BCS Bowl Schedule 2012-13: What to Watch for in BCS Bowls

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IDecember 21, 2012

November 24, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te'o (5) after the 22-13 victory against the Southern California Trojans during the second half at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

With the new year just around the corner, some of us are making resolutions to be active and healthy in 2013. 

College football fans, on the other hand, are gearing up to sit on the couch, eat a lot of food, drink some beverages and watch what should be a thrilling slate of BCS bowls.

Hey, a college football fan has to be a college football fan, right?

Here's a look at what to watch for in 2013's BCS bowls, complete with schedule information.


Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. No. 6 Stanford

Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA

When: Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 5 p.m. ET

Watch: ESPN

Key to the Game: Wisconsin Run Defense vs. Stanford Rushing Attack

Both Wisconsin and Stanford love to run the ball, but while the Cardinal have allowed 2.84 yards per carry this season (fifth in the FBS), the Badgers have allowed 3.7 yards per carry (30th).

Wisconsin needs to focus on stopping the outstanding Stepfan Taylor, who has rushed for 1,442 yards (20th in the nation) and 12 touchdowns.


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

Watch: ESPN

Key to the Game: Florida State Run Defense vs. Northern Illinois Rushing Attack

If Northern Illinois has any chance of upsetting Florida State, the Huskies are going to have to find success on the ground.

The Huskies' success has largely been predicated on their running game this season, averaging 250.2 rushing yards per game, ninth in the nation.

On the other hand, Florida State has allowed 2.76 yards per carry, fourth-best mark in the FBS. That includes holding the explosive option offense of Georgia Tech to 15 points and 3.5 yards per carry in the ACC 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

Watch: ESPN

Key to the Game: Louisville Run Defense vs. Florida Rushing Attack

Louisville has a fine quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater, but even if the sterling sophomore overcomes the odds and does damage against Florida's exceptional pass defense, the Cardinals still have to stop the Gators' rushing attack.

Florida has averaged 194.1 rushing yards per game this season (35th in the country) and lead back Mike Gillislee has been on fire in his past two games.

Gillislee not only rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown against Jacksonville State on Nov. 17, he exploded against Florida State's vaunted run defense the following week, rushing for 140 yards and two touchdowns in the 37-26 victory.

Given Louisville has allowed 4.33 yards per carry this season (73rd in the nation), this could turn into a rout if the Cardinals are not ready.


Fiesta Bowl: No. 5 Kansas State vs. No. 4 Oregon

Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ

When: Thursday, Jan. 3 at 8:30 p.m. ET

Watch: ESPN

Key to the Game: Kansas State Run Defense vs. Oregon Rushing Attack

Sense a theme in these BCS bowl matchups?

Kansas State may have a dynamic rushing attack behind dual-threat quarterback Collin Klein and junior running back John Hubert, but Oregon's running game is at another level entirely.

The Ducks, behind senior Kenjon Barner, sophomore De'Anthony Thomas and freshman dual-threat Marcus Mariota (not to mention freshman Byron Marshall), have averaged 6.06 yards per carry this season, first in the nation. They have also posted 47 rushing touchdowns, tied for first in the FBS.

Kansas State has allowed 3.73 yards per carry this season, 34th in the nation. That is a good number, but not a great one. It is hard for me to see the Wildcats severely limiting the Ducks on the ground, especially considering the only team that did all season (Stanford) had an elite run defense.


BCS National 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

Watch: ESPN

Key to the Game: Alabama Rushing Attack vs. Notre Dame Run Defense

I do not expect Alabama to do a whole lot on the ground against Notre Dame's fantastic run defense, but I do see the Crimson Tide doing more on the ground than the Fighting Irish will on the big stage.

Quite simply, the duo of Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon outclasses the duo of Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood. Lacy and Yeldon have each rushed for 1,000 yards or more this season, averaging a combined 6.46 yards per carry.

Given I do not see Everett Golson doing a whole lot against Alabama's pass defense, the Notre Dame defense will have to step up more than it ever has to come way with the national championship.


What are your thoughts?

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