Bowl Predictions 2013: Projecting Matchups for BCS Bowl Games

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 17, 2013

TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 16: Jameis Winston #5 of the Florida State Seminoles drops back to pass during the first half against the Syracuse Orange at Doak Campbell Stadium on November 16, 2013 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Gammons/Getty Images)
Jeff Gammons/Getty Images

While there are still a few more weeks of the college football season remaining, the BCS picture is starting to take shape.

Obviously, any losses the top teams might suffer can dramatically change the outlook of the season. With four major-conference squads still undefeated, any of them can step into a spot in the VIZIO BCS National Championship Game.

Beyond that, there are a number of one-loss teams looking to prove that they are better than their one bad showing. Many of them will get that chance as the season continues.

Everyone is looking for a spot in one of the prestigious bowls at the end of the year, but only a handful of schools will get that privilege. Bleacher Report's Adam Kramer provides a look at his BCS Bowl projections:

Now, here is my look at what fans should expect to see in January.


Fiesta Bowl: Baylor vs. Fresno State

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 16:  Bryce Petty #14 of the Baylor Bears celebrates a touchdown against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at AT&T Stadium on November 16, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

After starting the year 9-0 while averaging an NCAA-best 61.2 points per game, Baylor is hoping for a chance to play for a national championship. Unfortunately, the Bears will likely need two of the three teams in front of them to lose.

Additionally, they must first be concerned about themselves with a tough matchup at Oklahoma State on the horizon in Week 13. The Cowboys had one misstep against West Virginia earlier in the year, but they have been dominant since.

If Oklahoma State can knock off Baylor, it could replace the Bears in the Fiesta Bowl as the Big 12 champion.

As for Fresno State, the Bulldogs are looking to play their way into the game with an undefeated record. A road matchup against San Jose State could be a challenge, as well as the Mountain West Championship Game, but senior quarterback Derek Carr should keep his squad unbeaten.

Still, one loss could leave an opening for Northern Illinois to earn a second BCS appearance in two years.


Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Michigan State

CLEMSON, SC - OCTOBER 19:  Tajh Boyd #10 of the Clemson Tigers during their game at Memorial Stadium on October 19, 2013 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

After its Week 1 win over Georgia, Clemson was the talk of the town as the potential national champions. However, a blowout loss to Florida State has turned the Tigers into the forgotten team.

Still, Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins lead one of the top offenses in the country, and they will get a chance to prove it on a national stage against South Carolina in the last game of the season. Although the Tigers will not be competing in a conference championship, a win in this rivalry game should clinch a BCS appearance.

Meanwhile, Michigan State has hardly been discussed at a national level despite going 9-1 with the No. 4 defense in college football. Running back Jeremy Langford has also carried the offense with 100 rushing yards in five straight games.

The Spartans did lose to Notre Dame earlier in the year, but they are unlikely to lose again until they face Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. Even a loss should keep them in contention for a BCS berth.


Sugar Bowl: Texas A&M vs. UCF

COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 09:  Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies celebrates a touchdown pass in the third quarter during the game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Kyle Field on November 9, 2013 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by S
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Coming into the year, most assumed Louisville would run away with the newly named American Athletic Conference. However, UCF is the team that is undefeated in conference with only one close loss on the year.

After escaping the previous game against Temple, the Knights should run the table and get a bid to one of the top bowls.

On the other hand, the SEC bid to the Sugar Bowl is much more up for debate. Assuming Alabama grabs a spot in the title game, there will be one more bid up for grabs from the conference.

At present time, Auburn appears to be in position for this spot after starting 10-1. However, the Tigers still have to face Alabama and are likely to suffer another loss. This will drop them back, while Texas A&M still has a chance to rise in the polls.

Additionally, Johnny Manziel and his exciting style of play is more likely to bring a great deal of excitement. This could be the final tiebreaker for bowl organizers selecting a team.


Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Oregon

EVANSTON, IL - OCTOBER 05:  Carlos Hyde #34 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs over Matthew Harris #27 of the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field on October 5, 2013 in Evanston, Illinois. Ohio State defeated Northwestern 40-30.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Get
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

This is one of the most straight-forward games if everything stands as is. Ohio State will not have the computer numbers to jump either Alabama or Florida State in the BCS Standings, which will leave the squad out of the title game.

Still, the Buckeyes are easily the best team in the Big Ten. As the conference champions, they will earn a spot in the Rose Bowl, which is still a nice reward after winning 25 games in a row under Urban Meyer.

Meanwhile, Oregon gets a second life in the Pac-12 North with Stanford losing to USC. The Ducks once again control their own destiny in the conference and will secure a bid in the Rose Bowl by winning out.

Although they were hoping for more this year, the consistency of reaching yet another BCS game is quite impressive.


BCS National Championship: Alabama vs. Florida State

This is supposed to be a matchup of the two best teams in college football, and that is exactly what it would be with these two programs.

Florida State has absolutely destroyed every team it has faced this year, including two Top 10 opponents. Jameis Winston gets most of the publicity as a Heisman Trophy candidate, but the entire roster is full of elite talent that will give the Seminoles a legitimate chance of winning this game.

Of course, Alabama gets the automatic position here after winning the national championship in each of the last two seasons. Although the Crimson Tide have not looked as dominant in recent weeks, they remain undefeated in the toughest conference in the country.  

If these teams play their way into the title game, fans will be treated to an excellent matchup in Pasadena. 


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