Predicting MVPs for Every BCS Bowl
With five BCS games on the agenda, there is plenty to talk about heading into the meat of the bowl season, not least of which is potential stars of said BCS games.
For each BCS game, the projected offensive and defensive MVPs are listed here, along with some analysis of the contest.
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Offense: Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida State
Florida State is favored by double digits over Northern Illinois, a fact that the Huskies are sure to use as motivation heading into their Orange Bowl tilt.
While defense has been the Seminoles' calling card this season, the play of Freeman will be pivotal to this contest.
NIU is going to keep this closer than you might think, and FSU quarterback EJ Manuel has been less than consistent at times.
Freeman, however, needs a great game for the Seminoles in order for them to even come close to beating NIU by two touchdowns.
The Huskies' run defense has given up only 139 yards on the ground per game, but it has yet to face a team with the physicality along the offensive line that the 'Noles boast.
Freeman will have a monster day, scoring at least twice.
Defense: Bjoern Werner, DL, Florida State
When discussing the best defensive linemen in the nation, Werner has to be near the top.
The man has registered 13 sacks and 18 tackles for loss on the season, and he spent the year terrorizing offenses.
NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch led the nation in rushing, and containing him is going to be key.
The man that can do that well is Werner.
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Offense: Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida
Florida's offensive game plan against Louisville should go something like this:
Gillislee right, Gillislee left, Gillislee middle, then repeat.
It has worked all year long and will work again against a defense that gives up over 150 yards on the ground per game.
Gillislee averaged 4.7 yards per carry during the season against some of the toughest defenses in the nation, so it's easy to see him running around, through and over the Cardinals defense.
Defense: Matt Elam, S, Florida
Elam knows how to fill up a stat sheet.
He finished the season with 10 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, four interceptions, a sack, five passes defended, 65 total tackles and a partridge in a pear tree.
He's all over the field, reads the run well and will be key to stopping Teddy Bridgewater, Jeremy Wright and the rest of Louisville's sometimes potent offense.
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Offense: Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
Barner is incredible.
He scored 21 touchdowns this season and averaged 6.5 yards per carry in Chip Kelly's frenetic offense.
And boy, did he come up big in the Ducks' key contests.
Against USC, he went off for 321 yards and five touchdowns. Against Oregon State, his numbers were a little less video-game-like, as he gained 198 yards and scored two touchdowns.
While Kansas State has a stout defense, the interior of the offensive line is not equipped to slow down the spread offense that Oregon runs.
Barner is going off in this one, and even though it will be a good game, K-State is going to struggle to stop him.
Defense: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
If Oregon is going to be slowed, Brown is going to have to step up for Bill Snyder's team.
Brown is a ball hawk who makes big plays with regularity in the middle of the field and anchors Kansas State's defensive effort.
His ability to read the spread option and make plays will determine whether Kansas State has a shot in this game, and even if the Wildcats lose, he will wind up with double-digit tackles and at least one forced turnover.
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Offense: Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
Stanford is the big favorite in this one, but Wisconsin steamrolled Nebraska in the Big Ten title game by virtue of a 539-yard rushing performance.
Stanford presents a new challenge, boasting the best rushing defense in the nation.
But this is Montee Ball's last game, and when he smells the end zone, he is difficult to tackle.
Expect this game to be physical, close and violent, with Ball contributing some huge plays to a Badger victory.
Defense: Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin
Taylor is the veteran leader of this Badger defense.
He has posted six double-digit-tackle games this season, and he will do that again against Stanford.
The Wisconsin defense has been extremely good this season, but overlooked because the offense has been somewhat pedestrian.
Taylor's leadership and great play will help slow down Stanford's offense.
BCS National Championship Game
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Offense: AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama
AJ McCarron is your 2012 passing efficiency leader.
Against Notre Dame, he will need much more of the same.
The Irish are difficult to run the ball against, so McCarron will need to spread the ball around and open up the field for his running game.
Expect some big plays downfield to Amari Cooper early.
Even against a great defense, McCarron will find a way to put up huge numbers in his second consecutive BCS title game.
Defense: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
Mosley is the heart and soul of an Alabama defense that has dominated everyone this season (except for Johnny Manziel).
He is just one tackle short of a 100-tackle season and has posted two interceptions and numerous monster tackles at his linebacker position.
Irish quarterback Everett Golson has been prone to mistakes, but he has the wheels to make things interesting if pressured in the pocket.
Mosley's ability to pursue the ball and get across the field will lead to double-digit tackles and a monster performance.