Bowl Game Predictions 2013: Projecting MVPs for Biggest Remaining Games

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 1, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 03:  Running back Kenjon Barner #24 of the Oregon Ducks carries the ball against the USC Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 3, 2012  in Los Angeles, California.  Oregon won 62-51.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Although the bowl season is almost over, the best games are still to come. Fans still have a chance to be treated to some outstanding performances by some of the best players in college football.

There are some very interesting matchups remaining on the schedule, including both BCS and non-BCS bowl games. The talent on both sides makes it difficult to predict a winner. However, it is even tougher to predict an MVP of the game.

Still, these players should take home the top award of their respective bowl game after huge performances.


Sugar Bowl: Louisville vs. Florida

MVP: Mike Gillislee

When Louisville struggles, it is usually the opposing run game that hurts it.

Connecticut's Lyle McCombs rushed for 133 yards against the Cardinals, while Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley of Syracuse totaled 242 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Both of these games ended with a Louisville loss.

This trend should continue as Mike Gillislee is one of the toughest running backs in the nation. The senior rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns in his last game against Florida State, which has one of the best defenses in college football. 

If Gillislee gets his carries, it can get ugly early in this one-sided matchup.


Fiesta Bowl: Oregon vs. Kansas State

MVP: Kenjon Barner

Kansas State has a solid defense, but it can be beaten. In the team's one loss this year, the Wildcats allowed Baylor to rush for 342 yards and five touchdowns.

If this team does not come prepared, Kenjon Barner could replicate those numbers by himself.

The running back is one of the fastest players in the country and has the ability to score from anywhere on the field. The combination of Barner and De'Anthony Thomas in the backfield seems almost unfair at times.

Freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota will be very important in this game as he tries to control the pace of the game without turning it over. Still, Barner is more likely to put up the big stats to impress anyone watching. 


Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma

MVP: Johnny Manziel

This is the most obvious selection, but there is really no reason to fight it. Texas A&M is too strong both offensively and defensively for Oklahoma and the Aggies should be able to pull out a tough victory.

With this being the case, there is no one more likely to win the award than the player who has done it all in his freshman season.

Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy after throwing for over 3,000 yards and rushing for over 1,000. Altogether, he was responsible for 43 touchdowns.

Texas A&M is loaded with talented players that will soon be playing in the NFL, but Manziel is the focal point of the offense and he is certain to win MVP if the Aggies are able to win this game.


BCS National Championship: Notre Dame vs. Alabama

MVP: Amari Cooper

Alabama has gotten to where it is thanks to a great defense and an impressive run game. However, Notre Dame has as good of a run defense as this team has seen all year.

In order to beat the Irish, Nick Saban should elect to air out the ball more and try to utilize the pass. This worked last year in the national championship, as A.J. McCarron threw a season-high 34 pass attempts and kept LSU off guard.

The difference is that this year the Crimson Tide have a legitimate receiving weapon in Amari Cooper.

As a freshman, the receiver leads the team with 53 receptions, 895 yards and nine touchdowns. Each of these statistics is more than twice as much as the next highest on the list.

In his last three SEC games, Cooper totaled 373 receiving yards with four touchdowns.

Notre Dame has a solid secondary, but it might not have an answer if McCarron targets Cooper early and often in the national title game. The receiver should surprise everyone with a huge day.