College Football logoCollege Football

College Football Bowl Picture 2012: Bowl Game Predictions for Projected Top 25

T.J. McaloonContributorDecember 2, 2012

College Football Bowl Picture 2012: Bowl Game Predictions for Projected Top 25

1 of 26

    When the final BCS standings come out on Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, we’ll see the same two teams at the top of the standings: No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Alabama. 

    Aside from those two spots, we’ll see Florida slide into No. 3, Oregon at No. 4 and Kansas State rounding out the Top Five. 

    But as we head into the final BCS standings, there are some lingering questions: Where does Georgia fall to after a close loss to Alabama? Do teams like Kent State, Texas and Oklahoma State fall out of the final standings? Can Northern Illinois sneak into the Top 16 and earn a BCS berth?

    Here's how the final BCS standings should look. 

25. Baylor

2 of 26

    Update: Baylor will reportedly play UCLA in Holiday Bowl

    Record: 7-5

    Latest Victory: Dec. 1 vs. Oklahoma State 41-34

    Best Win So Far: Nov. 17 vs. Kansas State 52-24

    Bowl Game: Dec. 28: Meineke Car Care Bowl

    Baylor has really turned it on at the end of its season, winning the last three games. And during this winning streak, two of those three wins have come against ranked teams, Kansas State and Oklahoma State.

    The wins have rocketed the Bears into a bowl game and up in the Big 12 and BCS standings to the Meineke Car Care Bowl. 

24. Kent State

3 of 26

    Record: 11-2

    Latest Victory: Nov. 23 vs. Ohio 28-6

    Best Win So Far: Oct. 27 at Rutgers 35-23

    Bowl Game: Dec. 15: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

    Kent State went from the penthouse of the bowl season, a BCS bowl game, to a small one-roomed apartment, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, after its loss in the MAC Conference title game to Northern Illinois. 

    The loss will send the Golden Flashes to the blue turf of Boise State University. 

    However, on the bright side, their game will be showcased as the lone bowl game that kicks off college football's second season. 

23. San Jose State

4 of 26

    Record: 10-2

    Latest Victory: Nov. 24 vs. Louisiana Tech 52-43

    Best Win So Far: Nov. 24 vs. Louisiana Tech

    Bowl Game: Dec. 27: Military Bowl

    San Jose State is a team that many don't know much about. Well, the Spartans won their final six games of the season, lost by three to Stanford to open the season and have a passing attack that ranks 11th in the nation, averaging 327.5 yards per game.

    The Spartans will head out to the Military Bowl on Dec. 27 to showcase their passing game on a national stage. 

22. Utah State

5 of 26

    Record: 10-2

    Latest Victory: Nov. 24 vs. Idaho 45-9

    Best Win So Far: Nov. 17 at Louisiana Tech 48-41 (OT)

    Bowl Game: Dec. 15: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

    Utah State should move up in the next BCS standings to No. 22, which is a great accomplishment for this school.

    However, because the Aggies play in the WAC, they will be sent off to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl to kick off the bowl season. That aside, this has been a great season for the Aggies; they finished as WAC champions and had two losses by a combined five points.

    In fact, because they're playing another team that had a great season, you could call this game the BCS bowl game of the non-BCS conference schools. 

21. Louisville

6 of 26

    Update: Louisville to play Florida in Sugar Bowl.

    Record: 10-2

    Latest Victory: Nov. 30 at Rutgers 20-17

    Best Win So Far: Nov. 30 at Rutgers

    Bowl Game: Jan. 2: Allstate Sugar Bowl

    Louisville started 2012 winning nine straight games and climbing to the Top 10 of the BCS standings. However, two straight losses to unranked Big East teams pushed the Cardinals out of the standings and almost out of the BCS bowl game picture all together.

    But the team rallied behind a gutsy performance from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to get back into the BCS picture. 

    With it looking like Northern Illinois is getting the nod over Louisville for the Orange Bowl, Louisville will likely face Florida in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

20. Northwestern

7 of 26

    Update: Northwestern will face Mississippi State in Gator Bowl

    Record: 9-3

    Latest Victory: Nov. 24 vs. Illinois 50-14

    Best Win So Far: Sept. 8 vs. Vanderbilt 23-13

    Bowl Game: Jan. 1: Gator Bowl

    Northwestern had a great 2012. The Wildcats may have three losses—all in the Big Ten—but they had the lead in the fourth quarter in every one of those games.

