BCS Bowl Predictions 2013: Forecasting Matchups for Biggest Postseason Battles

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 21, 2013

Jan 6, 2013; Fort Lauderdale FL, USA; A general view of the Coaches' Trophy during a press conference for the 2013 BCS National Championship game at Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

The Bowl Championship Series bowl picture is starting to come into focus after the first batch of BCS rankings were unveiled.

There's still going to be a lot of movement between now and the end of the season. That's not going to stop anyone from trying to play out how the chips may fall.

Here's a look at the BCS standings.

BCS Standings—Week 8
Pos.TeamRecordPts.
1Alabama Crimson Tide7-0.9841
2Florida State Seminoles6-0.9348
3Oregon Ducks7-0.9320
4Ohio State Buckeyes7-0.8553
5Missouri Tigers7-0.8219
6Stanford Cardinal6-1.7414
7Miami Hurricanes6-0.7200
8Baylor Bears6-0.7120
9Clemson Tigers6-1.6249
10Texas Tech Red Raiders7-0.6220
11Auburn Tigers6-1.5058
12UCLA Bruins5-1.4807
13LSU Tigers6-2.4552
14Virginia Tech Hokies6-1.4408
15Oklahoma Sooners6-1.4204
16Texas A&M Aggies5-2.3666
17Fresno State Bulldogs6-0.3379
18Northern Illinois Huskies7-0.3032
19Oklahoma State Cowboys5-1.2687
20Louisville Cardinals6-1.2556
21South Carolina Gamecocks5-2.2161
22Michigan Wolverines6-1.1637
23UCF Knights5-1.1394
24Nebraska Cornhuskers5-1.1354
25Oregon State Beavers6-1.1042
ESPN.com

These are the five BCS bowls and their conference tie-ins.

BCS Bowl Tie-Ins
BowlMatchup
BCS National ChampionshipBCS #1 vs. BCS #2
Fiesta BowlBig 12 vs. At-Large
Orange BowlACC vs. At-Large
Rose BowlBig Ten vs. Pac-12
Sugar BowlSEC vs. At-Large
BCSFootball.org

Looking forward, you could very well see these matchups in the BCS.

 

BCS National Championship

Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Oregon Ducks

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 07:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates with the trophy after defeating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Exactly why Alabama would get to the national title game should need no explanation. As long as the Crimson Tide win out, they'll remain the No. 1 team in the country.

The intrigue comes from whom their opponents would be. The Oregon Ducks present the best option. Beating UCLA, Stanford, Oregon State and winning the Pac-12 title game would be enough to see them stay above an undefeated Ohio State and jump ahead of Florida State.

There's nothing you've seen from Oregon that would lead you to believe that it is primed for an upset against any of its conference counterparts.

 

Fiesta Bowl

Oklahoma Sooners vs. Missouri Tigers

Oct 19, 2013; Lawrence, KS, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Blake Bell (10) hands off to running back Roy Finch (22) against the Kansas Jayhawks in the second half at Memorial Stadium. Oklahoma won the game 34-19. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Big 12 team that earns the automatic bid in the Fiesta Bowl will likely come down to the Baylor-Oklahoma winner. According to the conference's rules, the winner of a two-team tiebreaker is the winner of the head-to-head matchup.

Despite that loss to Texas, bet on the Sooners. By that point, the Bears still won't have been tested, so it's hard to gauge how good that defense really is.

With Missouri, you know there's going to be a one- or two-loss SEC team in the BCS should Alabama go unbeaten. It's not far off to see the Tigers being that team. Their toughest games left are against South Carolina and Texas A&M—both winnable games. Then a loss in the SEC title game wouldn't eliminate them from the BCS.

 

Orange Bowl

Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Louisville Cardinals

Oct 18, 2013; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals running back Michael Dyer (26) leads the team out to the field before the first quarter of play against the UCF Knights at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sport
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The cream always rises to the top. Despite that loss to Central Florida, Louisville will find itself atop the American Athletic Conference standings by year's end. The Cardinals have too much talent not to see them run the table from here on out, so it's just down to the other teams doing their jobs.

The Atlantic Coast Conference winner seems a little more in doubt. Florida State looked great against Clemson and Maryland, but how many years have they looked great and then flamed out.

The Seminoles should be able to make the ACC title game. The question is whom they'll play. Virginia Tech gets the slight edge over Miami considering it has a better track record over the past couple of years.

From there, don't be surprised to see an upset. The Hokies have a pass defense that might be able to corral Jameis Winston, and then Beamer-ball creates that moment of magic that changes the game.

 

Rose Bowl

Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Florida State Seminoles

Oct 19, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running back Carlos Hyde (34), Shelley Meyer and Urban Meyer celebrate after defeating Iowa Hawkeyes 34-24 at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The reason for FSU not qualifying automatically were stated above. Although a defeat would mean no trip to the Orange Bowl, the Noles would still be locks for a BCS bowl. Since Oregon's in the national title game, that opens a spot in the Rose Bowl for a high-profile matchup with Ohio State.

The Buckeyes are the class of the Big Ten. Although their defense has been suspect, there isn't another team in the conference who can match OSU's offense.

If Oregon and Alabama both go undefeated in the regular season, there's no way Ohio State can jump into the top spot.

 

Sugar Bowl

Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Baylor Bears

Oct 19, 2013; Waco, TX, USA; Baylor Bears wide receiver Corey Coleman (1) and offensive linesman Spencer Drango (58) celebrate Coleman's kick return for a touchdown against the Iowa State Cyclones during the second half at Floyd Casey Stadium. The Bears d
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

If Northern Illinois finishes in the top 12 of the BCS standings, it's guaranteed a spot in a BCS bowl, like last year, when it went to the Orange Bowl.

They're already No. 18, so it's going to be a huge leap for them to get there. Between them and Fresno State, the Bulldogs have a tougher road. As long as the Huskies can beat Ball State, they're gonna get into the top 12. The Mid-American Conference is weak otherwise.

As long as the Baylor Bears go through the season with just one loss, they're a lock for the BCS. The key to doing that will be a three-game stretch where they have Oklahoma at home, Texas Tech at a neutral site and travel to Oklahoma State.