Bowl Projections 2012: Most Exciting Pairings We Anticipate Seeing

Ben ChodosCorrespondent IIDecember 2, 2012

Dec 1, 2012; Manhattan, KS, USA; Kansas State Wildcats quarterback Collin Klein (7) holds up the Big 12 Championship trophy following a 42-24 win over the Texas Longhorns at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-US PRESSWIRE

There are still a few scenarios left to play out regarding which teams will be selected to the BCS bowl games, but a few matchups are set and are sure to provide fans with plenty of entertainment. 

The final BCS standings will complete the picture, and if Northern Illinois’s victory in the MAC Championship Game pushes them into the Top 16, the Huskies will play in a BCS bowl game. The Miami Sun Sentinel notes that if this happens, the Huskies will likely play in the Orange Bowl—which has the last pick of at-large teams—and Louisville would then end up in the Sugar Bowl.

But a few teams are removed from this madness and are already making travel plans due to contractual obligations or an excellent spot in the standings.

Here are the most exciting matchups fans are likely to see during bowl season.


Fiesta Bowl: Kansas State vs. Oregon

As the Big 12 champion, Kansas State is in the Fiesta Bowl, and the game’s selection committee will not pass up a chance to pair KSU with Oregon. 

An exciting matchup usually denotes a high-scoring game, and that is exactly what the Wildcats and Ducks will deliver. Oregon is averaging 50.8 points per game with season, and Kansas State is scoring 44.8 points on average.

Collin Klein is a top Heisman Trophy contender due to his ability to destroy a defense with his arm or his legs. But he will have a difficult time keeping up with Oregon’s insanely talented offense.

Kenjon Barner, De’Anthony Thomas and Marcus Mariota will put up plenty of points on Kansas State’s defense, and these offenses will make the Fiesta Bowl this year’s most exciting bowl game.


National Championship Game: Notre Dame vs. Alabama

This game is exactly the opposite of the Fiesta Bowl matchup, and two of the nation’s best defenses will go head to head with a national title on the line.

The Crimson Tide’s defense looked vulnerable against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, but the Bulldogs have more offensive talent than Notre Dame.

While Alabama’s defense may have been exposed, the team’s running backs looked invincible. If Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon find holes, the Fighting Irish will have a long day.

But Brian Kelly’s team has triumphed over adversity time and time again this season, and there is certainly something special about the Irish this year. They will not go down easily, and this will be another fantastic bowl game.


Rose Bowl Game: Wisconsin vs. Stanford 

While a Top 10 team against one that lost three of its last four regular season games may not seem exciting, the Rose Bowl will offer a truly thrilling contest. 

Wisconsin landed in the Big Ten Championship Game because Ohio State and Penn State were both ineligible to play in the game. The team finally looked like the team many thought it would be this season, as the Badgers destroyed Nebraska 70-31 to earn a spot in the Rose Bowl. 

Stanford also looked impressive in its conference championship as it pulled out a narrow victory over UCLA to win the Pac-12. But unlike Wisconsin, the Cardinal have consistently played at a high level throughout the year.

Fortunately for the unlikely Big Ten champs, momentum is all that matters at this point in the season—and they will take plenty of it to Pasadena. The Badgers will make life difficult for the Cardinal, and the fans will benefit from a closely contested game.