Bowl Projections 2012: Predicting Biggest Can't-Miss Matchups

Eric EdelmanCorrespondent INovember 26, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24:  Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish calls a play at the line during a 22-13 Notre Dame win over the USC Trojans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 24, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

As the college football regular seasons comes to a close, the potential bowl games that lie ahead are sure to be classics in the making.

Discover BCS National Championship
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

After a defining goalline stand against USC, Notre Dame clinched a spot in the BCS National Championship game. Now all that remains is to determine the SEC champion, which is projected to be the Alabama Crimson Tide. Barring an upset against Georgia, Alabama will face off against the undefeated Irish in the championship.

Under disciplined head coach Nick Saban, there’s no way the Crimson Tide’s first-ranked defense drop a game of this magnitude at home with a championship berth on the line. It’s a safe bet that Alabama will be in the national title game.

On paper, an Alabama-Notre Dame game will be a battle between two defensive juggernauts—two immovable frontlines literally head-to-head on college football’s grandest stage. Considering the marquee match-up and magnitude of the game, it is undoubtedly the most obvious must-see college football game this season. Look for the Irish to conclude their cinematic season in spectacular fashion as they upset the likely favored Crimson Tide in the championship game.


Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
Kansas State Wildcats vs. Oregon Ducks

Assuming KSU gets the win against Texas, we can expect to see the Wildcats’ explosive aerial assault attempt to halt the rushing onslaught of Oregon in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

This is going to be a contest where whichever team that scores the most wins, so rest assured that there will be a variety of highlight plays on offense. Whether you like 50-yard runs or 50-yard bombs, both respective teams can light up opposing defenses. Both of the team’s combined points per game are around 90, so if you want offense, you’re going to get more than you can handle with this game.

Although neither are stalwarts by any means on the defensive side of the ball, look for Oregon to come out of this high-scoring brawl victorious thanks to their bruising line and high-powered rushing offense.


Allstate Sugar Bowl
Florida Gators vs. Oklahoma Sooners

After capping off an impressive regular season with a win against Florida State, the Florida Gators set their sights on a possible Sugar Bowl battle against the Oklahoma Sooners. Although both teams are solid in their own right, this match-up weighs heavily in favor of the Gators.

Oklahoma boasts a phenomenal passing attack, but in its bout against Notre Dame back in October, the team appeared collectively exposed. Considering that a similarly elite defense in Notre Dame wrecked Oklahoma in its own stadium, it’s safe to say that the third-best defensive unit of the Gators is going to decisively crush the Sooners.

We are going to see the overrated Sooners’ passing attack stymied by Coach Muschamp and his Gators. It will be a great game, but it will be a one-sided game in favor of Florida.


Rose Bowl presented by Vizio
Stanford Cardinal vs Nebraska Cornhuskers

Although it doesn’t feature any huge names, this is going to be a solid game to watch. Unless there’s a crazy upset at home against UCLA, the Stanford-Nebraska match-up will remain as projected considering Ohio State is ineligible for a BCS game this season.

Stanford has had an impressive season that featured a notable narrow loss to Notre Dame in overtime and a convincing upset at home against USC, but the upcoming match-up still presents a challenge.

The Cornhuskers are a top-10 rushing offense and against Stanford’s 11th ranked defensive front, they are looking to break through and run their way to victory. Look for Stanford to halt the outstanding running attack of the Cornhuskers, and an unlikely Stanford team standing victorious in the Rose Bowl.