    If they could have held on in those games, they could have easily been 12-0 and playing for the Big Ten championship.

    Instead, Northwestern will be looking to get its first bowl game victory since 1948.

19. Boise State

8 of 26

    Record: 10-2

    Latest Victory: Dec. 1 vs. Nevada 27-21

    Best Win So Far: Oct. 13 vs. Fresno State 20-10

    Bowl Game: Dec. 22: MAACO Las Vegas Bowl

    Boise State finished its 10th season since 2002 with 10 wins or more. The last season when the Broncos finished with less than 10 wins was back in 2005, when they finished with nine victories. 

    If the Broncos played in one of the BCS conferences, this stretch of dominance would have seen this team play in as many BCS bowl games as it has had 10-win seasons. Instead, they've been pushed aside for smaller bowl games against inferior schools.

    This year will be no different. Boise State will take on a team from the Pac-12, Washington, in the Las Vegas Bowl. 

18. UCLA

9 of 26

    Update: UCLA will reportedly play Baylor in Holiday Bowl

    Record: 9-4

    Latest Victory: Nov. 17 vs. USC 38-28

    Best Win So Far: Nov. 17 vs. USC

    Bowl Game: Dec. 27: Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl

    UCLA came within a missed field goal, as time expired in the Pac-12 title game, from playing in this year's Rose Bowl against Wisconsin. 

    However, this talented Bruins team will pack their bags and head to San Diego for the Holiday Bowl against a great offensive team, the Texas Tech Red Raiders. 

    This bowl game should have a ton of fireworks from both of these offenses. However, in the end, UCLA's talented freshman quarterback Brett Hundley will make enough plays with his feet to lead the Bruins to a 10-win season. 

17. Northern Illinois

10 of 26

    UPDATE: Dec 2, 5:00pm ET: NIU will meet FSU at the Orange Bowl.

    Record: 12-1

    Latest Victory: Nov. 30 vs. Kent State 44-37 2OT

    Best Win So Far: Nov. 30 vs. Kent State

    Bowl Game: Jan. 1: Discover Orange Bowl

    Northern Illinois has a lot going for it as it heads into the final BCS standings. 

    No. 20 Boise State had to survive a fourth-quarter rally by Nevada to win 27-21. No. 19 Michigan didn’t play this week and had a .0158 lead over Northern Illinois. And No. 18 Texas, 17 Kent State and 16 UCLA all lost.

    Early reports are saying this resilience has earned them a trip to the Orange Bowl to play Florida State.

16. Michigan

11 of 26

    UPDATE: 12/2, 3:30pm ET: Michigan will reportedly play against an SEC team in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1.

    Record: 8-4

    Latest Victory: Nov. 17 vs. Iowa 42-17

    Best Win So Far: Oct. 20 vs. Michigan State 12-10

    Bowl Game: Jan. 1: TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl

    Michigan benefits from Ohio State and Penn State not being bowl eligible due to NCAA sanctions, but the Capitol One Bowl is still out of reach thanks to Wisconsin rolling over Nebraska.

    In the Gator Bowl, senior Denard Robinson will get his final chance at taking down an SEC school as the Wolverines should go up against Mississippi State.

15. Nebraska

12 of 26

    UPDATE: Dec. 2, 2:30pm ET: Nebraska has reportedly accepted an invitation to play in the Capital One Bowl.

    Record: 10-3

    Latest Victory: Nov. 23 at Iowa 13-7

    Best Win So Far: Oct. 27 vs. Michigan 23-9

    Bowl Game: Jan. 1: Capital One Bowl

    The Cornhuskers had the Rose Bowl red carpet rolled out for them with Wisconsin meeting them in the Big Ten Championship Game. 

    Instead of winning the school's first ever Big Ten conference title in football, they laid an egg, losing to the Badgers 70-33. 

    The loss will send Nebraska to Orlando to take on the Texas A&M Aggies in the Capital One Bowl. 

14. Oregon State

13 of 26

    Record: 9-3

    Latest Victory: Dec. 1 vs Nicholls State 77-3

    Best Win So Far: Sept. 22 at UCLA 27-20

    Bowl Game: Dec. 29: Valero Alamo Bowl

    Late in October, Oregon State had just suffered its first loss of the season to Washington. The Beavers still had a great shot at playing in the Rose Bowl, even if they would lose to instate rival Oregon.

    However, after losses to not only Oregon but also Stanford, the Beavers have seen their bowl dreams come crashing down. 

