There are many perks to earning a BCS bowl berth, not the least of which is the opportunity for individual players to shine on a huge national stage.
Although satellite TV and the internet have made it more national, college football has always been a regionally driven sport. Live in Ohio? Chances are that you're much more familiar with the teams in the Big Ten than someone who lives in Texas and is busy watching the Big 12.
The beautiful thing about bowl season is that the games appeal to a national audience. We get to see the best teams in the country matched up against each other—for the most part. Regardless of region, the BCS bowls traditionally do big numbers on TV, as everyone wants to see who claims bragging rights and finishes the season with a bang.
Of course, this also means that some people will be seeing individual players for the first time. Those on the East Coast who were fast asleep while Marcus Mariota was carving up Pac-12 defenses will get to see the Ducks do their thing in prime time. Those who live in the South and never got to see Manti Te'o run the Notre Dame defense will get to see it happen in the National Championship Game.
Read on for predictions of all of the BCS games along with the individual player who will make a name for himself by taking home MVP honors.
Rose Bowl Game Presented by Vizio
Stanford vs. Wisconsin
When: January 1, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. ET
MVP: Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford
The BCS games kick off with "The Granddaddy of Them All" when Wisconsin and Stanford do battle in the Rose Bowl.
Stanford is the favorite after winning the Pac-12, thanks to a stunning upset of Oregon and back-to-back wins over UCLA to win the conference. Stanford is a throwback team that loves to run the ball, and that starts with Stepfan Taylor.
Taylor has put together a great season with over 1,400 yards on the ground. He's a huge part of Stanford's offense and should be the reason why the Cardinal get the win over Wisconsin.
Prediction: Stanford 31, Wisconsin 17
Discover Orange Bowl
Northern Illinois vs. Florida State
When: January 1, 2013 at 8:30 p.m. ET
MVP: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Say what you will about Northern Illinois qualifying for a BCS bowl game, but its offense is legitimate.
If the Huskies were to pull off the upset, there's no doubt that it would be because of a colossal effort from quarterback Jordan Lynch. He leads the country in rushing and is the heart of what Northern Illinois does on offense.
Part of the reason why the Huskies will fall short in their upset bid is that Lynch is going to have a hard time finding any space to run with the Seminoles' athletic defensive front, especially Bjoern Werner. The German defensive end has been a massive presence all season and figures to be a top pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, if he declares.
Werner has an incredible 18 tackles for a loss and 13 sacks on the season. He'll be living in the Huskies' back field.
Prediction: Florida State 42, Northern Illinois 24
Allstate Sugar Bowl
Louisville vs. Florida
When: January 2, 2013 at 8:30 p.m. ET
MVP: Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida
Charlie Strong takes on his old team when his Louisville Cardinals play the Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl. That may not be the best news for Strong; his team is a considerable underdog in this matchup.
Looking at the two teams, it's easy to see why. The Gators defense is one of the elite defenses in the country and should be able to contain Teddy Bridgewater and the Cardinals all game.
The Gators aren't as impressive on offense with the exception of one player—Mike Gillislee. The senior running back has been the bell cow for this offense all season and a constant big-play threat. His last game in a Gators uniform should be a big one.
Prediction: Florida 24, Louisville 14
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
Oregon vs. Kansas State
When: January 3, 2013 at 8:30 p.m. ET
MVP: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
College football fans who are disappointed that they won't see Johnny Manziel in a BCS matchup should take solace in knowing that Oregon will have a marquee matchup. Marcus Mariota is the closest thing to Manziel.
In Oregon's video game offense, it's tough to single out one performer. Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas are sure to have their moments, too, but it's Mariota's passing that makes this version of the Ducks offense really dangerous.
Mariota should put up huge numbers, as Oregon's offense proves to be too much for Kansas State.
Prediction: Oregon 48, Kansas State 38
BCS National Championship Game
Alabama vs. Notre Dame
When: January 7, 2013 at 8:30 p.m. ET
MVP: A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
With more than a month to build up this championship game, it's sure to be broken down from every possible angle.
One thing that might be getting overlooked right now is Alabama's advantage at quarterback. Everett Golson is a young playmaker, but he's just that—young. The Crimson Tide have the advantage of having a veteran signal-caller who has been there and has the experience of winning a championship.
Because of the pro-style offense and prolific defense, McCarron tends to get overlooked. The savvy McCarron shouldn't be taken lightly, though. He could be the key difference-maker in what could be a very close game.
Prediction: Alabama 20, Notre Dame 13