panthers beat the Bulls, this is a very likely destination. The opponent could be a number of teams.

    Louisiana-Monroe capped off an 8-4 season that saw the Warhawks become a household name with an overtime victory over Florida Atlantic. The BBVA Compass Bowl is a likely scenario for ULM.

GoDaddy.com Bowl: Kent State vs. Middle Tennessee

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    When: Sunday, Jan. 6 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN

    Kent State is a lock to end up here if the Golden Flashes lose in the MAC Championship Game to Northern Illinois.

    A win and Northern Illinois will find itself here. The Golden Flashes have had an excellent season, going 11-1, with the lone loss coming to Kentucky. 

    Among the many possibilities as far as opponents are concerned is Middle Tennessee, if the Blue Raiders can knock off Arkansas State in their season finale.

    This would be an interesting game between two very underrated and talented teams.

Rose Bowl: Nebraska vs. Stanford

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    When: Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN

    With a win over UCLA in the Pac-12 title game, Stanford is going to end up in the Rose Bowl. The win would be the second in as many weeks over the Bruins.

    A few weeks ago, not too many people expected Stanford to be here. But with the way Stanford has played the past few weeks, the Cardinal are one of the most complete teams in the country.

    Nebraska has continued to climb up the rankings and is one win away from representing the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl.

    The Cornhuskers have been very solid on both sides of the ball and have continued to improve in recent weeks. This might be too much of a mismatch for the Cornhuskers to deal with this season.

Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. Rutgers

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    When: Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

    Both of these teams are coming off disappointing losses over the weekend, but can end up here with victories this weekend.

    The Seminoles take on Georgia Tech in the ACC title game with an Orange Bowl berth on the line.

    Many thought Florida State was a national championship contender, and most expected it to knock off Florida on Saturday. That did not happen, and once again, the Seminoles fell in a big game.

    Rutgers will battle Louisville in the final game of the season. A win would give the Scarlet Knights the Big East title outright and put them in a position to be a big underdog against Florida State.

Allstate Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Florida

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    When: Wednesday, Jan. 2 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

    With the way Florida played in their victory over Florida State, it would be impossible to keep it out of the Sugar Bowl.

    The Gators have shown all season why they have one of the best defenses in the country, and a matchup against Oklahoma will pit that defense against Landry Jones and the high-flying Sooners offense.

    If Oklahoma can beat TCU to close out the regular season, it is almost a certainty it will end up right here.

    Even with a loss, the Sugar Bowl is not out of the question for the Sooners. This would definitely be an interesting game between two teams with very contrasting styles.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Kansas State vs. Oregon

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    When: Thursday, Jan. 3 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

    Ten days ago, most people figured these two teams would be playing for the national championship. As it appears right now, they are indeed going to be playing each other, just with a lot less on the line.

    Oregon rebounded from a loss to Stanford by manhandling Oregon State in the Civil War.

    And Kansas State has a game against Texas remaining. A loss and it could switch bowl spots with Oklahoma.

    There is no question that this would be an exciting game to watch, as two of the best offenses in the country would be on full display, led by star players Collin Klein and Kenjon Barner.

BCS National Championship: Notre Dame vs. Alabama

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    When: Monday, Jan. 7 at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

    One thing is for certain as we head into the final weekend of the college football season: Notre Dame will be playing for the BCS National Championship.

    The Fighting Irish capped off an undefeated 12-0 season with a 22-13 victory at USC and will now await the winner of the SEC Championship Game between Alabama and Georgia.

    Alabama is the slight favorite in this one and would also be a favorite if it played Notre Dame.

    The two best defenses in the country would do battle. The 2013 BCS National Championship may be exactly what we witnessed in 2012.