College Football Predictions

BCS Bowl Projections 2012: Defenses That Will Show Up in the Clutch

Nov. 17, 2012; South Bend, IN, USA; Wake Forest Demon Deacons running back Deandre Martin (21) runs the ball as Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te'o (5) prepares to tackle in the third quarter at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame won 38-0. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Pete SchauerCorrespondent IDecember 4, 2012

This year's BCS bowl games will showcase some of the stingiest defenses in college football.

With an exception of the Fiesta Bowl—which will pin two high-scoring offenses against each other in the No. 4 Oregon Ducks and No. 5 Kansas State Wildcats—the rest of the bowl action will not disappoint defensively.

Here's a look at three defenses who will come up big and lead their teams to victory during bowl week.

 

No. 1 Notre Dame

As the No. 1-ranked defense in the nation, the Fighting Irish will need to stifle A.J. McCarron and Eddie Lacy as the Crimson Tide offense tries to lead No. 2 Alabama to a BCS National Championship.

Notre Dame has allowed the fewest number of points per game (10.3) and the third-fewest rushing yards (1,119), which spells trouble for Lacy and the Crimson Tide rushing attack.

The Irish were one of the better defenses against the pass as well, intercepting 16 passes and sacking opposing QBs 33 times.

Look for Heisman Trophy finalist Manti Te'o to elevate his play and those around him as the Fighting Irish look to eclipse college football greatness on Jan. 7.


No. 6 Stanford

The Cardinal defense is what's going to clinch a Rose Bowl win for Stanford.

Stanford's defense boasts the third-best rushing D and the most sacks in college football, meaning Montee Ball will have his hands full against a staunch Cardinal defense.

With Stanford allowing just over 17 PPG (No. 14 in the nation), QB Curt Phillips is going to find it extremely hard to find room to work with against an active Stanford defense.

Cardinal safety Ed Reynolds has intercepted six passes this season, three of which have been taken back to the house. Look for Reynolds and the rest of the Stanford defense to take advantage of an inexperienced QB in a big game.

 

No. 12 Florida State

The Seminoles will need to bring their stingy defense to Sun Life Stadium on New Years Day to shut down dual-threat QB Jordan Lynch, and I fully expect them to.

Florida State surrenders just over 15 PPG and ranks No. 7 in college football in rushing yards allowed, which will match up perfectly against Lynch and his elusiveness.

Playing against a high-scoring offense like the Northern Illinois Huskies have, the Seminoles have to be active and aggressive.

If they can eliminate Josh Boyle—who's the focal point of the Huskies' offense—it'll be an easy win for the Seminoles in the Orange Bowl.

 

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