Bowl Projections 2012: Teams in Position to Pull Upset on National Stage

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Bowl Projections 2012: Teams in Position to Pull Upset on National Stage
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With the full slate of the 2012 NCAA Football Bowl Games now finalized, we can begin the weeks of previews and excitement leading up.

As much as every team has earned its spot in its respective bowl game, there will be distinct favorites and underdogs.

For those underdogs, there would be nothing like pulling off an upset on the national stage that a bowl game provides. Here are two teams that could do just that.

 

Notre Dame

Taking on Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game, Notre Dame will in all likelihood be heading into this game as an underdog. That'll be despite their undefeated record and unquestioned top spot in the BCS Standings.

How is the No. 1 team in the country an underdog? With Alabama coming from the SEC, which is easily regarded as the top football conference in the NCAA, that is bound to happen.

However, the Fighting Irish will certainly use that as fuel to their fire and they remain in prime position to pull off the upset.

The Notre Dame defense is arguably the best that Alabama will have seen all season long. With the strength of its own defense, this game is bound to be low scoring.

Both units are in the nation's top four in run defense, but Notre Dame's ability to bear down in the red zone is what has been most impressive. As a result, the Fighting Irish have surrendered just two rushing touchdowns to Alabama's nine.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
LB Manti Te'o has helped lead the Notre Dame defense to success.

Through the air Notre Dame has given up just 10 passing TDs on the year as well.

Alabama's offense, although successful at times, is not to be considered the team's strength. If the Notre Dame defense can hold true, and bend but not break, the offense will have ample opportunities to take advantage.

Prediction: Notre Dame 17 - Alabama 14

 

Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Sooners will take on the Texas A&M Aggies in the Cotton Bowl. Having missed out on the BCS due to Northern Illinois' earning a spot, the Sooners will be looking to show why they deserved it more.

With A&M likely to be the favorite behind the play of Heisman candidate Johnny Manziel, don't count out the Sooners in the least.

While much will be made of the A&M offense, Oklahoma can score and move the ball with the best of them. The Aggies defense has been very impressive, but the high power passing attack of Oklahoma is a stiffer test.

The Sooners defense has indeed been disappointing throughout the season, so this game may turn into a shootout. In that case, you can throw the odds out the window.

This game will be about which team can force a turnover at a key time. Averaging an interception per game in 2012, expect that team to be Oklahoma, against an incredible, but very young quarterback.

Prediction: Oklahoma 37 - Texas A&M 35

 

Conclusion

Football is one of those sports in which any team can win on any given game day. On a national stage, where there is lots to be proven, underdogs often rise to the occasion.

In the case of these two games, Notre Dame and Oklahoma could very likely be the underdogs heading in. However, they are not to be counted out, as both could very well pull off upsets.

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