BCS Bowl Schedule 2012-13: Predicting the MVP of Each BCS Game

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistDecember 22, 2012

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 29:  Amari Cooper #9 of the Alabama Crimson Tide pulls in this reception against Wesley Pendleton #6 of the Mississippi Rebels at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 29, 2012 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Bowl season is already underway, but the big games won't kick off until the calendar reads 2013.

Starting on New Year's Day, however, when both the Rose and Orange Bowls are scheduled to be played, things get very interesting very quickly.

The five BCS bowl games feature 10 of the most entertaining teams in the nation. Accordingly, they also feature a countless number of the most exciting players in the country.

Here's one man's prediction of which superstars will leave BCS season with an MVP trophy in their hands.


Rose Bowl: RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin

Stanford's front seven is big, strong and talented. That's not exactly the best combination for Ball and his physical brand of running. 

But neither was Nebraska.

Stanford's defense is a notch better than the Huskers', sure. But even something less than Ball's 201-yard, three-touchdown performance in the Big Ten Championship should be enough to take home Rose Bowl MVP.

In the final game of his record-breaking collegiate career, look for Ball to put the Badgers on his back one last time.


Orange Bowl: QB Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois

Those who were privy to #MACtion are well-versed in Lynch's greatness, but the rest of the country will get a belated introduction during the Orange Bowl.

The 6' junior takes the concept of "dual-threat quarterback" to a new level. He doesn't just lead the nation in rushing yards among QBs; he's got the third-most rushing yards in the nation out of anybody.

He's no slouch through the air, either, where he's produced 2,962 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and five interceptions. His passer rating of 153.0 is good for 24th in the country, despite being calculated independent of his 1,771 rushing yards and 19 rushing TDs.

Florida State will pose a unique new threat for Lynch, who only passed for 54 yards against Iowa in the Huskies' lone loss this season. But it's a test Lynch will be prepared to face.


Sugar Bowl: RB Mike Gillislee, Florida

Florida has been far from an offensive powerhouse this season, but that was mostly against SEC competition.

Against a Big East foe like Louisville, the Gators will have advantages all over the field. But no advantage is clearer than the one in the trenches.

Florida's mauling offensive line should, and will, control the game from start to finish, paving holes for Gillislee, the Gators' leading rusher. 

Especially if the Gators take a big lead, as I predict they will, Gillislee could pad his stats and finish with MVP-caliber numbers.


Fiesta Bowl: RB Kenjon Barner, Oregon

Anybody other than Barner, Marcus Mariota or Collin Klein would be a massive upset. But I'll take the nation's seventh-leading rusher in a toss-up over the nation's fifth-rated passer and the Heisman Trophy's second runner-up.

Barner is a rare combination of explosiveness and consistency. He's rushed for 195-plus yards and two-plus scores in four different games this year, including a 321-yard, five-touchdown explosion against USC.

But he's also supplemented those earth-shattering performances with four additional games of 100-plus yards, a testament to his unique motor and physical tools.

If Oregon wins the Fiesta Bowl, Barner's fingerprints should be all over the victory.


BCS National Championship: WR Amari Cooper, Alabama

The SEC Championship Game was Alabama's biggest game of the season to date. It was probably college football's biggest game of the season to date. And in that game, Amari Cooper didn't just explode onto the scene; he dominated the scene.

Why shouldn't we expect more of the same against the Irish?

The freshman receiver has been compared favorably with former Tide and current Atlanta Falcons standout Julio Jones. That's not a likeness that should be taken lightly.

If the unit of future first-round picks Alabama has up front can control the line of scrimmage, Notre Dame will have to put more and more defenders in the box. And if they do that, Cooper could find himself on an island with Notre Dame's cornerbacks.

The Irish secondary has been stout all season, but they've hardly seen anybody like Cooper. Look for him to dominate the scene once again in Miami.