College Football Bowl Schedule: What to Watch for in Each BCS Bowl
Every year around this time, we make a point to visit with family, celebrate the holidays, set New Year's resolutions and set everything aside to watch college football's bowl season.
College football fans can't help it, we are who we are, and we're passionate about the pigskin. And given the BCS bowl matchups slated for January 2013, who can blame us?
Here's a guide to the BCS bowl action this season, complete with TV information.
Cheers to a great year of college football.
Note: All stats via CFBStats.com
Rose Bowl: No. 6 Stanford vs. Wisconsin
Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
When: Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 5 p.m. ET
A large part of this game will be whether Wisconsin can run on Stanford's defense. The Badgers rank 12th in the nation in rushing yards per game, but rank 115th in passing yards per game.
Stanford has allowed just 2.84 yards per carry this season, fifth in the nation, via CFBStats.com. On the other hand, the Cardinal curiously allowed UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin to rush for 194 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.
Orange Bowl: No. 12 Florida State vs. No. 15 Northern Illinois
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL
When: Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET
Northern Illinois loves to run the pigskin with dual-threat quarterback Jordan Lynch in charge, but Florida State has allowed 2.76 yards per carry this season, fourth in the country.
That included holding a Georgia Tech rushing attack to 3.5 yards per carry that averaged 312.5 rushing yards per game during the season.
Northern Illinois has allowed 19.0 points per game this season, but gave up 37 points (34 points in regulation) to its only ranked opponent of the season (Kent State) in the MAC championship game.
Sugar Bowl: No. 3 Florida vs. No. 21 Louisville
Where: Superdome, New Orleans, LA
When: Wednesday, Jan. 2 at 8:30 p.m. ET
Louisville's success is predicated on the arm of sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who battled through a broken wrist and a sprained ankle to lead the Cardinals over Rutgers on Nov. 29.
The only problem with that is, Florida has allowed 5.4 yards per pass attempt (fourth in the nation) while allowing five passing touchdowns and notching 19 interceptions in 12 games this season.
Florida State's E.J. Manuel averaged 5.5 yards per attempt and tossed three interceptions against the Gators on Nov. 24.
Florida also likes to run the football behind senior back Mike Gillislee, and the Cardinals have allowed 4.33 yards per carry this season (73rd in the country).
Fiesta Bowl: No. 4 Oregon vs No. 5 Kansas State
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ
When: Thursday, Jan. 3 at 8:30 p.m. ET
Kansas State's run defense can be beat, and that's bad news against an Oregon squad averaging 6.06 yards per carry this season, the best mark in the nation.
Oregon's defense showed it could be be dismantled on Nov. 3 against USC, but I ultimately think the Ducks will score more with their rushing attack.
Both teams should score a fair amount of points, but Oregon's rushing attack has only been stopped by Stanford this season.
BCS Championship Game: No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 2 Alabama
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL
When: Monday, Jan. 7 at 8:30 p.m. ET
In a game featuring two dominant defenses, don't expect points to be easy to come by in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game. Notre Dame and Alabama rank first and second respectively in points allowed per game this season.
The difference for me is that Alabama has a better offense than Notre Dame and can stop the Fighting Irish's running game, which is their primary source of points.
That's not saying Alabama will run over Notre Dame's run defense, but I do think the Crimson Tide will be able to do more on the ground against the Fighting Irish than vice versa.
Plus, Alabama has a better quarterback in junior A.J. McCarron, who has been efficient and generally careful with the ball.
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