    In the Alamo Bowl, they should go up against another team that destroyed a cupcake team in 2012, Oklahoma State, which beat up on Savannah State this year 84-0. 

13. Clemson

14 of 26

    Record: 10-2

    Latest Victory: Nov. 17 vs. North Carolina State 62-48

    Best Win So Far: Oct. 25 at Wake Forest 42-13

    Bowl Game: Dec. 31: Chick-fil-A Bowl

    Clemson did not play for the ACC championship. The Tigers were stuck behind Florida State, a team that didn't stumble down its stretch and finished at the No. 1 spot in the ACC Atlantic division. 

    With their loss to South Carolina, Clemson will go from potentially playing in a BCS bowl game to the Chick-fil-A Bowl as the second-best team in the ACC. 

12. Florida State

15 of 26
    UPDATE: Dec 2, 5:00pm ET: NIU will reportedly meet NIU at the Orange Bowl.

    Record: 11-2

    Latest Victory: Dec. 1 vs. Georgia Tech 21-15

    Best Win So Far: Sept. 22 vs. Clemson 49-37

    Bowl Game: Jan. 1: Discover Orange Bowl

    Florida State may not have won too many style points with its 21-15 victory in the ACC championship game, but it got the job done and secured the conference title and a berth in the Orange Bowl.   

    Now the Seminoles get another 10-win and conference champion in Louisville in the BCS bowl game. These two teams will be conference members in a couple of years, and both were underrated throughout the year.

11. Oklahoma

16 of 26

    Update: Oklahoma will reportedly meet Texas A&M in Cottom Bowl

    Record: 10-2

    Latest Victory: Dec. 1 at TCU 24-17

    Best Win So Far: Oct. 13 vs. Texas 63-21

    Bowl Game: Jan. 2: Allstate Sugar Bowl

    The Sooners aren't guaranteed this BCS bowl game; they'll have to get picked as an at-large team for this year's Sugar Bowl. 

    There could be some BCS chaos if Northern Illinois happens to land at No. 16 or 15 in the final standings. That would knock the Sooners out of the BCS and into a bowl game like the Cotton Bowl. 

    And if the Sooners do in fact make this year's Sugar Bowl, it will be because this team gutted out three straight victories over some great competition. Over the last four weeks, the Sooners haven't won a game by more than one possession.

10. South Carolina

17 of 26

    Record: 10-2

    Latest Victory: Nov. 24 at Clemson 27-17

    Best Win So Far: Oct. 6 vs. Georgia 35-7

    Bowl Game: Jan. 1: Outback Bowl

    South Carolina just missed out on a BCS bowl game and the SEC conference championship game. However, missing out on those two games shouldn't get Gamecocks fans down; they won 10 games and haven't lost since Oct. 20. 

    They will finish as a very good two-loss conference team in the SEC, sending them to Tampa Bay to play in the Outback Bowl against a very good Northwestern Wildcats team. 

9. Texas A&M

18 of 26

    Update: Texas A&M will reportedly meet Oklahoma in Cottom Bowl

    Record: 10-2

    Latest Victory: Nov. 24 vs. Missouri 59-29

    Best Win So Far: Nov. 10 at Alabama 29-24

    Bowl Game: Dec 31: Chick-fil-A Bowl

    Texas A&M was expected to flounder to 6-6 in the SEC. Instead, the Aggies found lightning in a bottle with freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel.

    With the announcement coming out that Nebraska will face Georgia in the Capital One Bowl, the Aggies will most likely meet Clemson at the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

8. LSU

19 of 26

    Record: 10-2

    Latest Victory: Nov. 23 at Arkansas 20-13

    Best Win So Far: Oct. 20 at Texas A&M 24-19

    Bowl Game: Jan. 4: AT&T Cotton Bowl

    LSU won its final two games of the season to finish with 10 victories. However, because of losses to Alabama and on the road to Florida back on Oct. 6, the Tigers will finish outside of the SEC Championship Game and a chance at playing in a BCS bowl game.

    Instead of seeing the Tigers in the Sugar or Fiesta Bowl, expect them to head to Arlington to take on a reeling Texas squad, or Oklahoma should Northern Illinois sneak into the Top 16, in the Cotton Bowl.

