BCS Bowl Projections: Most Entertaining Potential Matchups
The updated BCS rankings have been released, and there have been a number of noteworthy changes. From the front end of the Top 5 to the back end of the Top 20, the computers have generated a new-look set of rankings.
There's still time remaining during the regular season, but as the bowl season grows near, dreams are beginning to look like reality. Surprisingly undefeated teams have quieted the critics and pretenders have been exposed.
With bowl games nearing, however, we can't help but wonder: What would the most entertaining potential matchups be?
BCS National Championship: Alabama vs. Oregon
How long has the college football community been waiting for this game? It seems like every year over the past half-decade, the world has heard that the Alabama Crimson Tide would face the Oregon Ducks in the BCS National Championship Game, but it never works out.
It has to happen at some point, doesn't it?
Alabama is the two-time defending national champion, which says enough about what it brings to the table. Nick Saban is one of the best college head coaches of all time, AJ McCarron has already out-dueled Johnny Manziel, and the Crimson Tide currently ranks No. 1 in scoring defense.
All in all, Alabama is the best team in the nation until proven otherwise.
Which team should challenge Alabama for the BCS National Championship?
As for Oregon, first-year head coach Mark Helfrich has the Ducks clicking on both sides of the football. Oregon is currently No. 2 in scoring offense and No. 9 in scoring defense, with Marcus Mariota totaling 29 total touchdowns to zero interceptions.
Most impressively, four separate Oregon players have at least 360 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.
The Florida State Seminoles and Ohio State Buckeyes are both legitimate contenders, but the world has been waiting for Alabama versus Oregon. For that reason, the most entertaining game would be the one that's been the most highly anticipated.
Just don't expect any clarity on this situation until the game is announced.
Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Stanford
There isn't too much room for creativity when it comes to crafting the perfect Rose Bowl. Ohio State is far ahead of the next-best team in the Big Ten, and while it would be a dream meeting to see the Buckeyes face the Oregon Ducks, it won't happen in this scenario.
Stanford isn't a bad team to settle for.
The Cardinal have one of the best defensive units in the country and a crop of underrated playmakers. Tyler Gaffney has 886 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground, and Ty Montgomery has five receiving and two returning scores.
Balance is the key to upsetting Ohio State, and Stanford has it.
As for Ohio State, there's no way around how dominant Urban Meyer's team has been while winning 20 straight games. Braxton Miller continues to be dominant, scoring five total touchdowns in his most recent game, and Ohio State has five players with at least 200 rushing yards and eight with at least one running score.
What more could you ask for?
This meeting would have the potential to be low-scoring, and thus the conventional entertainment value would be lost. What this game would provide, however, is two powerful rushing attacks and dynamic return games with a hint of defensive power.
There are NFL prospects on both teams, and that always adds up to a strong battle.
Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. Baylor
Admittedly, I'd rather see the Florida State Seminoles take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders in a clash between star freshman quarterbacks. Unfortunately for Kliff Kingsbury's group, the Oklahoma Sooners defeated Texas Tech.
This game works under the assumption that the Baylor Bears will lose to Oklahoma—something I am not predicting—but if we're talking entertainment, this is the best possible matchup.
Florida State is led by Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Jameis Winston, who has 23 passing touchdowns to four interceptions on a completion percentage of 69.9. Florida State ranks No. 3 in scoring offense and No. 4 in scoring defense, methodically dominating every opponent.
It's hard to keep the Seminoles out of the National Championship Game, but if you're looking for Gladiator—you know, are you not entertained?—what could be better than this?
Baylor is averaging an absolutely obscene 63.9 points scored per contest during its 7-0 start. Bryce Petty has 18 touchdowns to one interception, and four separate Baylor players have run for at least five touchdowns, including star Lache Seastrunk.
Both Antwan Goodley and Tevin Reese have 800-plus receiving yards and eight touchdowns.
To pit Winston and Petty against one another all but guarantees that viewers at home would be thoroughly entertained. Both players are capable of putting points on the board in a hurry, and in this scenario, it'd be in a BCS bowl game.
I am not suggesting Baylor will lose by season's end, but if it does, this would be a welcome result.
Sugar Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Louisville
The Sugar Bowl pits the SEC champion against an at-large team. As it presently stands, Alabama is the favorite to reach the BCS National Championship Game, and Missouri—a team playing without its starting quarterback—is the only other squad with fewer than two conference losses.
For the sake of entertainment, let's assume that the Tigers lose and Johnny Manziel leads Texas A&M to the Sugar Bowl.
As for Texas A&M's suggested opponent, you don't have to tell me that the Louisville Cardinals are ranked No. 19 in the BCS rankings. You need to say even less about the fact that the AAC is one of the most underwhelming conferences in all of college football.
If you're asking me about entertainment, however, what could be better than Manziel versus Teddy Bridgewater?
It's hard to go against college football fans, pundits and analysts who claim that Manziel is the best player in the country. It's just as difficult to pose an argument against Bridgewater being the best NFL quarterback prospect in the nation.
Would you want to see Johnny Manziel vs. Teddy Bridgewater?
So why not have them go toe-to-toe for the ultimate SEC versus at-large battle?
You can say that Louisville's defense isn't strong enough to go up against Manziel and the Aggies, but Texas A&M's defensive unit is quite a liability. This would provide both quarterbacks with the opportunity to put on a display for the college football nation and for NFL scouts on national television.
Louisville has some work to do, and Texas A&M needs Missouri to lose at least one more game, but this would be one entertaining Sugar Bowl.
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Miami (FL)
The Fiesta Bowl pits the Big 12 champion against an at-large team. In this instance, the Oklahoma Sooners hypothetically win the Big 12 because Baylor versus Florida State is just too good to pass over.
The Miami Hurricanes are the other team selected, and thus, a meeting between the No. 7 and No. 10 teams is created.
Running back Duke Johnson has led the Hurricanes to a record of 7-0 with 39.6 points scored and 17.7 points allowed per contest. The past few weeks have been tough, but Miami continues to defy the odds and piece together comeback victories.
Even if it does lose to Florida State on Nov. 2, Miami won't face another ranked team and could win out en route to an 11-1 record.
As for Oklahoma, it currently ranks No. 14 in scoring defense and No. 16 in rushing offense. Blake Bell has played well under center, but the story has been the balanced rushing attack with Brennan Clay and Damien Williams.
The duo has combined for 950 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns through eight games.
This would come down to a battle between two teams that love to pound the rock. Johnson would slow things down for the Hurricanes, while the Sooners would turn to Bell to provide the play-action opportunities to open up the field.
There are other options, but these are two schools with massive fanbases and the resumes to permit this game to transpire.
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