College Football: 2013-14 Bowl Game Projections

Josh Sachnoff@@JSachnov17Contributor IIIAugust 24, 2013

College Football: 2013-14 Bowl Game Projections

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    College football bowl game season is the best time of the year.

    It's that time of year where you sit down with your family and friends and watch intriguing games, such as the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl and the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl. Yes, I know there are a few rather interesting names for the early bowl games, but football is football, right?

    Some of these no-name bowl games end up being the best of the bowl season, but enough about teams going .500 and playing in a lower-tier bowl game. It's all about playing on New Year's Day and making a BCS bowl game.

    This will be the final year of the controversial BCS era, which began in 1998. There are a lot of national title contenders that could be in the final BCS Championship game this year.

    The obvious pick would be two-time defending champion Alabama, but will this finally be the year they get knocked off their pedestal? Teams like Clemson, Georgia, Louisville, Ohio State, Oregon and Stanford could be up for a national title run. Who will be playing for the crystal ball and who will be left out? 

    Here are all 35 bowl game projections: 

Chick-fil-A Bowl

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    Chick-fil-A Bowl

    December 31, 2013

    Georgia Dome

    Florida State vs Florida

    An in-state battle between hated rivals Florida and Florida State on New Year's Eve. Both teams would be playing back-to-back games against one another, but who is going complain about watching a rematch?

    Ticket sales would be high and both fanbases would be highly intrigued to travel to Atlanta.

    The Noles would head into the Chick-fil-A Bowl as the No. 2 team out of the ACC and the Gators would come in as the No. 5 team out of the SEC. It could turn into a low-scoring game with both teams heading in with stout defenses. 

Capital One Bowl

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    Capital One Bowl

    January 1, 2014

    Citrus Bowl

    Michigan vs Georgia 

    It's sad both teams will arrive at the Citrus Bowl, disappointed after not winning their conference championships and not being selected as an at-large BCS bowl team, but it will still be a fun game to watch.

    It will be senior quarterback Aaron Murray's last game in a Georgia uniform and the Dawgs' second consecutive appearance in the Capital One Bowl. Michigan, who played in the Outback Bowl last season against South Carolina, will be seeking revenge on the SEC after losing 33-28. 

    It will be an explosive Georgia offense against a stingy Michigan defense. You also have to keep in mind that junior quarterback Devin Gardner will have played a full season under center, making Michigan's offense much improved from 2012. 


Outback Bowl

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    Outback Bowl

    January 1, 2014 

    Raymond James

    Texas A&M vs Northwestern

    There are a lot of issues surrounding Heisman quarterback Johnny Manziel right now, so there is no guarantee Texas A&M will be in this game if he is suspended. He's currently eligible, so we'll just go with what we have for now. 

    With so many SEC teams finishing the season with two losses, the Aggies will land in Tampa against a pesky Northwestern squad with a dangerous rushing attack led by Venric Mark.

    The goal in this game for Northwestern will be to keep up offensively with a score-heavy Aggie squad. 

Gator Bowl

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    Gator Bowl

    January 1, 2014

    EverBank Field

    Michigan State vs Vanderbilt

    This will turn into a defensive battle and be a low-scoring game between Sparty and Vandy.

    The Spartans will lead the Big Ten in total defense again and should be improved on the offensive end with a more experienced quarterback, whether it's Andrew Maxwell or Connor Cook.

    The Dores will be in the top half of the SEC in defense and will offensively be led by potential All-American wide receiver Jordan Matthews. We should expect a tight game between these two teams. 

Cotton Bowl

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    Cotton Bowl

    January 3, 2014

    AT&T Stadium

    LSU vs Texas 

    This will be one of the most interesting bowl games of the season. Mac Brown's Longhorns will finally be back in a big-time bowl game since Colt McCoy led Texas to the BCS National title game in 2010.

    Quarterback David Ash will have his best season as a Longhorn and the defense will be improved as well.

    LSU will be in that two-loss situation like Texas A&M, but will find themselves in their second Cotton Bowl in four years. Like Ash, LSU senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger will have a better season than he had in 2012 and the defense, as usual, will be one of the best in the country.

