BCS Bowl Picture 2012-13: Latest Projections for Every Matchup
The BCS National Championship Game is all but set, but most of the other BCS bowl games depend on the ranking of one team.
Northern Illinois can reshape the entire landscape. Should the Huskies come in at No. 16 in the latest BCS rankings, they will play Florida State in the Orange Bowl and send Louisville to face Florida in the Sugar Bowl.
Rather than Florida State vs. Louisville and Florida vs. Oklahoma, fans would likely be treated to two blowouts. All in favor of conference champions automatically reaching a BCS bowl game, stand up and shout! Nobody? Didn't think so.
But the real question here is—have the Huskies done enough to earn that No. 16 ranking? Here are the latest BCS bowl projections.
Rose Bowl: Stanford vs. Wisconsin
Well, hey there, Stanford, we expected you to be here. Um, who told the Wisconsin Badgers they were invited?
Many, including myself, thought the Rose Bowl was destined to be Stanford vs. Nebraska. Then the ol' Big Ten Championship happened. After Wisconsin took the ball and ran it at will against the Cornhuskers (539 rushing yards) and defeated Nebraska 70-31(where's your pride, Bo Pelini?), Wisconsin earned itself a berth in the Rose Bowl as the Big Ten champ.
Well, it's good to see that Wisconsin finally woke up. If the Badgers come out with that same intensity against Stanford, the Rose Bowl could be the best BCS bowl game.
Both teams are similar in their approach to the game, which should ultimately test each others' will.
Running the football and playing stout defense is grown man football, and when Stanford meets Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, expect to get a full helping of it.
Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. Northern Illinois
Northern Illinois makes the Orange Bowl game by the skin of its teeth.
In order for Northern Illinois to make a BCS bowl, it has to reach the No. 16 slot in the BCS rankings. With teams ahead of the Huskies such as Texas, Kent State and UCLA all losing, there's a good chance that Northern Illinois moves up from its previous No. 21 position.
To earn the BCS bowl bid, however, Northern Illinois will also have to jump Michigan and Boise State. But with a win against Kent State, the No. 17 team in the country this past weekend, that should come to fruition.
As a result, the Orange Bowl will inherit one of the ugliest matchups of the bowl season. Is Northern Illinois exciting against Western Michigan and Toledo? Absolutely.
Can the Huskies hold a candle against Florida State? Highly unlikely.
Fiesta Bowl: Oregon vs. Kansas State
Collin Klein handled his business against the Texas Longhorns.
In a game that was close entering the fourth quarter, Klein and his teammates buckled down and blew it wide open to gain a 42-24 victory.
But more importantly, the Wildcats earned a BCS berth with the win. Who will they face? Oh, just a team that's somehow fallen off of the radar. Seriously, it feels like no one has talked about the Oregon Ducks since they lost to Stanford at home.
Bad decision. The Ducks flying under the radar should make Kansas State fans uneasy. Because, really, both Oregon and Kansas State have been wanting this matchup all year.
With both teams near the top of the rankings all season, a game between these two has been heavily hyped, especially the week after Alabama lost to Texas A&M. Now with both teams likely landing in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, it's game on.
Sugar Bowl: Florida vs. Louisville
May God have mercy on Terry Bridgewater's soul. This is a different type of defense you'll be facing, kid.
With Northern Illinois most likely earning the Orange Bowl berth the Sugar Bowl should get the Big East champion, Louisville.
Now, which SEC defense will he face? Well, with Georgia losing two games, the Gators should get the automatic bid to the Sugar Bowl without question.
As for Bridgewater, he is an excellent quarterback who is cool under pressure. He'll need that with Jon Bostic and company getting after him. The Gators have one of the best defenses in the country, if not the best. That was clear when the Gators faced Florida State and held the Seminoles to 300 yards and forced five turnovers.
Bridgewater and Louisville have not faced a defense quite like Florida's. On a big stage like the Sugar Bowl, a few turnovers could make this game ugly quick.
BCS National Championship: Alabama vs. Notre Dame
At this point, the SEC champion should qualify for an automatic bid to the national championship game.
It's beginning to look redundant, wouldn't you say? With a thrilling victory against the Georgia Bulldogs in what was easily the game of the year, Alabama has earned the right to face undefeated Notre Dame in the BCS Championship Game.
The game will be hyped because of the rich football tradition at both schools. But the action on the field should be just as good.
While Alabama may be superior, this will not be a thrashing. Give Notre Dame respect. The Irish have an SEC-caliber defense and a strong running game that mirrors some of the best rushing attacks in the SEC.
Given both team's history, the SEC's six straight national championships and how good both teams really are, this could be the best national championship game of the BCS era.