Bowl Games 2012: Analyzing Most Intriguing Matchups on the Schedule
Let's go bowling, ladies and gentleman.
Now that the final BCS standings have been revealed and all of the bowl matchups are set in stone, let the analyzing commence.
I think it's safe to say the BCS National Championship Game between No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Alabama certainly classifies as an intriguing matchup, but there are numerous other BCS bowl games that are much more alluring than the obvious championship matchup.
Here's your guide to the most intriguing BCS bowl games:
Orange Bowl: No. 15 Northern Illinois (12-1, 8-0) vs. No. 12 Florida State (11-2, 7-1)
If you watched the BCS Selection Show on ESPN, you most likely saw Kirk Herbstreit nearly break down in tears after hearing that Northern Illinois found its way into the BCS standings and clinched a bid to the Orange Bowl.
Thanks to numerous failures in the Big East, MAC champion Northern Illinois will go bowling and has a legit shot at taking down the Florida State Seminoles, as the Huskies have won 12 games in a row and boast one of the most dangerous rushing attacks—No. 9 in the nation—thanks in large part to QB Jordan Lynch (1,771 yards and 19 TDs on the ground alone).
The Seminoles, led by senior QB E.J. Manuel, will look to employ their high-scoring offense against the Huskies, who feature a three-headed rushing attack with Chris Thompson, Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr. combining for roughly 1,900 yards and 24 TDs.
With both teams boasting high-scoring offenses and monstrous running games and many questioning the strength of schedule for Northern Illinois, this sure makes for one attractive Orange Bowl.
Fiesta Bowl: No. 4 Oregon (11-1, 8-1) vs. No. 5 Kansas State (11-1, 8-1)
Heisman-hopeful Collin Klein will lead the K-State Wildcats into the Fiesta bowl to take on the Oregon Ducks in what promises to be one of the best BCS bowl games of the season.
Klein has been dominating all season, throwing for 2,490 yards and 15 touchdowns and rushing for 890 yards and 22 touchdowns, making him one of the most lethal QBs in college football.
Not to be forgotten is Kenjon Barner—who's putting together a Heisman season of his own—rushing for more than 1,600 yards and 21 TDs to lead an Oregon offense that ranks No. 2 in all of college football, scoring more than 50 PPG.
Both squads enter the Fiesta bowl coming off of wins over ranked opponents and scoring an average of at least 40 PPG, making for a shootout at University of Phoenix Stadium.
It doesn't get more attractive than watching two Heisman-worthy candidates battling it out for Fiesta Bowl supremacy.
Rose Bowl: No. 6 Stanford (11-2, 8-1) vs. Wisconsin (8-5, 4-4)
Did you have Stanford being this relevant following the Andrew Luck era in Stanford? Because I certainly didn't.
Sporting one of the staunchest defenses in all of college football, the Cardinal will look to slow down a Wisconsin running game led by senior RB Montee Ball (1,730 yards and 21 TDs).
The Badgers defense will have its hands full as well, trying to stop senior RB Stepfan Taylor, who has rushed for 1,442 yards and 12 TDs.
What makes this matchup most intriguing is the fact that the Cardinal sports the nation's third-best run defense while the Badgers have the 12th-best rushing attack in college football.
With Stanford having won four consecutive games over ranked opponents and Wisconsin fresh off a 70-31 beat down of Nebraska, fans are in for a real treat in what should be a defensive-minded football game.
For my prediction of this game and the rest of the BCS bowl games, click here.
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