Bowl Projections 2012: Forecasting the Entire BCS Schedule
As Saturday's slate of games all came to an end, the BCS Bowl picture became a bit more clear and the five biggest games of the college football season can be more easily predicted.
There are a few surprises in the mix this season as a result of this past weekend's games, while other teams flat out earned their respective bids with a strong season overall.
Let's take a look at the entire BCS Bowl schedule that will become official on Sunday night.
BCS National Championship Game: Notre Dame vs. Alabama
Notre Dame finished the season as the No. 1 team in the nation after an impressive and unexpected undefeated run.
Alabama punched its ticket to the national title game after defeating Georgia to capture the SEC crown.
This should be an epic matchup as this game will pit the two best defenses in the country against one another. It will be interesting to see how Notre Dame's front seven handles Alabama's talented offensive line, which will likely end up being the difference in this game.
The Fighting Irish might be a talented group on the defensive end, but Alabama is more well-rounded than their national title game opponents and the edge in experience goes to coach Nick Saban's squad.
Fiesta Bowl: Kansas State vs. Oregon
The Wildcats earned their spot in the Fiesta Bowl after winning the tiebreaker with Oklahoma to emerge as the No. 1 team in the Big 12.
The Ducks will be depending on an at-large bid to get them to Glendale, but they figure to get the call to take on the Wildcats in this game.
Earlier in the season, there was a chance that these two teams would meet for a national title, but those hopes were dashed as both teams lost a game late in the year. Fortunately, we'll still get to see these two teams face off against one another, but it won't be for the most coveted prize in the sport.
Heisman Trophy candidate Collin Klein will lead his Wildcats onto the field and is matched up with an equally impressive quarterback in Marcus Mariota for the Ducks. This is a matchup that figures to be a barn-burner, so don't expect to fall asleep while watching this one.
Sugar Bowl: Florida vs. Oklahoma
The Gators will be an automatic at-large team, so their fate is sealed as a participant in this game.
There is still an outside chance that the Sooners miss out on a BCS Bowl entirely, but that will only happen if Northern Illinois makes an improbable jump up into the Top 16.
This showdown couldn't be a more perfect matchup in New Orleans.
Florida has become quite a defensive powerhouse in college football this season as it is ranked No. 3 in the country in that category. Oklahoma is at the opposite end of the spectrum, coming into this game with the No. 13 offense in the nation.
A Florida-Oklahoma matchup will truly prove if it's defense or offense that wins championships, or in this case, BCS Bowls.
Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. Louisville
The Seminoles earned their spot in the Orange Bowl after capturing the ACC championship with a win over Georgia Tech.
Louisville is the Big East champion, so it's almost a certainty that it is playing in Miami in January.
Florida St. is clearly the better all-around team in this matchup as the Seminoles are ranked No. 7 in the country in both offense and defense.
The Cardinals had an impressive season in 2012, but that was mostly a result of a weaker schedule. Louisville will have its work cut out for it considering this team is nothing better than decent on either side of the ball and it hasn't faced a team as talented as Florida St. this year.
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Stanford
The biggest surprise of the past weekend and in the BCS Bowl picture is Wisconsin after an incredible 70-31 victory over Nebraska that landed them the Big Ten crown.
Stanford earned its bid to the Rose Bowl thanks to capturing the Pac-12 crown with a win over UCLA on Friday.
Wisconsin was thought to be a team that will lean on defense most of the time, but if anything was proven on Saturday night, it was that the Badgers have more than enough offense to be effective.
The Cardinal also play solid defense much like their counterpart, but offense remains a question moving forward. That's not to say this team can't put up points on the board, but with an inexperienced quarterback at the helm, it remains to be seen if pressure will get the best of their offense in this game.
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