BCS Bowl Projections 2012: Players Who Will Explode on Big Stage

Justin Welton@JustinWeltonAnalyst IIDecember 9, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 01: Running back T.J. Yeldon #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide and offensive linesman D.J. Fluker #76 celebrate after Yeldon rushed for a thrid quarter touchdown against the Georgia Bulldogs during the SEC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome on December 1, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

After the long-extended wait that is the college football postseason, we will finally see the games we want to see. Well, kind of.

The 2012-13 BCS Bowl schedule may not exactly contain the games fans want to see, but there are a few quality matchups to be exited for.

Here are three players who will play well on the big stage.


T.J. Yeldon, BCS National Championship

Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon provide the best one-two running back tandem in the nation. They combined for 334 yards against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game and have been doing it all season.

Against Notre Dame, a better defensive football team, it's going to be much more difficult to run between the tackles.

Yeldon's big-play ability combined with his power will be the difference for Alabama offensively. We saw him all season break tackles, carry defenders on his back and provide the "splash" plays needed for an at-times struggling offense.

Pittsburgh's Ray Graham is a shifty, speed back with big-play ability, and he racked up 172 yards rushing against the Fighting Irish earlier in the season.

Stanford's Stepfan Taylor also recorded over 100 yards (102) against Notre Dame's defense this season.

Notre Dame's defense gets loads of credit for stopping the run and rightfully so. However, it has shown some lapses at times this year against quality running backs.

Alabama's tandem will provide the most difficult challenge to Notre Dame this season, and Yeldon's slight change of pace behind Lacy will be the difference-maker for Alabama's offense.


Kenjon Barner, Fiesta Bowl

Kansas State's defense will have issues defending Oregon's speed as a whole but especially Kenjon Barner.

Barner has broken the 100-yard mark seven times this season, but he was also held under 100 yards five times.

Barner has been hit and miss in his senior season, but his big-play ability can't be mistaken. He has recorded four games of 195 yards or more. Seven times he scored at least two touchdowns.

Kansas State's defense is good, but all it takes is one Barner explosion to break a game open. He's that quick and shifty, and we have seen it this season with his 21 touchdowns.


Mike Gillislee, Sugar Bowl

Louisville's defense was average this year. It allowed 23.8 points per game, which was good for 37th in the country.

One area in which the Cardinals defense has struggled all season is stopping the run. In its two losses, Louisville allowed 427 yards on the ground; 278 to Syracuse and 149 to Connecticut.

Mike Gillislee has been the Gators' best offensive weapon this season. He has rushed for 1,104 yards and 10 touchdowns on 235 carries.

Gillislee is coming off back-to-back 100-yard performances, against Jacksonville State and Florida State—one of the best defenses in the country.

With his power and strength, expect the Gators' running back to have a memorable performance.