BCS Bowl Games 2012-13: Bold Predictions for Biggest Games of the Season
I know what you're thinking.
You're sitting there going, "Yeah, yeah, bold predictions for BCS bowl games...these things are never actually bold."
You'd be right, by the way—far too often, the bite isn't nearly as loud as the bark.
But not this time.
The biggest college football games of the season feature the best teams that money can buy—I mean, that coaches can assemble—and those teams will be as determined as ever to come away with a victory in their respective BCS bowl games.
Someone's going to walk away disappointed.
But it won't be you, loyal B/R reader.
While chances are that you won't agree with what follows, you'll walk away saying, "I think he's a fool, but you know, those were some bold predictions."
Let's do this, shall we?
Orange Bowl: No. 12 Florida State (11-2) vs. No. 15 Northern Illinois (12-1)
Prediction: Northern Illinois Wins the Orange Bowl
If you're going to make bold predictions, you'd better come big, and this might be the biggest prediction of them all.
Florida State has a ridiculous defense—one that ranks seventh in scoring defense, fifth against the rush and third against the pass. Defensive end Bjoern Werner is an absolute stud (40 tackles, 13 sacks and a penchant for knocking down passes) and will likely be a high draft pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
Northern Illinois has never faced a defense quite like the one Florida State is going to throw its way.
But Florida State, though it did a wonderful job of containing Georgia Tech's dual-threat QB Tevin Washington in the ACC championship game, hasn't seen a player quite as dynamic as Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch.
Lynch has led the Huskies to the ninth-highest scoring average (40.8) and ninth-best rushing attack (250.2 yards per game) in the country, accounting for 4,733 total yards of offense and 43 touchdowns on the season. He is going to score some points against Florida State.
But that's only part of it.
Florida State QB EJ Manuel has been shaky over his last two games, throwing only one touchdown pass and tossing four interceptions. He turned the ball over four times against Florida.
In no way am I comparing Northern Illinois' defense to Florida's, but the Huskies rank in the top 40 nationally in scoring (19th), rush defense (33rd) and pass defense (40th). That defense will force Manuel to make poor decisions with the football, forcing turnovers and giving Lynch a short field to work with.
Manuel's struggles will cost Florida State the win.
Final Score: Northern Illinois 24, Florida State 17
Sugar Bowl: No. 3 Florida (11-1) vs. No. 21 Louisville (10-2)
Bold Prediction: Florida Shuts Out Louisville
Tasked with representing the crumbling Big East conference (truly a sad thing to witness), Louisville walks into its first Orange Bowl appearance against a Florida defense that ranks 15th against the pass (186 yards per game) and allows fewer than 13 points per game—third-fewest in the country.
That's bad news for Cardinals sophomore signal-caller Teddy Bridgewater, the driving force behind Louisville's 25th-ranked passing attack, averaging nearly 300 yards per game.
Bridgewater has completed 69 percent of his passes this season and does an excellent job of not turning the ball over, tossing only seven interceptions to his 25 touchdowns. But Bridgewater really is the entire Cardinals offense, as Louisville's running attack ranks 100th in the nation, averaging 127.1 rushing yards per game.
Florida's defense has allowed only five passing touchdowns all season long and has picked the ball off 19 times.
That dominance will continue in the Orange Bowl, with the Gators keyed in on stopping Bridgewater and Louisville having no choice but to air it out.
Final Score: Florida 24, Louisville 0
Rose Bowl: No. 6 Stanford (11-2) vs. Wisconsin (8-5)
Bold Prediction: Montee Ball Will Run for 200 Yards and Carry Wisconsin to Victory
Surely, you are aware of what the Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson has been doing lately in the NFL.
Over Peterson's last eight games before Sunday, he had picked up 1,313 yards and nine touchdowns on an average of 7.5 yards per carry and 164 rushing yards per game.
Well, Wisconsin has its own version of Adrian Peterson in senior RB Montee Ball.
Over his last eight games, Ball has carried the ball 208 times for 1,277 yards and 15 touchdowns. That's an average of nearly 160 yards and two touchdowns rushing per game and more than six yards per carry.
With the nation's third-ranked rushing defense, Stanford presents a formidable challenge for Wisconsin's offensive line to create running room for its talented tailback.
The Badgers have lost head coach Bret Bielema, who jumped ship to coach in the SEC at Arkansas, but this is a team that has overcome the odds all season long. It wasn't supposed to give Nebraska a problem in the Big Ten championship game, but it punched Nebraska in the mouth on its way to a 70-31 destruction of the Cornhuskers.
There's no way I'm doubting Wisconsin in this one.
Final Score: Wisconsin 21, Stanford 17
Fiesta Bowl: No. 5 Kansas State (11-1) vs. No. 4 Oregon (11-1)
Bold Prediction: Kansas State Will Corral Oregon's Explosive Running Game
Remember how I said that Florida State's defense was ridiculous?
Well, Oregon's offense should be illegal. Specifically, its third-ranked running game, one that averages an obscene 323.3 rushing yards per game.
Kansas State, on the other hand, has the 16th-ranked rushing defense, allowing less than 120 rushing yards per game.
Something's got to give when the two teams meet, and I'm banking on linebacker Arthur Brown and the Wildcats defense being the ones to stand firm.
Don't misinterpret my words: Oregon is going to score points, and I expect both De'Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner to make their presence felt. But Oregon won't be quite as explosive as we have grown accustomed to seeing, allowing Kansas State to hang around in a game that many believe squarely favors Oregon's high-powered offensive attack.
Oregon will still win the game, but it will finish the day with fewer than 200 yards rushing on the day.
Final Score: Oregon 35, Kansas State 28
BCS National Championship Game: No. 1 Notre Dame (12-0) vs. No. 2 Alabama (12-1)
Bold Prediction: Notre Dame Wins the National Championship in Dominating Fashion
Two of the most popular teams in the country—with the two best defenses in the land—going head-to-head for the biggest prize around?
You couldn't write a better script if you tried.
Playing in its third BCS National Championship Game in four years, Alabama (12-1) is trying to become the first team in history to win back-to-back BCS titles.
While Alabama is sure to be confident, head coach Nick Saban has surely noticed something in all of the film that he's watched: Notre Dame is built like an SEC team.
Alabama struggled against Georgia in the SEC championship game (though it eventually won), and Notre Dame is sure to bring pressure from all sorts of angles against Alabama QB AJ McCarron, just as the Bulldogs did.
The Crimson Tide will try to force Notre Dame's freshman QB Everett Golson into making poor decisions with the football, but Golson, who is wise beyond his years, will do something that nobody has had much luck with against the Alabama front seven.
He's going to take off running—and have success doing it.
Golson is a dangerous dual-threat QB who can beat teams with his arm as well as his legs. His ability to make something out of nothing will be the difference in the biggest game of the season in college football—a game that won't be nearly as close as most predict.
Final Score: Notre Dame 27, Alabama 14
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