Bowl Projections 2013: Predicting Matchups for BCS Bowls After Week 12 Action

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 18, 2013

TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 16: Florida State Seminoles fans hold up a sign calling for a matchup with Alabama late in the game against the Syracuse Orange at Doak Campbell Stadium on November 16, 2013 in Tallahassee, Florida. Florida State won 59-3. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Just one more year, college football fans. That's all you have to wait until the playoff system takes over.

For the time being, you still have to settle for the BCS. Admittedly, it's much better than the old system, but still has plenty of flaws.

The newest BCS rankings have been unveiled, which only serves to spark the debate among fans. At least now there's some reason to feel a more guttural reaction. With only three more weeks to go before the conference championships, there isn't a lot of time for teams to make their case to the voters.

Here's what the rankings look like headed into Week 13.

BCS Standings—Week 13
RankTeamBCS Average
1Alabama (10-0).9914
2Florida State (10-0).9661
3Ohio State (10-0).8869
4Baylor (9-0).8856
5Oregon (9-1).7917
6Auburn (10-1).7860
7Clemson (9-1) .7681
8Missouri (9-1).7231
9Stanford (8-2).6238
10Oklahoma State (9-1).5890
11South Carolina (8-2).5883
12Texas A&M (8-2).5394
13Michigan State (9-1).4646
14UCLA (8-2).4615
15Fresno State (9-0).4134
16Northern Illinois (10-0).3729
17Arizona State (8-2).3414
18Central Florida (8-1) .3033
19Wisconsin (8-2).2907
20Oklahoma (8-2).2760
21Louisville (9-1).2664
22LSU (7-3) .2645
23Southern California (8-3).1070
24Mississippi (7-3) .1048
25Minnesota (8-2) .0604
ESPN

While fans will see some teams move up and others move down, none of it will be earth-shattering. The elite few have distanced themselves from the pack, leaving the rest of the country in their wake.

When considering the automatic bids and at-large spots available, this would appear to be the most accurate projection for the BCS schedule.

 

BCS National Championship

Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Florida State Seminoles

Even a close win over Mississippi State doesn't result in any sort of drop for Alabama. As long as the Crimson Tide win out, they're into the national title game. We all know this.

The question is whom they'd be playing. Would it be Ohio State, Baylor or Florida State?

The smart money seems to be on the Seminoles. They haven't shown any major weaknesses this season, nor have they been tested in a major way. A 14-point win over Boston College is the closest FSU has come to losing this season.

Florida State has everything you could possibly ask for a challenger to Alabama. In addition, Jameis Winston is the kind of star who can draw plenty of fans in.

 

Sugar Bowl

Texas A&M Aggies vs. UCF Knights

COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 09:  Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies drops back to pass in the second half during the game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Kyle Field on November 9, 2013 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Haller
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

UCF would get the automatic bid by virtue of winning the AAC. Since the Knights aren't going to be an in-demand team, they'll likely either get the Sugar Bowl or the Fiesta Bowl. Those games have the last two picks of the at-large teams.

UCF is a better looking option than Fresno State, so it'll probably be making the trip to New Orleans.

The other spot in the Sugar Bowl will surely go to an SEC team.

Should Auburn lose to Alabama, the battle will likely be between the Tigers and Texas A&M. With Auburn beating the Aggies in College Station, you'd think it would be the Tigers.

However, Texas A&M has Johnny Manziel.

The Sugar Bowl isn't going to take the most deserving team. It's going to take the team that it thinks will bring in the most money through ticket sales and television ratings.

Having Manziel would be more attractive to the casual fans than having Auburn. It's not fair to Auburn, but since when was college football ever fair?

 

Rose Bowl

Oregon Ducks vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

Nov 16, 2013; Champaign, IL, USA;  Ohio State Buckeyes players sing the alma mater after defeating the Illinois Fighting Illini 60-35 at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports
Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Unless both Baylor and Florida State lose, Ohio State will be packing its bags for Pasadena. By the time the season's over, the Buckeyes won't have had enough tough games on the schedule.

Beating Wisconsin by seven points isn't going to cut it, and taking care of Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game likely won't sway voters to catapult OSU ahead of an unbeaten Bears or Seminoles team.

After Stanford's loss to USC, Oregon controls its own destiny. As long as the Ducks can beat Arizona and Oregon State and then win the Pac-12 championship, they're into the Rose Bowl. They don't have to worry about getting help from anybody else.

While the Cardinal seem to have found an answer for that Oregon offense, they appear to be the only team in college football to have done so. The Ducks should be going to Pasadena.

 

Orange Bowl

Clemson Tigers vs. Wisconsin Badgers

CLEMSON, SC - NOVEMBER 14:  Tajh Boyd #10 and Sammy Watkins #2 of the Clemson Tigers celebrate after Boyd broke the ACC record for touchdowns during the game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Clemson Memorial Stadium on November 14, 2013 in Clems
Tyler Smith/Getty Images

Clemson seems an obvious pick for the Orange Bowl. It isn't a big trip for the fans, so there shouldn't be any concern about how the Tigers will travel. In addition, the combination of Sammy Watkins and Tajh Boyd would be enticing for the casual fans watching at home.

It makes sense to swap out one ACC team for another.

On the other side, it seems like a Big Ten team is the most likely.

If Oregon loses the Pac-12 title game, they'll slip into the Orange Bowl, but bowls are generally averse to handing BCS spots to teams that lost their conference championships. With that in mind, you'd also have to exclude Michigan State, by virtue of a possible loss to Ohio State.

So then it's between Stanford and Wisconsin. One of the Badgers' two losses was on the road to Ohio State, and the other was that sham against Arizona State. Those look better than the Cardinal losing to Utah and USC.

Plus, Badgers fans won't have to make as long of a trip as Stanford fans would.

 

Fiesta Bowl

Baylor Bears vs. Fresno State Bulldogs

Nov 16, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Baylor Bears head coach Art Briles watches from the sidelines during the game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Big 12 is Baylor's to lose. Texas losing to Oklahoma State opened up the Bears' road to the Fiesta Bowl. They're the only remaining unbeaten team in the conference.

Now all Baylor has to do is travel to Stillwater to beat the Cowboys and also take down the Longhorns in the regular-season finale. Piece of cake, right?

Fresno State would seem to be a lock for the Fiesta Bowl. As long as they're in the Top 16, the Bulldogs are pretty much assured a BCS bowl berth. It doesn't look like UCF will be able to finish above them.

Should Fresno State get into the BCS, it's headed to the Fiesta Bowl, which has the last pick of the at-large teams. No other bowl will jump at the chance to get the Bulldogs.