BCS Bowl Predictions 2013: Updated Projections for Automatic Postseason Bids

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 31, 2013

EUGENE, OR - OCTOBER 26:  The Coaches' Trophy is on display at the game between the Oregon Ducks and the UCLA Bruins  on October 26, 2013 at the Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

It may be too early to predict the majority of the bowl teams for 2013, but the BCS is beginning to take shape.

You can look ahead to what the prospective matchups could be, at least in terms of the conference winners and automatic qualifiers. Plenty of teams have distanced themselves from the pack, and in the event they don't make the national title game, they'll have a golden parachute down to another BCS bowl.

With that in mind, here's a look at who will likely secure the automatic places in college football's biggest bowls.


BCS National Championship

No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. No. 2 Oregon Ducks

EUGENE, OR - OCTOBER 26:  Byron Marshall #9 of the Oregon Ducks celebrates a touchdown against the UCLA Bruins on October 26, 2013 at the Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

At this point, the Alabama Crimson Tide should need no explanation as to why they're in this position. They're the king until someone can knock them off. And even in the event of a loss, the Crimson Tide could sneak into the title game, with the way the voters love the SEC.

Their prospective opponent is the variable.

The Oregon Ducks are to be the likeliest prospect. They've got the complete team to run the table in the Pac-12. They way they ran away from UCLA in the fourth quarter of that 42-14 win makes you believe this is the second-best team in the country. The Ducks flipped a switch in those final 15 minutes.

Oregon would surely control its own destiny. As long as the Ducks go unbeaten, they'll book a ticket to Pasadena.


Sugar Bowl

UCF Golden Knights (AAC winner)

ORLANDO, FL - OCTOBER 20: Quarterback Kyle Israel #7 of the University of Central Florida Golden Knights rushes upfield against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Bright House Stadium on October 20, 2007 in Orlando, Florida.  UCF won 44 - 23. (Photo by Al Mess
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Since Alabama is in the national championship, the Sugar Bowl loses that automatic bid. They'll likely go for a Missouri or Baylor in lieu of getting the Crimson Tide. After that, they're stuck with the next-to-last choice among the at-large teams.

In a battle between Fresno State and UCF, the Golden Knights will be the more attractive of the two.

That win over Louisville means UCF controls its own destiny in pursuit of the American Athletic Conference's automatic spot in the BCS.

The Golden Knights' toughest tests remaining will be Houston and Rutgers, both of which they play at home.


Fiesta Bowl

Oklahoma Sooners (Big 12 winner) vs. Fresno State (non-AQ top 12 qualifier)

Oct 26, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Fresno State Bulldogs quarterback Derek Carr (4) celebrates following a 35-28 win in overtime against the San Diego State Aztecs at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

One of Fresno State or Northern Illinois will get into the BCS. The Bulldogs are 16th, while the Huskies are 17th. All they have to do is move up into the top 12, and the system won't have any choice but to put them in.

Of the two, Fresno State is more attractive option. Northern Illinois had its chance last season and was blitzed by Florida State. The Bulldogs are a fresh face and would probably be a more competitive team against the Big 12 winner.

When it comes to that half of the Fiesta Bowl, good luck trying to predict the winner. Texas is unbeaten in conference play, but still has to play Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas Tech. The Bears get the Red Raiders and Cowboys as well, and they also have to get past Oklahoma. Meanwhile the Sooners play Baylor next Thursday and then the Cowboys in the last game of the regular season. Oklahoma State has Texas Tech on Saturday and Baylor before playing Oklahoma on December 7.

There's going to be a lot of movement in the standings. When all the rubble is clear, the Sooners will be standing tall. It's still too early to trust the Longhorns, so as long as OU can win out, it's got a great chance of heading to Tempe.


Orange Bowl

Florida State Seminoles (ACC winner)

TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 26: Jameis Winston #5 of the Florida State Seminoles makes a long pass during the first half against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Doak Campbell Stadium on October 26, 2013 in Tallahassee, Florida.  (Photo by Jeff Gammons/
Jeff Gammons/Getty Images

The Seminoles have the easier road to the national title game than Oregon, with Virginia Tech stumbling against Duke and Miami again looking sluggish against an in-conference opponent. The problem will be that should both FSU and Oregon win out, the edge would go to the Ducks.

Florida State won't have as strong a body of work. The way Florida has fallen off takes some luster off that matchup against the Gators at the end of the season, and winning the ACC championship won't carry as much weight as winning the Pac-12.

By virtue of the BCS process, failing to make the national title game would lock the Seminoles in the Orange Bowl against a top at-large team.


Rose Bowl

Ohio State Buckeyes (Big Ten winner)

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 26:  The Ohio State Buckeyes defense gangs up to tackle Zach Zwinak #28 of the Penn State Nittany Lions in the third quarter at Ohio Stadium on October 26, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Penn State 63-14.  (Photo by Jam
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Ohio State Buckeyes aren't going to be tested again until their date with the Michigan Wolverines on Nov. 30. Even with a win against Michigan and a Big Ten title, the only way the Bucks will be in the national title game is if the Ducks and Seminoles falter.

With the way both teams have been looking, OSU will likely have to settle for the Rose Bowl.

Should this happen, it's like eating bad pizza. Yeah it's bad pizza, but you're still eating pizza. Sure the Buckeyes will be denied an opportunity to play in the national championship, but the Rose Bowl isn't all that bad.