Bowl Projections 2012: Teams Deserving of at-Large BCS Bids
The BCS standings have yet to be released, but there are teams that are clearly deserving of at-large bids to college football's biggest bowl games. As fun as it would be to see undefeated Ohio State in the mix, their postseason ineligibility makes the picture a bit more muddled than it might typically be.
However, there are some seriously enticing potential contests featuring some of the marquee programs in the country.
Here is a list of the teams that should round out the BCS bowls leading up to the national championship, with the rankings shown based on the latest AP poll.
No. 6 Oregon Ducks (Fiesta Bowl)
In terms of generating revenue while providing fans with a highly entertaining contest, it would be fitting to pit Chip Kelly's high-octane Ducks offense against prospective Big 12 champion Kansas State and Heisman hopeful QB Collin Klein.
This would likely be a shootout of epic proportions, considering the outstanding balance both teams have thanks to their dual-threat signal-callers.
Redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota has been a revelation for Oregon this season and would be a formidable challenge for the Wildcat defense. Not to mention the Ducks have their own Heisman contender in RB Kenjon Barner.
The senior overcame a first-half injury scare and returned to finish off a huge bounce-back 198-yard performance against rival Oregon State this past Saturday. He appears determined to make one last push for his candidacy as the game's most outstanding player.
No one would be opposed to seeing these two juggernauts square off—and it would even avoid too much of the SEC being caught up in the at-large bids.
No. 10 Texas A&M Aggies (Orange Bowl)
Speaking of the Heisman Trophy, the favorite to win it now has to be Aggies frosh QB Johnny "Football" Manziel, who has had a sensational first year under center. It was obviously highlighted by an outstanding showing in beating the Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa.
With two losses, it remains to be seen whether the Aggies would get the nod over LSU, which is one spot ahead of them in the AP poll. But if the rankings truly indicate how teams stack up right now, Texas A&M should be ahead of the Tigers, without a doubt.
Manziel had his worst performance of the season in throwing three costly interceptions against LSU. However, it is clear who the better team has been coming down the stretch.
Plus, the Aggies simply play a more exciting brand of football than the Tigers do, while still retaining that trademark physicality the Southeastern Conference always offers.
It's very likely that the Florida State Seminoles will emerge victorious in the ACC, and pitting these two teams against each other would be extremely interesting to see. Both have lost to the Florida Gators, and the Seminoles' loss on Saturday was defined by a whopping five turnovers.
The Florida State offense led by EJ Manuel will have an easier time than they did against their archrival, and Manziel would face a stern test to cap off what should be a Heisman-winning effort.
Louisville Cardinals (Sugar Bowl)
Let's keep bringing on the points in this one. Teddy Bridgewater has emerged as one of the best quarterbacks in the country and has carried the mediocre Cardinals all year long.
It would be beyond intriguing to see if the super sophomore could manage to succeed against the stout Florida Gators defense in the Sugar Bowl. In order to get this bid, Louisville will have to beat Rutgers on the road this coming Thursday to win the Big East.
After jumping out to the program's first ever 9-0 start, the Cardinals have lost their last two games, the last one to Connecticut in heartbreaking, triple-overtime fashion.
Rallying for the Scarlet Knights game may prove to be difficult, but Rutgers just got blown out by the pesky Pittsburgh Panthers and can't be brimming with confidence—unless Bridgewater can't play.
Bridgewater broke his non-throwing wrist in the Huskies game (h/t Washington Post), but he should be healed by the time this game rolls around—and should be able to gut it out for the huge showdown in Piscataway.
While an intriguing battle would emerge between the stout defenses of the Gators and Scarlet Knights, it would be more exciting to see Bridgewater in the real big time against Will Muschamp's complex schemes.
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