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Bowl Projections 2012: Most Exciting Potential Postseason Matchups

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24:  Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly yells during the game against the USC Trojans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 24, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Notre Dame defeated USC Trojans 22-13.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistNovember 26, 2012

After one more weekend of action, the bowl picture is going to be in focus. We know where some teams are going, but the overwhelming majority of matchups have yet to be set. This can be maddening to fans, though it is also a chance to explore what could be. 

Projections make fans happy or sad, with no real in between. If some analyst thinks your favorite team is going to a lesser bowl game, you are going to scream and cry foul until the analyst agrees with you. 

As we move closer towards the end of the regular season, here are the projected bowl matchups that we are most excited to see. 

Bowl projections based on ESPN's Brad Edwards' latest breakdown

 

BCS National Championship: Notre Dame (12-0) vs. Alabama (11-1)

The Crimson Tide still have the obstacle known as the Georgia Bulldogs waiting in the SEC Championship Game before they can make their second consecutive appearance in the BCS Title Game. 

Assuming Alabama gets past that game, it will set up what could be the most-anticipated BCS Championship Game in history. 

Alabama is the dynastic program of this generation. Nick Saban has built an incredible foundation of young, incredibly talented players, as well as a number of veterans who understand how to control potentially overwhelming situations. 

Notre Dame is the legendary program that had some hype coming into the season and exceeded all expectations in 2012. The Fighting Irish don't often look pretty, at least on offense, but they manage to get the job done with a stifling defense that never gives in. 

Not everyone loves to watch defensive battles in big spots, but the sheer level of talent on display in this game would be worth the price of admission. When you add the histories of Notre Dame and Alabama into the mix, that is the cherry on top. 

 

Valero Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma State (7-4) vs. UCLA (9-3)

UCLA is still battling for a spot in the Rose Bowl, as the Bruins have a rematch in the Pac-12 Title Game against a Stanford team that just destroyed them, 35-17.

Assuming everything holds here, this could turn into the best shootout of bowl season. UCLA gets credit for having a good defense, yet its overall ranking in points per game allowed is just 55th. 

Oklahoma State hasn't played defense this century, so the Bruins should have no problems putting up points. The Cowboys do have a knack for finding the end zone, regardless of the talent it lost last year, so the system Mike Gundy has is working for something. 

This game is like a Michael Bay movie. It's not going to ask for a lot of your attention, nor is it going to be something that you want to remember after it is over. But in the moment, you are going to be watching a lot of shiny things get blown up. 

In this case, the defenses will be the shiny things that go "BOOM!" UCLA and Oklahoma State has the potential to feature at least 100 combined points. 

 

Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Clemson (10-2) vs Georgia (11-1)

Again, Georgia has bigger things on its mind right now than the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, but should things fall apart in the SEC Championship Game, fans will get a treat by watching two of the best quarterbacks in the country go head-to-head. 

The bowl games are when quarterbacks take over. To have Aaron Murray (Georgia) and Tajh Boyd (Clemson) dueling it out against each other in a bowl game is better than you will find in most BCS games. 

Murray had, by far, his best season with the Bulldogs. He completed nearly 67 percent of his passes, averaged an astounding 10 yards per attempt, had 30 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. 

Boyd also completed nearly 67 percent of his passes, with 34 touchdowns, 9.42 yards per attempt and 13 interceptions. 

One big difference between these two teams is on defense, where Georgia allows just 17.7 points per game, compared to Clemson, which allows nearly 25 points per game. 

Look for the quarterbacks to be the story of this bowl game, if Clemson and Georgia do end up meeting. 

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