Bowl Projections 2013: Showcasing Best Potential Matchups

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistNovember 4, 2013

Nov 2, 2013; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston (5) prepares to take the snap from center Josue Matias (70) during the game against the Miami Hurricanes at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Bowl season is on the horizon.

After a grueling season, the top teams in the nation have made themselves known, and all that remains is figuring out exactly where they will play their final games and what potential trophies they will hoist.

There is plenty of football left to be played in the regular season, but it never hurts to take a close look at a few of the top matchups we would love to see in college football's most important games by the time early next year rolls around.


BCS Title Game: Alabama vs. Oregon

Oct 12, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron (10) warms up before the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Let's get this out of the way—by the time the end of the regular season rolls around, only Alabama and Oregon will stand as the top teams worthy of playing in the title game.

That's not to insinuate Florida State will lose a game, but the team has not been winning by the jaw-dropping ratios the Crimson Tide and Ducks have all year.

Oct 19, 2013; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) runs the ball for a touchdown against the Washington State Cougars at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama is as good as it gets in college football on the defensive side and allows just 9.8 yards per game. Oregon comes in at No. 2 in the country on offense, as it averages 55.6 yards per game. The Ducks defense is also superb, with just 16.9 points per game allowed.

Simply put, this is the matchup everyone wants to see. These two teams will never be firing on all cylinders like this again, whereas Jameis Winston has plenty of time to play for his national championship.


Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. Michigan State

Nov 2, 2013; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston (5) evades Miami Hurricanes linebacker Alex Figueroa (36) during the second half at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

The Orange Bowl is not a bad consolation prize for Winston, and it's an amazing matchup for fans, as the elite Seminoles offense would clash against the best defense in the country.

Florida State averages over 50 points per game and is coming off a 41-14 beatdown of No. 7 Miami, even with Winston appearing human with two interceptions—which speaks to just how talented the team around him truly is.

Nov 2, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans running back Jeremy Langford (33) runs the ball against Michigan Wolverines linebacker Cameron Gordon (4) during the 2nd half of a game at Spartan Stadium. MSU won 29-6. Mandatory Credit: Mike Ca
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State allows 11.6 points per game, has yet to allow an opponent to rush for 100 yards and held the Michigan Wolverines and quarterback Devin Gardner to minus-48 rushing yards last week. That's not a typo.

With the unstoppable force Alabama has been for years, this matchup may actually be the most entertaining. Michigan State and quarterback Connor Cook have shown an ability to put points on the board as well, meaning these are two of the nation's most well-balanced teams. It's a dream matchup.


Sugar Bowl: Auburn vs. UCF

Nov 2, 2013; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Auburn Tigers running back Tre Mason (21) scores a touchdown against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the first quarter at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Don't scoff at these two names—this matchup has the potential to be one of the best of the season. 

UCF is a sleeper from the AAC that first pulled off the upset over Louisville and Teddy Bridgewater in mid-October before thrashing Connecticut to the tune of 62-17. The Knights possess one of the best defenses in the nation, with just 19.3 points surrendered per game.

Oct 26, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; UCF Knights running back Storm Johnson (8) turns upfield before scoring a touchdown  in the first quarter against the Connecticut Huskies at Bright House Networks Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn is a bit more well-known as a Cinderella story this year, with a borderline top-five rushing attack at 306.2 yards per game led by back Tre Mason, who rushed for four touchdowns last week against Arkansas.

In that contest, the Tigers needed to throw the ball only nine times to win 35-17.

This would end up being another stellar strength versus strength matchup, which has been a rarity at times in bowl games the past few years.