    It will be quite the showdown in Jerry World. 


Rose Bowl

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    Rose Bowl

    January 1, 2014

    Rose Bowl

    Nebraska vs Oregon

    "The Granddaddy of Them All" is always a must see game between the Big Ten and Pac-12. Nebraska will  finally have reached their first BCS bowl game since playing Miami (FL) for the title in 2002 and will have to play against an Oregon squad that will be in their fifth straight BCS bowl game.

    Nebraska will find themselves in the Rose Bowl without even winning the Big Ten Legends Division.

    With Michigan losing the Big Ten Championship game and suffering their third loss of the season, Nebraska will be sitting nicely at 10-2 with a strong Big Red fanbase following them. Taylor Martinez and Company will finally advance—after years of heartbreak—to a BCS bowl game. 

    Oregon's one loss during the season will cost them a chance to play at the Rose Bowl for the BCS Championship game on January 6. Instead, the high-flying Ducks will play in their third Rose Bowl in five years. 

    The Huskers have not had good luck in any of their big games since Bo Pelini took over in 2008. This will finally be their chance to prove themselves, but the Nebraska "Blackshirt" defense will have to try and stop quarterback Marcus Mariota and the lethal De'Anthony Thomas.

    A task that a majority of teams have struggled to accomplish.

Fiesta Bowl

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    Fiesta Bowl

    January 1, 2014

    Univ of Phoenix

    Oklahoma State vs Boise State

    Who knows if starting quarterback Clint Chelf will still be starting at quarterback by bowl time? The Cowboys went through three starters in 2012 and still managed to be in the Big 12 race at the end of the season. With no clear favorite in the Big 12 Conference this year, Oklahoma State has a chance to win the Big 12 title and clinch their second Fiesta Bowl bid in three years.

    Boise State has had heartbreaking losses the past three seasons that have kept them out of the BCS bowl discussion. The Broncos will open the 2013 season up with a non-conference game at Washington, who will be playing their first game in newly renovated Husky Stadium.

    Whether Boise State loses that game or not, they still have a solid chance to crack the Top 12 and receiving a BCS at-large bid. With potentially two games against a stellar Fresno State team, the second game would be the inaugural Mountain West Championship game, as well as BYU and San Diego State, look for Chris Petersen's Broncos to be in their third BCS bowl game since 2007.

    The Boise State defense will have to try and shut down a lethal Mike Gundy spread, no-huddle offense that will have torn defenses up through the air and on the scoreboard during the regular season.   

Sugar Bowl

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    Sugar Bowl

    January 2, 2014


    South Carolina vs Stanford

    This will be ol' ball coach Steve Spurrier's first BCS bowl game while at South Carolina and Stanford's fourth different BCS bowl game in four years. 

    South Carolina will find themselves in the Sugar Bowl because of Georgia's SEC Championship loss. With the Bulldogs losing, it would put a one-loss Gamecock team in the third or fourth spot in the BCS standings. As it was last year with Florida, if you're in the third or fourth spot in the final BCS Standings, you will be guaranteed a BCS invitation.

    Stanford will accept their at-large bid after finishing second in the Pac-12 Conference, and look to continue their recent success under third-year head coach David Shaw.   

    Watching Stanford play against an SEC team is what the nation has been wanting to see.

    Shaw's Stanford squad plays a tough and hard-nosed football style like many of the teams in the physical SEC Conference. South Carolina's defense will showcase All-American defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, while Stanford will be with one of the best linebacking units in the nation consisting of Trent Murphy, Shayne Skov and AJ Tarpley.

    Expect a battle in the trenches from these two teams. 

Orange Bowl

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    Orange Bowl

    January 3, 2014

    Sun Life 

    Clemson vs Louisville 

    Clemson came up just short from advancing to their second consecutive BCS bowl game last season. It's hard to forget what happened to the Tigers in the 2012 Orange Bowl when they were completely manhandled by West Virginia 70-33. You can be sure Dabo Swinney will have his guys ready this time around.