7. Stanford

20 of 26

    Update: Stanford will play Wisconsin in Rose Bowl

    Record: 11-2

    Latest Victory: Dec. 1 vs. UCLA 27-24

    Best Win So Far: Nov. 17 at Oregon 17-14 OT

    Bowl Game: Jan. 1: Rose Bowl

    Stanford has won its last seven games, with five of those games seeing the Cardinal defense allowing no more than 17 points. The defense shined in the Pac-12 Championship Game, which clinched its spot in the Rose Bowl against Wisconsin.

    The Cardinal defense will have to step up once again; they'll be getting a heavy dose of Badger running back Montee Ball.

    In the Big Ten title game, Ball went off for 202 yards and three touchdowns against Nebraska.  

6. Georgia

21 of 26

    UPDATE: Dec 2, 5:45 p.m. ET: Georgia will face Nebraska in Capital One Bowl

    Record: 11-2

    Latest Victory: Nov. 24 vs. Georgia Tech 42-10

    Best Win So Far: Oct. 27 vs. Florida 17-9

    Bowl Game: Jan. 1: Capital One Bowl

    Georgia played in the SEC Championship Game for the second straight year. And just like last year when it lost to LSU, the Bulldogs lost to Alabama.

    Unlike last year, the Bulldogs gave everything they could to Alabama only to lose in the final moments when a game-winning drive stalled short of the end zone.

    The Bulldogs will meet Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl.

5. Kansas State

22 of 26

    Update: Kansas State will reportedly play Oregon in Fiesta Bowl

    Record: 11-1

    Latest Victory: Dec. 1 vs. Texas 42-24

    Best Win So Far: Sept. 22 at Oklahoma 24-19

    Bowl Game: Jan. 3: Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

    Collin Klein and Kansas State had the pressure of Oklahoma winning earlier in the week. That forced a must-win game against Texas for the conference championship and a spot in a BCS bowl game.

    The Wildcats struggled early, allowing Texas to take a 10-7 halftime lead, but they ended up blowing the Longhorns out in the second half, outscoring them 35-14.

    The win gave the Wildcats a share of the conference title and the automatic bid in a BCS bowl game.

4. Oregon

23 of 26

    Update: Oregon will reportedly play Kansas State in Fiesta Bowl

    Record: 11-1

    Latest Victory: Nov. 24 at Oregon State 48-24

    Best Win So Far: Nov. 24 at Oregon State

    Bowl Game: Jan. 3: Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

    One loss will keep Oregon from playing for the BCS title against Notre Dame. If it wasn't for one bad game against Stanford, we would see Chip Kelly's dynamic offense go up against Brian Kelly and the stout Notre Dame defense.

    And one loss will keep the SEC's consecutive streak of BCS championships alive by sending the Ducks to the Fiesta Bowl against Kansas State. 

3. Florida

24 of 26

    Update: Florida to play Louisville in Sugar Bowl

    Record: 11-1

    Latest Victory: Nov. 24 at Florida State 37-26

    Best Win So Far: Oct. 6 vs. LSU 14-6

    Bowl Game: Jan. 2: Allstate Sugar Bowl

    Florida had a great 2012 season despite a lackluster offense that averaged 26.8 points per game, good enough for 76th in the nation.

    However, the defense, which ranked third in the nation, held this team together. Because of that defense, Florida will head to the Sugar Bowl.

2. Alabama

25 of 26

    Record: 12-1

    Latest Victory: Dec. 1 vs. Georgia 32-28

    Best Win So Far: Nov. 3 at LSU 21-17

    Bowl Game: Jan. 7: Discover BCS National Championship Game

    Alabama's running game and hard-hitting defense propelled the Crimson Tide into their second straight BCS Championship Game. 

    The Tide will need that rushing attack and defense if they are going to get past Notre Dame. Notre Dame had the second-ranked defense in the nation in points against in 2012, allowing only 10.7 points per game to opposing offenses.

    However, at the BCS Championship game, it will feature two of college football's biggest fanbases and most historic programs. 

1. Notre Dame

26 of 26

    Record: 12-0

    Latest Victory: Nov. 24 at USC 22-13

    Best Win So Far: Oct. 27 at Oklahoma 30-13

    Bowl Game: Jan. 7: Discover BCS National Championship Game

    There's not much else that can be said about this Notre Dame team. It finished the regular season with a perfect record, its defense ranks second in the nation in points allowed per game, and the rushing game has averaged 202.5 yards. 

    The Fighting Irish will finish the season as the No. 1 team in the BCS standings and will go on to play Alabama in the title game on Jan. 7.

     

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices