BCS Bowl Schedule 2012-13: Power Ranking Marquee Bowls by Excitement Level

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 25, 2012

Even on the biggest stage in college football, there is always the possibility of disappointed fans from bad games. 

While this season set up some exciting BCS matchups , some are better than others. In a couple of contests, an overwhelming mismatch or simply a lack of interest in the teams has hurt the excitement level.

Still, for every bad game in the bowl season, there is one ready to surprise you with an intense back-and-forth battle.

Last year saw three games decided by only three points, so this year's slate will have a lot to live up to. Here are the games that will try to live up to those expectations, ranked from least to most likely.


5. Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. Northern Illinois

When: January 1, 8:30 p.m. ET

In 2007, Boise State defeated Oklahoma in one of the greatest college football games of all time. Unfortunately, David is unlikely to defeat Goliath in this battle.

Northern Illinois is the first non-AQ team to reach a BCS game without an undefeated record. The team lost to Iowa in their season opener, a squad that went on to finish with only four wins.

To make matters worse, head coach Dave Doeren left the team to coach at North Carolina State and will not be at the Orange Bowl.

Even with quarterback Jordan Lynch, the Huskies will be shut down by the speed and athleticism of the Florida State defense. 

Those hoping for an upset will be deeply disappointed.


4. Sugar Bowl: Florida vs. Louisville

When: January 2, 8:30 p.m. ET

The Gators proved that they are the best team in Florida with a 37-26 win over the Seminoles on the final day of the regular season. They should easily be able to handle a team that barely reached the Top 25 in the final BCS rankings.

At least fans will be able to see one of the top teams in the nation in this potential blowout. Florida earned its No. 3 ranking with wins over LSU, Texas A&M, South Carolina and Florida State, compiling the best resumé of wins in the country.

Florida has a number of players on the defense that fans will soon be able to see on Sundays, and they will all be showing off to the scouts watching. 

Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has put together a solid season, but he will be in trouble when going against this SEC squad. 


3. Rose Bowl: Stanford vs. Wisconsin

When: January 1, 5 p.m. ET

Finally, we are getting into games that should be close.

Montee Ball is one of the top running backs in college football and is one of three players to finish the regular season with over 1,700 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns.

Unfortunately, Wisconsin's quarterback situation is anything but settled and Stanford has a good enough defense to stop a one-dimensional attack.

Of course, the Cardinal have the same problem. Throughout the year, they have gotten into trouble by relying too much on running back Stepfan Taylor. Still, Kevin Hogan has come on strong as of late and provides the offense with a little more balance.

Stanford should be able to finish off a great year with a Rose Bowl win, but legendary head coach Barry Alvarez and Wisconsin will do enough to keep this game exciting. 


2. Fiesta Bowl: Oregon vs. Kansas State

When: January 3, 8:30 p.m. ET

These two teams were not only two of the best in the country throughout the year, but each of them had a chance at playing in the national championship. Unfortunately, both blew that opportunity on the same night.

Oregon was shut down offensively in a loss to Stanford. It was the only time the Ducks scored fewer than 40 points all season. 

Meanwhile, Kansas State was torched defensively by Baylor and allowed 52 points in the loss. This is the same team that held the high-powered offenses of Oklahoma and West Virginia to under 20 points.

If we assume that both of these losses were flukes, the upcoming Fiesta Bowl will be a thrill to watch. Both teams can light up the scoreboard with top-10 offenses, while the defenses are just as responsible to the overall success, allowing less than 22 points per game. 

Regardless of who wins, this battle will likely go down to the final seconds.


1. BCS National Championship Game: Notre Dame vs. Alabama

When: January 7, 8:30 p.m. ET

If television executives and bowl committees had an opportunity to handpick which teams would play for the national championship, they would come up with Notre Dame against Alabama.

This game not only pits together the two top defenses in the nation as well as loads of offensive talent, but it also features two of the biggest fanbases in sports.

Alabama is favored after winning the title last season and once again making it through the rigors of the SEC schedule. However, Notre Dame has also been impressive with wins over Stanford, Michigan, Oklahoma and USC.

Although some are expecting a big win for the Crimson Tide, the Irish have proven multiple times not to count them out.

This battle has the potential to be one of the best championship games in years, and there is very little chance that it disappoints.



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