    The Louisville Cardinals, led by Heisman-contender quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, will have an easy path to the Orange Bowl as they are an elite team playing in a rather weak American Athletic Conference. Louisville will return to their second consecutive BCS bowl game. The Cardinal upset the Florida Gators in the 2013 Sugar Bowl 33-23. 

    Clemson's offense will be among the best in college football this year with quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver Sammy Watkins, but you can't underestimate a Cardinal defense that ranked 16th nationally in pass defense last season. This Orange Bowl should be more competitive, unlike the past three years. 

BCS National Championship

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    BCS National Championship

    January 6, 2014

     Rose Bowl 

    Alabama vs Ohio State 

    It's the grand finale of the BCS era, and how fitting that we have Urban Meyer with his Ohio State Buckeyes against Nick Saban with his Alabama Crimson Tide? Both programs are prestigious and the coaches have a combined six national titles.

    There is also the aspect of ending everything at one of the most famed stadiums in sports, the Rose Bowl. 

    Alabama is loaded both offensively and defensively. Quarterback AJ McCarron will be going for his third national title in three years and will have talented running back TJ Yeldon, along with speedy wide receiver Amari Cooper. Not much needs to be said about a defense led by linebacker CJ Mosley. They are simply the best in college football.

    Ohio State went undefeated last season but were prohibited from advancing to the National Title game. Instead it was Alabama who advanced. Ohio State has dual-threat quarterback Braxton Miller leading the offense, but how will they fair against a tough SEC team? 

    Jim Tressel's Buckeyes were completely outplayed in the BCS National Championship in both 2007 and 2008 by Urban Meyer's Florida Gators and by LSU. Can Meyer finally turn the tide?  

The Rest of the Bowl Games

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    The Rest

    New Mexico Bowl                   Dec. 21, 2013      Utah State vs Arizona

    Famous Idaho Potato Bowl     Dec. 21, 2013      Air Force vs Bowling Green      

    New Orleans Bowl                Dec. 21, 2013       Louisiana-Lafayette vs Middle Tennessee

    Las Vegas Bowl                       Dec. 21, 2013       Fresno State vs Arizona State 

    Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl             Dec. 23, 2013      Pittsburgh* vs Marshall

    Hawai'i Bowl                           Dec. 24, 2013      Rice vs San Jose State

    Poinsettia Bowl                      Dec. 26, 2013      San Diego State vs Notre Dame*

    Little Caesars Pizza Bowl         Dec. 26, 2013     Ohio vs West Virginia*

    Military Bowl                           Dec. 27, 2013      Maryland vs Ball State*

    Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl         Dec. 27, 2013       Washington vs BYU

    Texas Bowl                                Dec. 27, 2013        Indiana vs Baylor 

    Russell Athletic Bowl                Dec. 28, 2013      Rutgers vs Miami (FL)

    Pinstripe Bowl                          Dec. 28, 2013      UCF vs Texas Tech 

    Belk Bowl                                 Dec. 28, 2013       Cincinnati vs North Carolina 

    Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl           Dec. 28, 2013      Wisconsin vs TCU

    Music City Bowl                          Dec. 30, 2013      Georgia Tech vs Mississippi

    Armed Forces Bowl                    Dec. 30, 2013      Wyoming vs Navy

    Alamo Bowl                               Dec. 30, 2013        Oklahoma vs USC

    Holiday Bowl                              Dec. 30, 2013      Kansas State vs Oregon State

    Independence AdvoCare Bowl    Dec. 31, 2013       Auburn vs NC State 

    Sun Bowl                                   Dec. 31, 2013       Virginia Tech vs UCLA 

    Liberty Bowl                              Dec. 31, 2013       Tennessee vs Tulsa 

    Heart of Dallas Bowl                   Jan. 1, 2013          East Carolina vs Iowa 

    BBVA Compass Bowl                  Jan. 5, 2013          SMU vs Arkansas Bowl                    Jan. 5, 2013         Western Kentucky vs Northern Illinois                    

                                              *- Indicates fill-in team